A faster horse

Sometimes the blog debt gets out of control — there are too many things to think and write about, too many good ideas to which I would like to contribute and too many conversations happening that involve areas that I am passionate about or interested in. On top of this there are side projects, main projects, friends projects … there is work, family, friends, email, cars, bikes, photography, movie making, book reading and technology. Busy, busy …

Oh, and blogging … how can you keep up with the torrent of life? What gives and what takes? And how do you decide or draw the line?

I was surprised by the beginning of this year — there was an urgency and pace to January that caught me unprepared. But then, I thought it would settle down into a new rhythm. I was wrong. I misjudged the intensity. I noticed that my own blogging had increased — I was doing one, two, even three posts per day — and sometimes this still was not enough.

Others were doing the same … all over the blogosphere the energy seemed to be ramping up. There were more posts, deeper insights and smarter use of multi-channel communications tools. All of a sudden blog posts were not enough — there was SlideShare, Twitter and Vox and Tumblr — as well as the stalwarts, Flickr and YouTube. Wow …

But now … all of a sudden, there seems to be a sense of blog fatigue. Some are choosing not to continue their blogs, others are posting less. I get barely a peep some days from Twitterers … Me? I continue to write here, but have not posted over at MarketingProfs for some time (sorry Ann), and even the posts that I have written here have tended to feel (at least to me), a little light on. A little too insubstantial. The faster horse that I ordered for Christmas never arrived (must have been a bad boy).

Yet, while some blogs go dark, I have a feeling this may just be the fatigue of passionate early adopters. You see, despite Dave Sifry’s positivity, blogs are still on the periphery, and no matter how many of us bloggers or marketing folks think otherwise, we really are experimenting with a new form of narrowcast communications. In a way, it is like TV in the 50s (at least in Australia), when very few houses had televisions. The TV personalities were little more than amateurs compared with today’s slick media professionals.

During TV’s early days the rules and methods of performing and communicating were being invented and extended during each and every performance (remembering that most TV was live back then). Much was being learned in front of and behind the camera, and the viewing audience was also learning a new way of consuming media, engaging with brands and becoming used to inviting strangers into their living rooms. Of course, the stars came and went, making money, finding fame and in many instances, disappearing into early retirement.

Blogging is similar to this. Even those who have been blogging for some time are still learning the rules, methods and approaches. Sometimes it feels stilted, unprofessional, raw and visceral. Sometimes it is a bit too close to … well, real life. There will be stars that shine brightly and make millions. There will be many who come and go with barely a ripple. But there will come one of Gladwell’s tipping points, and it won’t be in terms of mass — it will be in terms of acceptance. You will know that day, as you will no longer need to explain what it means to "blog". And while the names that we all know from some A or Z list may no longer matter in the way that they do now, the mass of bloggers currently writing their first post or finalising their last are doing one clear thing — laying the foundations of a communications channel that will outlast us all.

I will need more than a faster horse to get me to the end of that race!

16 thoughts on “A faster horse

  1. Gavin, my friend, this is such a great post. I have been feeling much the same way. I feel like I’ve been limping along for some time now- totally overwhelmed by it all. I haven’t set up a Twitter thinga-majig yet because I just can’t embrace anything new at the moment without losing something old (like my mind possibly). I want to podcast on my own, as well as with the group I am in, and I want to start doing regular YouTube video posts as well. On top of that I really want to add more to the conversation at Marketing Profs, via more frequent posts and comments on others. Second Life? Please… I’m having a hard enough time with the First one I’ve got. (My poor avatar has been sleeping somewhere now for a few months without getting to walk into walls or fly into cliffs/ sides of buildings… poor thing.)
    You are absolutely right; we’re gaining momentum, but we’re still far off on the fringes. Most people still don’t know what a blog is and the bulk of those who do, only know what they are in the most general of terms. Saying, “I’m a blogger” gets about the same look from folks as saying, “I’m a booger”. BUT… big but… we are all laying the groundwork you mention. Many great things are happening. Best of all? It isn’t just “the smart kids” who are reading blogs now. More and more “regular folks” are reading blogs a little more often. Some folks are doing lots and lots of lurking, reading, feeling things out. Regular folks all over the world are turning to blogs as a filter of the day’s news and events. We haven’t “replaced” MSM, but we have certainly added to the way more and more people find out about the world.
    I’ve been struggling a lot with all of this lately too. My poor blogs go quiet for long periods of time, or they are overrun with pictures of socks and my ugly mug, versus real content. I’ve decided that I might just retire the Daily Drive feature, as a stand alone thing, and just fold it in to bigger and better posts. Maybe I’ll lose a day or two of posting because of this, between the bigger posts, but I want to reengage the readers and do more of my patented rambling… like this.
    Sorry for the very long comment… but thank you for the inspiration.

  2. Incredibly astute observation Gavin! There is fatigue, as even too much of a good thing can spoil.
    There is no finish line. Just a journey to be explored, savored, studied, communicated.
    Communication via blogging isn’t as much revolutionary (where newfound energies attract early adopters) as it is now evolutionary. The bright, strong energy of revolution sparks the creation of the new medium – the slow-burning, sustainable energy of evolution maintains.

  3. Excellent post. I most love these type of posts by you, btw. We’re all finding where blogging fits, what value we can add–and extract and, at times, waiting for “the other kids” to catch on. Where is it headed? More dynamic communications and much more share.
    So what to do now? Whatever comes next. Oh, and don’t forget to blog about it ;-). Thanks again for a terrific and sage piece.

  4. Many people say that media studies are a mickey mouse course but with today’s media landscape I believe that it is an interesting subject to study.
    We looked at the origins of radio and how it evolved over the years to become what it is today. With that knowledge we see how blogging and podcasting are evolving.
    We also see the rise of user driven content, where participation and interactivity are key, as was discussed in great depth at SXSW a few weeks ago.
    I’m fascinated by this topic.

  5. Oh blogger fatigue…I remember Sharon posting that bloggers who would like to see a book deal should be posting 5 times a week and if you were going to post less than 3 times a week that perhaps you should question blogging at all….Ahem, just managing that 3 times a week…

  6. Tim … good to hear from you! You are right, people don’t think of blogs as blogs. I mentioned my blog to a guy the other day and he didnt understand, but then he said “oh, like MySpace … yeah I have one of those–if you don’t have one you are nobody!”.
    Joe … yes the evolutionary side of things is making it more and more interesting. Where will it go? If only I knew 😉
    Richard … yes it is an interesting topic — but the interest for me is in the particpatory aspect. You can not only study but do, not just think but act. How cool is that?
    Maryam … yes it can be exhausting, but also exciting. Comes down to the reasons why you are involved, I think. When the negatives outweigh the positives then it is time to reprioritise. It helps, I think, to revisit our original impulse to write from time to time.

  7. Gavin,
    I’m with you. I used to write two or three posts a week for the Daily Fix to choose from. Now I struggle to create one. My own blogging remains regular but the subject matter is sometimes thin. This, too, will pass, I suspect.

  8. @Maryam–I feel like I need to clarify cuz I’ve heard you mention that “Sharon said you should blog 3 times a week or don’t bother” thing before ;). Haha
    That “post 3 times a week” advice was in a post about doing a *virtual book launch*, rather than a book deal. The virtual book launch is of a set, limited duration, and it’s for marketing purposes and generating buzz around your book. It isn’t meant to go on forever, thank God! 🙂
    If you’re able to post 3 times a week writing the quality of posts that you’re known for–you deserve some sort of medal (and a book deal)!
    I just wanted to clear that up because for general blogging, I go by the “write when the muse strikes” approach, and I can’t stand it when folks post, post, post just for the sake of meeting their posting quota. I’d rather read 1 quality post a week rather than 5 mediocre ones any day. Qualilty trumps quantity every single time.
    @Gavin–It’s actually the “stilted, unprofessional, raw and visceral” aspect of blogging that is so exciting–when that blogging gets polished up and everyone knows what it is, it’s likely that the early adopters (adapters?) will lose interest and move on to something else more cutting edge. That’s just the nature of the internet–trailblazers like to stay ahead of the pack.:-)

  9. Wow.
    I’ve felt the pull. The pull back to life. Or to escape from virtual worlds.
    It’s neat to have a perspective that we are all working to lay the foundation of something still to come. Thanks man.

  10. Thanks for fessing up. The Emperior has no clothes! You have a lot of company in feeling (periodic) blog fatigue, myself included. All the cross-pollination and stimulation that can make blogging can start to feel more like an obligation than a pleasure. I edit a multi-author blog in ThreeMinds, and I am in awe of the way that you continue to produce quality content on your own.

  11. I’ve been running my own personal blog for a while now and i can totally sympathize with blog fatigue. In addition to blog I’m trying to put out articles, so far to no veil. To add to the ‘things to do list’ ontop of a day job, i have 3 website to develop.. needless to say little is getting done there either. Stressful!

  12. Great post. I try to keep up with all of my blogging but end up getting nowhere fast.
    Maybe they could invent a robot or something…………

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  14. I blog more than once a week on my site which is about debt management and it drives me mad but I suppose it has to be done if you want to get noticed.

  15. I agree with Judith, I do the same. People underestimate the power of blogging these days. It’s all too easy to bang a load of affiliate links on adsense all over a blog or website but without, content, content, content, it’s little use!

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