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What’s Wrong with Blogging

Posted By Darren Rowse 6th of May 2005 Pro Blogging News 0 Comments

I once heard of a debate between a Christian group and a Pagan group – it could have been a pretty un-constructive rant like event where one group tells the other group what’s wrong with it and visa versa – everyone would have gone home with the same opinions that they came with – however this debate was different.

Each side was told to prepare arguments against their own religion/faith perspective. The Christians had to say what they didn’t like about Christianity, what they felt uncomfortable with and had to deconstruct and poke holes in their own framework for thinking. The Pagans had to do the same for paganism.

The result was fascinating – rather that the two groups coming away with reinforced hatred of and anger towards the other the event was incredibly constructive. Both groups found that they learned not only a lot about the other group – but about their own perspective.

Ok – so why am I telling you this on a blog about blogging? Have I mistakenly posted this here instead of on my Spirituality blog?

No – I”m actually wondering if it might be a helpful exercise as bloggers to do something similar.

Let’s talk about what we don’t like about blogging. What are its weaknesses? What are its limitations? How would you construct an argument against blogging?

Lets learn something about Blogging by deconstructing it for a bit. Put the boots in readers – lets kick it about for a bit – time for a bit of a bitch session!

The rules are simple – you’re not allowed to say ANYTHING positive about blogging in comments below (or feel free to respond on your own blog and leave a link below so we can find it). There are no wrongs and rights – everyone’s critiques of the medium are valid.

Go on – I know you want to – lets lay into Blogging!

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. for one thing, everybody is jumping on the ‘blogging-for-money’ bandwagon, as a student of economics I can say that overall pay will in fact decrease with time unless the advertising demand increases with the rate as fast as the blogs are growing (which is highly unlikely looking at the world economic scenerio, except maybe for Chinese blogs)

  2. it just struck me, that even Chinese blogs are not so lucky either.. because of all the freedom-of-speech problems there. To look at it, even google and yahoo had to compromise on their search results to appease to the Chinese govt…

  3. For all those full time bloggers and SEO gurus who rely heavily on search engines for their livelihood, what if Google decided to cut payouts in half? What if advertisers pulled out of blogs and returned to more traditional avenues? What if affiliate networks crash?

  4. one of my least favorite aspects of blogging is how easy it is to be misinterpreted. the format encourages you to write quickly and informally, which sometimes mean you don’t choose your words quite as carefully as you ought. this can leave you wide-open for flames and criticism, by people who sometimes get what you’re saying and sometimes don’t. basically, it’s easy to get into hot water!

  5. My least favourite thing about blogging is how — since everyone’s commoditizing it — all blogs are becoming similar. Every niche blog is just like every other niche blog, all articles around 250 words for SEO, an incestual link-nest back and forth to get better PageRank. Everyone’s always talking about how “blogging will bring a public voice to the common man”, and yet all it’s doing is making us better at marketing-speak!

  6. I’m a slave to content!! This blog beast must be fed every day — it’s never satisfied — I can only take it so…much..longer!!!!

    Ok, I’m better now. Thanks for letting me vent. Good topic.


  7. I struggle with the nuts and bolts of the technology. I’m relatively saavy with computers and use Typepad (which is pretty easy to use) but there’s always something “little” I want to add or change and it can take me up to half a day. It shouldn’t be this hard.


  8. Even though blogging is becoming increasingly popular and is being discussed more in the mainstream media, it still seems fringe in a lot of respects to me. On the one hand I like this, yet on the other, I wonder if it will ever be utilized more widely by some of the more marginalized groups in the world.

  9. A blog is merely a website that is easier to update. There is no real difference between the “everybody has to have a homepage” hype of the late ’90s and “everybody has to blog” hype of today. And the barrier to entry is so low that it clogs up the blogosphere with too many blogs about “my adventure at the mall” and so they are considered fluff by the vast majority of the public who are aware of them.

  10. What’s wrong with blogs? The idiot commenters who don’t know what they’re talking about. Somebody searches for their favorite heart-throb celebrity, finds a quote on my blog, and posts a comment as if said heart-throb has anything to do with my site. Stupid commenters–what do they know? ;-)

    And typos. Those darn bloggers are posting so fast they can’t proofread their own work.

  11. What’s wrong with blogs? Adsense. Even though I make money from them, I still hate them. As a publisher, constantly trying to figure out how to get more people to click on them…and as a reader, seeing the same damn ones [highly targeted to me] on every site I visit.

  12. The Lions are hungry!

    At least that seems to be the idea here:I once heard of a debate between a Christian group and a Pagan group – it could have been a pretty un-constructive rant like event where one group tells the other group…

  13. edited says: 05/06/2005 at 9:32 am

    Comment deleted by Darren for being too positive….and possibly being spam.

  14. In the time it takes for me to post just once on each of my 7 blogs another 3.7 million new blogger and msn spaces accounts have been opened.

    The thing that sucks most about blogging is summed up in a quote I read recently: “blogging is the revenge of the amatueur”. We all have talents and skills in abundance but blogging seems to push us towards becoming blurb reporters (I include myself in this).

    Until we, as a community, learn how to find our own skills and apply them to blogging we’ll just help to create a homogenous blogohell.

  15. That I sometimes have to resist the temptation to be like a newpaper editor ‘gotta have that headline first’. :)

  16. It’s entirely too self-referential. Blogs dedicated to politics comment on “the blogosphere”, blogs dedicated to business comment on “the blogosphere”, blogs written by teenagers about their latest crush comment on “the blogosphere”. A political blog probably has more in common with the static website of, for example, the Heritage Foundation than it does with this blog. Bottom line, too much concern with “how do I compare with XYZ blog” instead of “am I getting out timely important information on my topic”. .

  17. I hate it when I start looking through my RSS reader and every Mac blog is linking to the same “new iBooks” announcement, security threat, MSFT fumble, “Apple is dead” story, etc. There might be 150 new posts among all the Mac blogs, but only about 30 of them are truly unique. The worst part is that all those duplicates just link to the site, or reproduce some specs or a quote, not adding anything original to the news item.

    Oh, and some of the bloggers are slower to post than others, so I’ll be seeing those same “new iBook” announcements popping up for the next week.

    But I can’t unsubscribe from the feeds, because each one of them occasionally posts something interesting that’s not covered by the others. What we need is some sort of Bayesian filtering system to group similar posts so I can sort through them faster.

  18. What’s wrong with blogging? The growing emphasis on blogging-for-money, the proliferation of similar content on different websites shows that bloggers are reading the same things and linking to the same things so how do you get heard?

  19. I agree with Danger’s comments, the time blogging takes up can sometimes be a bad thing, but I don’t agree with a lot of the other comments, mainly because they are not exclusive to bogs, say Vix’s comments, making money and duplicitous content are a web-wide phenomenon not exclusive to blogs. Sure, it might be nice to reminisce about 2002, but the reality is more and more continue to join and duplication occurs, but this is a positive, because as a consumer it means I have more choice, and choice is always a good thing. After all, would we want the blogosphere to reflect the OS market?

    I’d also note that there is also a lot of generalisations in the comments, and whilst I respect the rights of people to have their views I’ve got to go back again and repeat the same mantra, you can’t generalise about the blogopshere, it’s to big and too diverse to hold any particular notion true amongst more than a small percentage of blogs. Comments about blogs commenting on other blogs for example only hold true with a small percentage of blogs, its just happens to be the popular ones, (its like saying all white people are racists because a small, but sometimes vocal minority are). I’d note that commenting on other blogs can’t be that bad because at the end of the day if the format was bad, people would stop reading. Another mantra: the market is (nearly) always right.

  20. […] s About Blogging

    Darren Rowse, the infamous ProBlogger, has a post up asking for everyone’s opinion on what they think is wrong with blogging. Dar […]

  21. Personally, I have no problems with the boom of the blogosphere and I even encourage everyone to maintain a blog of their own. However, I do think that keeping your blog typo free and in good taste will certainly help maintain the respectability of amateur blogs.

  22. Hey, Duncan, no positive comments! :-)

    I agree with you that not every blog does all these annoying things, but they are aspects of blogs that annoy people. It’s like if we were asked “what annoys you about other people?” – there’d be lots of stuff posted, but none of it would apply to every person on the planet.

    It’s good to have these generalisations pointed out, so that serious bloggers can make sure they are aware of things that annoy people, and try to minimise how much they annoy their own readers. It’s also nice to vent occasionally.

    Oh, and one more thing that annoys me about blogs – bad spelling and bad grammar. I hate discovering a new blog on a topic I’m interested in, only to find that the author can’t put a single grammatically-correct sentence together. I always end up unsubscribing from those ones.

  23. Darren, I would agree with the bad spelling. I hate trying to figure out what someone is trying to spell. As for sentence structure, I can’t comment, since I tend to write like I speak.

    One thing that really irritates me is that some of the self-proclaimed experts … aren’t. I scan a lot of feeds daily that say a lot of the same things day after day. For example, the author of “Blog A” was an expert on something back in 1998. He’s been selling a “system” online for the last 7 years. The only problem is that he never learned anything new. So for 7 years he’s been saying the same exact thing.

    And finally, the number of blogs that show promise and disappear next week…annoying.

  24. The weakness of blogging is the design therein. Since page generators feed the mouths of hungry SE’s, those who know how to use keywords and links in harmony will win, at least temporarily, thus the clog o’ the blog…no good content, just envelopes stuffed with return addresses to the page that the blog spammers wish to raise ranking with. Sucks for us..Here is my try at the same technique: see?
    Am I wrong………??

  25. Great question. For me the problem with blogging is the same as the early days of DTP when everyone was going to be a design expert with a $50 piece of software. Didn’t happen. And with blogging there will be a fallout over time. Those who go will be the ones who produce the dross we all hate.

    Another thing I dislike about blogging is just how much work it takes to set up a good system. The work involved to install the software and tweak it to your own site’s look and feel is still too much. There must be people out there with fascinating stories to tell who just don’t have a voice because it’s currently beyond them. And then there are people who don’t even have access to the web. Maybe we should have a network of angels who will ‘blog’ for the real characters who can’t. Sort of ghost writing for the new Millenium.

  26. Too many people, with nothing to say, who think what they’ve said is important and true. There’s no way to easily separate the noise from fact, from fiction or from wishful thinking. Blogging is the perfect post modern tool–truth is relative and everyone has their own truth.

  27. I thought of another one…

    Since most blog providers don’t provide hosting of images, we get… bloggers linking to images on sites they don’t own, to display in their blog images they don’t, stealing bandwidth from web sites they don’t own.

  28. I thought of another one…

    Since most blog providers don’t provide hosting of images, we get… bloggers linking to images on sites they don’t own, to display in their blog images they don’t own, stealing bandwidth from web sites they don’t own.

  29. I thought of another one…

    Since most blog providers don’t provide hosting of images, we get… bloggers linking to images on sites they don’t own, to display in their blog images they don’t OWN, stealing bandwidth from web sites they don’t own.

    Plus add one more. No way to correct a typo in a blog comment, or in the case of this blog to delete a previous commetn that has a typo.

  30. Blogs are just the latest fad. Here today. Replaced tomorrow (or 5 years from now). The majority of people start them, are really active for a while and then start posting every 4 months or less. Not exactly changing the world through blogging. Now running a community site… hehe

  31. I didn’t think of another one…

  32. […] Administrator Darren Rowse has an interesting post today asking for feedback on What’s Wrong With Blogging. To quote – “Le […]

  33. Bloggers tend to seek out controversy and negative angles on every story. Rather than looking for something good to write about, 90% of the time it’s about criticizing and tearing down. We like to rant about anything and everything. We love to take on the adversarial role. We can say whatever we want about any subject without having to be accountable for what we say. We often hop right on any potentially negative story before we check our facts. We don’t have to offer any kind of balance or fairness in our posts because we can always write antoher post tomorrow that we were wrong or that we changed our mind.

    Also, the problem with blogs is that they’re TOO easy. There are literally no barriers to entry, so everyone and their dog can keep a blog. The web was already getting cluttered with crappy sites before blogging came around, now the level of clutter is growing at an enormous rate. There are a lot of lame blogs floating around and it’s only going to get worse as more and more wannabes jump on the blogging bandwagon. Free speech coupled with easy-to-use publishing methods make for for a crowded place.

  34. Helge Moulding says: 05/07/2005 at 4:47 am

    Well, shoot. It’s all been said.
    * Blogs are nothing new, except the name
    * Too many bloggers all saying the same crap
    * Pressure to blog leads to carelessly blasting opinion about stuff bloggers don’t know enough about
    * Pressure to get links leads to needless controversy instead of reasoned discussions
    * Bloggers don’t know web design or web etiquette, or ignore them
    * Blogging is getting too commercial

    So here’s my original contribution to the list:
    * If you come too late to the party, everyone else will already have said what you were gonna say :-)
    * Blogging is supposedly making traditional journalism obsolete. Baloney. Bloggers are taking themselves far too serious.

  35. Blogs are mostly boring. So you scan the sidebars for interesting content and they have tonnes of links leading to what? More boring blogs. Bah!

    The ‘blogosphere’ needs to work on content.

  36. Blogs create artificial experts and there’s been a proliferation of them on both blogs and e-zines. People are being advised by internet gurus to read three or four articles or books on a topic that’s “hot”, then write and market. The result is poor quality information that’s either a patchwork quilt of plagarism or so poorly researched as to be potentially harmful. These sites clog up search results for people trying to get at decent information resources and, for me, are on a par with the thousands of dmoz clone search engine/ad farm sites when it comes to the irritation factor.

  37. OK, so as a new blogger of this post, and having taken the time of reading the whole thing down to here (and god forbid: no more!) I’ll make it good by pointing to an entirely unrelated content (as a way not to repeat quote the same crap quote).
    Hoping this very constructive example helps anyone else than just me (and a wild shot at helping myself)

  38. Bruce McCurtain says: 05/09/2005 at 6:16 pm

    As I search through blogs to see how they are set up and what they are being used for I find that are largely made up of bloggers selling or preaching to bloggers. The “underbelly” or subsystem reminds me of my early 80’s programming staff, mostly spouting incomprehensible nerd-speak. Upload a picture- good luck! Change the look or feel- ha! Make it accessible and useful for the masses? Good luck with that! If you can’t “program” in the language you’re out. RSS? XML? Syndicate this site? What does any of that mean to John Doe? Now imagine your mother (who finally has figured out how to order books online) trying to understand and use the technology. Now imagine everybody else’s mom, dad, brother, sister- you get the picture. Lots of great content- if you know how to get it, but very specialized if you want to produce it. And not for people not “in”. Blogging has some serious growing up to do!

  39. A main concern I have about blogging is the publication of photographs of people who may have not given permission to have their photograph placed online particularly the publication of pictures of children. This I suppose is really a question of ethics (along side band width theft already list above) but definitely something that I think people should consider before putting up images of their children.

  40. […] arren Rowse of ProBlogger has thrown out the challenge to bloggers to answer the question What’s Wrong with Bl […]

  41. alchemist says: 05/10/2005 at 11:18 am

    Welcome Limbaughs and Frankens of Tomorrow! As long as you are entertaining and thrash our enemies we will read every word you write! Your facts need not be wholly accurate, just enough speculation to convince the masses. The more incindiery, the better! Who needs the liberal/conservative media, when *your* views on the subject have already been laid out in less than 1,000 words. And in no time, the blog-echo effect will grow these tribbles to news-print fact!

  42. Poisons within the blogosphere include character blogs, link farm blogs, spyware-attaching blogs, sleazy sponsored link blogs, pseudo blogs, ghost blogs, mundane trivia blogs, narcissistic mirror blogs, charlatan “consultant” blogs, paid word of mouth advertising blogs, paid word of mouth advertising commentors, comment spam, trackback spam, email this post to a friend spam, email address RSS feed scraping, guestbook spam, IntelliTXT content hypertext link spam, and one-way broadcast non-interactive blogoids.

    “Blog Consultants” who simply are infatuated with instant web content publishing, but know little about marketing, sales psychology, blog design, web usability, online text composition, idea-foraging, contemplative insight generation, or other blog success-related issues.

    Blogs that merely link to what everyone else is linking to, thus are redundant and worthless.

    Blogs that violate the 9 Blog Core Values, the Universal Blog Mantra, and the 3 Primary Purposes for a Blog.

    All these are blotches on the bloatosphere.

    Leopold the Told [from Blog Core Values]

  43. The Sickness:

    You blog compulsively, every single day you hammer out some semblance of a clear thought – or you lose sleep if you don’t post. Then the comments roll in, darn them! How many personalized comments can you possibly send back?

    Compulsive Reciprocation:

    Do you really have to visit (and comment on) their blogs? Sometimes you don’t like their blog but they really like yours. Woe is me.

  44. I think one problem is that tone of voice is lost–nuance and intent can be lost and meaning misconstrued. Blogs are a rather static means of communicating, comments not withstanding. TV and radio can be more of a dynamic “dialogue” even if it’s only you shouting at it—-at least there is an immediacy to a real voice.

  45. Anonymous Coward says: 05/12/2005 at 3:52 am

    When you consider a “blog” in the news sense or, more appropriately, the source-of-information sense, the real problem lies in the almost complete absence of accountability.

    Within a traditional news organization there are corporate standards, editorial staff, fact-checking, proof-reading, association membership, professional standards, and a standard of quality that must be met if only to justify a salary. People in news organizations get fired (or even resign) if they don’t stand up under this accountibility.

    Little, if any, of this exists within the blogging community. The public doesn’t provide accountibility – it provides a market. People don’t read blogs because they are factually correct or because they provide balanced views and information on a subject – usually the opposite, in fact. People like opinion, especially one that is aligned with their bias.

    It’s ironic that bloggers allegedly forced the resignation of various popular news anchors; the bloggers themselves could never be brought under such scrutiny, and yet they are in most need of it.

    Ultimately, it is the public’s fault for giving bloggers a false image of credibility when none actually exists.

  46. Would you be surprised if a hammer salesperson suggested a hammer were the perfect tool for every home project?

    Have a leaky sink? You need a hammer. Need to change an electrical outlet? You need a hammer. Need to paint a wall? You need a hammer. Need to cut fire wood? You need a hammer. Yes! A hammer can serve any household need!

    That would be silly.

    And yet that is exactly what many Blog Consultants do. Do you have a business? You need a blog! Ridiculous.

    A blog is nothing more than a tool to support a business and web strategy. As any tool of business or trade, there is a time and place where they are appropriate; there are also many times when they’re overkill and times when they’re a waste of energy.

    Bottom line. A hammer, screw driver, saw, and measure tape all have a place in a tool box. Each serves a particular function and use. Each is the right tool at the right time and none are the only tool you need. Blogs are a tool of business; they sit in the tool box alongside direct mail, print advertising, signage, websites, and other marketing means. A blog is not a strategy and it’s not a must have for every business.

    The only marketing and sales plan that matters is the one that works. To say every business needs a blog is to me to say you don’t understand business.

    Blogs – just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

  47. Blogging don’t get no respect. No respect at all.

  48. grrrrrrr! so many generalisations, to quote someone above
    * Too many bloggers all saying the same crap
    (that’s because you’re only looking at one part of the blogosphere, try looking somewhere new on a different topic!)
    * Pressure to blog leads to carelessly blasting opinion about stuff bloggers don’t know enough about
    (again generalisation, not true to all)
    * Pressure to get links leads to needless controversy instead of reasoned discussions
    (generalisation, but I’ll admit this can be true)
    * Bloggers don’t know web design or web etiquette, or ignore them
    (generalisation, and subjective, I might not like your design, you might not like mine, there is no diffined good or bad, right or wrong)
    * Blogging is getting too commercial
    (generalisation again, you’re only looking at one small part of the blogosphere)

  49. […] nversations at the conference next week could be had around Darren Rowse’s excellent what’s wrong with blogging and what’s right with blogging po […]

  50. I hate seeing photographs of children on blogs. The worst is when parents are “showing off” their kids constantly, with no regard for whether the child WANTS to be all over the internet. There are a lot of sickos out there searching for all kinds of pictures of kids. Very disturbing.

    Another thing I hate about blogging? When someone starts a blog, thinking that it means that other people will somehow start caring. Like a blog that gets zero comments for weeks, then has an entry “apologizing” for not writing more lately. Give me a break!! People who apologize for not writing entries are living in a dream land.

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