Wherein, Kelly rants like a cranky old broad, which, except for the “old” part, may in fact be true

1. Commenting Is Dead

A friend of mine linked to an old post of his from 2005 the other day. I was floored by the comment section—full of people tossing substantial ideas around, growing their own brains and the pool of knowledge—vs. most comment sections today including his own—yes, wow, thanks, and little else.

I hate to say it, but both “back in the day” and “what’s become of us nowadays” spring to mind. Just being around the blogosphere for a very few years has made me feel nostalgic for the good ol’ days, and shocked at our backwards progress.

2. Linkbacks Are Dead

Remember when “linking out” was like footnotes in your school papers—essential proof that your ideas had a leg to stand on—and was both a growth strategy for the linker and an absolute must come visit and say thank you, for the linkee, helping us all to expand our circles beyond our original blog buddies?

Hello? Anybody?

3. Forums Are Dead.

Related to both 1 and 2. I belong to five or six forum-style “niche networking” sites. With the exception of one, they have all gone pretty well dormant. This, I admit, I haven’t tried to stop. I was never very active in them in the beginning (for shame, Kelly), hoping to catch on to the conversations and gradually increase participation, but instead, they’ve come to slow, aching deaths over the course of a couple of years. Where once I hoped to exchange ideas and refill the mental well, now they are all dried up.

4. (If you don’t write about cats or use foul language or feed fantasies of pitching a humdrum real life for the glam of barely working, but doing it on your own utterly lazy terms in your bathrobe) Blog Growth Is Dead.

Am I being too dire here? I don’t think so. Guides on how to be effortlessly rich, beautiful, controversial, or how to waste time without using brain cells do continue to be popular. So I can’t say blogging is dead, yet. But the medium, once such fertile ground for incredible minds to consider, in bite-sized digests, serious topics you could put together into your own customized Masters’ Degree in anything at all, is in danger of only being able to provide a Masters’ in farting around, in very short order. Some of the sharpest, most useful, most well-written blogs I read are experiencing darned close to zero growth these days. It’s criminal.

Heck, even StumbleUpon and Digg, which were once engines of growth and a way of thanking a blog author for his or her work, are in decline.

What’s the common thread: when they were alive, commenting, linking out, participating in forums, and subscribing to (and reading) blogs, all required effort, graciousness, a desire to be part of a community* of like-minded folks, and the realization that we get out of things what we put into them.

What’s not dead? Twitter.

Please Tweet this.

 

Grow and be well,

Kelly Erickson

 

*NB: Faux community is nothing like a real, functioning community. After I’d finished this post, James wrote Screw Community on this very subject at Men With Pens. A rant after my own heart!