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Over the festive break, Jeremiah Owyang, analyst at Altimeter Group, caused a bit of a stir with a post claiming the golden era of tech blogging is over.
Owyang pointed to four key drivers:
- Corporate acquisition including both AOL/Techcrunch and Read Write Web/Say Media as proof of stymied innovation.
- Talent turnover, often caused by corporate acquisition (see above), citing the Techcrunch crew, but also Ben Parr (Mashable) and Marshall Kirkpatrick (Read Write Web) as examples.
- Audience needs changing. According to Owyang, audiences want “faster, smaller, and social”.
- Business models solidify. Not necessarily a bad thing as it means there is space for more disruptive entities to come in.
There is no doubt these drivers are evident in the way content is consumed online, but Owyang’s definition of tech blogging seems narrow.
In fact, it is more or less limited to Techcrunch, ReadWriteWeb and Mashable.
These ‘professional’ blogs hardly crystallise the original ethos of what it means to be a blogger. And, with the tech blogging scene clearly one that we watch closely as a tech PR agency, I could list a significant number that fit the original mould and are thriving.
The truth is that the fundamental rule of successful blogging (and indeed most content), no matter what type of blog you run, is producing quality content.
...in a sense, we’ve created a market because people are so conditioned to think that tech news means badly recycled press releases. Or occasionally a tech blogger over-reaching himself to pen an opinion piece, which is overbearingly banal in its content and almost unreadable in its grammar...We’re taking a completely fascist approach to good quality content. We’re not interested in SEO, we’re not interested in those annoying multi-page articles – we only care about producing and publishing beautiful thought provoking content.
Milo has bet his business on quality and it will be interesting to see whether it works.
Lack of quality does seem to be one of the elements that so-called ‘professional blogs’ are ditching. For example, I’m sick and tired of the constant stream of ‘newsjacking’ posts from Mashable, and other high profile blogs seem to be increasingly going the same way.
So if Owyang’s trend is merely a move away from cheaper, less thoughtful publishing, to one that focuses on quality and in-depth analysis, then I see that as an entirely positive evolution and one that will make blogging more relevant than ever.