Jeremiah Owyang (@jowyang) sent shockwaves into the blogosphere last week with his blog commentary on the decline of tech blogging, or more specifically, the “golden age of tech blogging is ending.” There’s a bit of reaction out there on other blogs and by some folks reacting on Twitter without actually having read the article.
While I agree in concept, I see two memes threaded within Jeremiah’s thinking. It’s within these memes that will dictate how this golden age will transform into a fabulous new butterfly:
Tech blogs WILL survive and flourish.
But not in the form of the über-blogs like Engadget, TNW, or Mashable. These commercialized blogs will also continue and flourish as media platforms and they’ll continue to provide value to their readers, including *this guy*. Bloggers subsumed into larger media sites should be looked upon as go-to columnists or thought-leaders. That’s why (I believe) they make those deals, to build influence and reach.
Where I see tech blogs flourishing is with targeted (and smaller) blogs written by subject matter experts in any given industry. EMC in fact, is in the midst of a blogging renaissance where SMEs from across marketing, technical, and executive roles are getting their blogs on. We’re seeing very good engagement and participation with the ultimate goal to nurture mind share through thought-leadership.
Tech blogs MUST change to remain relevant.
Wait, what? Yeah, I know what I just said. With disruptive tools like Paper.li, Crowdbooster, Summify, and apps like Pulse, Flipboard, and others coming on the scene, blog content will need to morph into more consumable formats. Here are a few reasons why:
- We already see well-meaning tweeps’ erroneous tweets misrepresenting blog content. Jeremiah even pokes fun at this type of activity in his provocative blog post.
- As Jeremiah suggests, we’re moving too fast in our day-to-day work. Not only are we limited on time to read great content, we’re also stuck on the same sites (hence the rise of the Mashables) because finding new sites is hard.
- Readers expect a payoff. That can be as simple as discovering a new idea, but more likely that reader is looking to solve a problem. This is where a new category of engagement sites like Quora, Focus, Angie’s List, Spiceworks, even LinkedIn comes in. They’re taking the best features of the old bulletin board and forum sites and repurposing them into more self-service, crowdsourced, peer-driven resources. Sites like Ars Technica and Slashdot have been moving in this direction for some time. Look at Toolbox.com. That community for IT pros was acquired recently by the Ziff Davis group of tech publications.
- Tumblr, anyone?
How can tech blogs remain relevant?
Provide value. Simple as that.
But how does one get there? In 2012, social media will become more about engagement and relationships like never before. The bloggers who will thrive will understand this and will leverage social listening tools (Google Reader and HootSuite will do the trick) and will respond thoughtfully to comments on their blogs to make personal connections with their readers.
Auto-tweeting your blog headlines is passé. The successful bloggers of 2012 will look to sites like Quora and Focus to connect with audiences who might not yet be following their blogs, but who can be helped by unique content.
Social media and mobile technologies have helped set the expectation for quick and relevant answers to questions shared through these mediums. It’s up to us make our content consumable in ways that our readers want. This new breed of bloggers will leverage other social communities and content sources to discover what types of answers need answering.
Think of your blog this way… it’s your own personal media platform. Make the most of it (and some of the tools mentioned above) to build your influence while leveraging the influence, reach, and expertise of others.