December 22, 2008 |
I guess it is hard to avoid the usual end-of-year topics for any blogger and I don’t think I am any exception to the rule so I have decided to build my own collections of blog posts that I could easily remember myself as those that initiated the most animated discussions in the blogosphere. After all, it is not difficult to initiate a discussion when you cover some hot news but it is way more difficult to do the same when you simply share your thoughts on a subject – and your thoughts are interesting enough for many people to join in the discussion.
Please, keep in mind that I have chosen to include a few posts from perfectly mainstream publications for one simple reason: they gained immense traction in the blogosphere and bloggers spent hours upon hours discussing them. Again, the major criteria are in the field of the buzz this or that particular thought or argument created – without actually reporting the news but doing commentary on a trend or just suggesting an idea or a new approach. Unfortunately I can not say that we have a chance of reading something written in a manner that will make many people actually interested in the subject and provoke a lengthy discussion in the blogosphere but there are posts that will certainly be remembered for this or that reason – the posts that their authors will be proud of for a long time and other bloggers will still link to even months later (like I am doing here).
So here are the posts I was impressed by myself (sorted in order of publication), feel free to add your favorites in the comments as I’m sure everyone will have his or her own preferences.
This article in the most mainstream publication of all has caused a real uproar among bloggers as it focused on a number of issues, including the stress we live in and the low income the vast majority of bloggers working from home face. Bloggers were obviously unhappy about The new York Times deciding to cover the business we work in and making it sound like blogging will kill us. But I have a feeling that some of the teens considering a career in blogging received their share of knowledge about how dangerous blogging can be from their parents reading the newspaper – and some of them have probably changed their minds about the career as well.
In a guest post written for Techcrunch Brian Solis, owner of one of the best-known PR agencies in the technology and web 2.0 community has decided to be generous enough to share some tips about how a web startup should behave in terms of PR. The tips definitely sounded quite good and had certain value to them but unfortunately they did not sound credible enough when shared by a PR professional whose major obvious goal is to bring more customers to his agency. Still a worthwhile reading, especially for startups who now can not afford services of agencies like Brian’s FutureWorks and need to figure out how to do the PR and all the communications on their own.
Robert Scoble decided to brag about how disappointed he was with tech blogging for becoming too focused on business issues and trying to clone Wall Street Journal in a more casual manner, losing the unique voice and community feeling on the road. Many people wanted to agree or disagree with Robert, yet others immediately wanted to share their own thoughts on what was wrong with the tech blogosphere so it was a fascinating discussion to watch: dozens of people actively engaged in the tech blogosphere actively discussing one thing – what is wrong with it. But unfortunately the main problem remains: the tech blogosphere itself turned into a nice business and the vast majority of everything that is going on here is governed by business decisions.
Caroline McCarthy covered the keynote address by Tim O’Reilly at the New York Web 2.0 Expo. Tim is well-known as the person who coined the term web 2.0 and helped popularized it. No matter what you think about the term itself by now, it is very important that this particular personality chose to draw attention of the internet industry professionals to one simple thing: we need to focus on doing things that are actually needed and useful instead of continuing to produce endless applications to throw sheep or sell each other on social networks. Of course it is growing into a huge problem that web 2.0 has become mainly about entertainment for many while the technologies available to us can really help hundreds of incredible things to turn into reality. Good that Tim O’Reilly decided to focus on this issue, bad it was probably too late already by the time.
In this post Om Malik shared the news about a meeting of Sequoia Capital VC fund with its portfolio companies where the entrepreneurs were told they’d need to learn to cut costs and spend money wisely to survive the economic downturn. I believe that for many people working in the industry this post was the first sign of a recession actually arriving as even the prominent Sequoia demonstrated we did have lots of factors to be afraid of. After this post we have seen numerous others about various things that were going wrong in the tech industry because of the financial crisis – layoffs and closures have been reported everywhere – but this one seemed to be the very first indicator of the fact that Silicon Valley is in trouble.
Valleywag blogger Paul Boutin (at the time of writing, I mean) decided to prove the secret truth that some people outside of the tech community don’t seem to realize yet: if you don’t have a blog by now, you should not even start. Other tools like Twitter or Facebook will fill in the needs of a regular internet user much better than a proper blog, especially with the fierce competition in the professional blogging community where nothing happens naturally any more and no place is left for personality and self-expression in the world of professionally produced blogs. To me this has been the bravest post of the year as I really never thought anyone in this community will dare to share the truth about how ugly the insides of the professional blogosphere are. And while I can’t agree that people should not start blogs now as there may be hundreds of reasons to choosing a blog over a Twitter account, the observations about how the blogosphere works these days must be a real revelation for many internet users.