What comes after blogging

Thinking it over, seems to me that blogging has for the most part become flogging, but that trying to rebadge the former as the latter is a job for Sysiphus (about whom Camus says some interesting stuff here).

A while back Dave Winer said he would quit blogging one of these days. At the time I thought that would be a bad idea, but lately I’ve come to sympathize with it, in part for the reason Seth Finkelstein gives here. Blogging today ain’t what it was when Dave started it, and when I followed in his footsteps. The kind of writing we both try to do — what I once called “making and changing minds” (including our own) — is an ever more narrowing slice of the whole, even if the amount of it is still going up.

So I want something new. Something for which the making of money is at most a secondary or lower priority. Not sure what that should be, but I am sure, if it ever happens, it won’t be called blogging.


  1. Crosbie Fitch’s avatar

    Something new?

    How about micro-commissioning? (or whatever funky name people come up with for it)

    This would be where any number of people could say things like “I’d pay a dollar to whoever fixed X to do Y”, and then some system figures out when it happens, skims all the respective pledges and pays whoever fixed X to do Y.

    Production of public works is the priority, their direct commision by the public, the lower priority enablement.

  2. Lloyd Davis’s avatar

    Is it that you want something new – a new form? Or are you looking for a word to describe the kind of writing you do here and to distinguish it from the flog melée?

    I have no ideas btw – but I’m getting tired of saying “I’m a blogger” and getting the response “Oh, who do you do that for? What’s your subject? What kind of audience are you aiming at?”

    Actually, it’s not those questions that bother me so much it’s how far they then are from understanding my answers viz “1. me 2. err.. my life. 3. me again and about 10 of my good friends”

  3. Doc Searls’s avatar

    Lloyd, I am “looking for a word to describe the kind of writing (I) do here and to distinguish it from the flog melée”. But I am also looking for somebody to invent writing software for the Web that goes beyond blogging as we know it. Time for something new.

    Maybe it’s already out there and I don’t know it. Or don’t recognize it.

  4. Hanan Cohen’s avatar

    “Writing” will be replaced by writing.

  5. Chip’s avatar

    How about multi layer, multi participant, multi faceted, not “always on”, non spatial, non or quasi-temporal conversation(s)

    I don’t begrudge floggers
    Read them once and move on
    Incremental cost is near zero, other than my time.

    Therefore add self selective to the above “conversation”

    The beauty is ability to connect where you might not otherwise, pick up snippets of knowledge and insight that might not be available otherwise. The obverse as well, pass along information (not always knowledge or insight, that’s too presumptuous on my part)

    Ciao on a Sunday Morn from SiValley

  6. W^L+’s avatar

    If “blogging for dollars” is all you’re worried about, don’t worry. The online ad slump will take out a lot of those sites pretty soon. I think that it is very easy to find yourself doing and saying things you would not normally do or say when your wallet is directly connected with your readership. Except for a select few, you can tell when the author changes to blogging for dollars, because the hype quotient goes way up.

    On the other hand, I doubt that most blogs with advertising are profitable. The best they can hope for is to defer some of their operating costs. For most of us, blogging is an avocation, not a job.

    It would be nice if the software (especially the posting tools) improved. But that will happen incrementally, until someone comes up with a completely different view on things and that sparks the kind of change that blogging did in the first place.

  7. Jon Garfunkel’s avatar

    I tell people I’m a *slogger* — essentially, a slow blogging.

    I have a lot of ideas over the course of a week. I very rarely commit them to a blog post; more often, I share them in email, or put them in a comment to another blog. What appears on Civilities.net represents a thorough piece of research. (I also call myself an essayist). And when I write something, I always try to be original– if somebody else has made the same point in the blogs, there’s no point in my echoing it.

    I have been thinking about calling for a “slogger revolution” (another post of mine in gestation). Part of what I’m still pulling together is the notion that there always *have* been essayists on the Internet; it’s just that the blog focus has crowded them out somewhat.

  8. Dave Winer’s avatar

    I’m not so worried. Think about today’s NY Times piece. Almost anyone who reads it knows it’s bullshit because they say that blogging is mostly a professional thing, but everyone knows someone who’s a blogger and they know they’re doing it for fun not money.

    BTW, what do you think of WordPress?

  9. Steven Kaye’s avatar

    I guess I have two immediate reactions.

    1) Don’t beat yourself up unduly over a poorly-researched sensationalist newspaper article.
    2) There are universes out there aside from the publicity-seeking software egosphere (which I don’t count you as part of, to be clear).

  10. Jon Garfunkel’s avatar


    I’m failing to see the bullshit here.

    When the Times write about about the dire hazards of professional football (injury rate of roughly 50%) it’s as if you’re response would be, look at all the majority of football players (who play at the high-school level, where the rate is 4 per 1,000). Obviously the professional risks and rewards in any endeavor are greater.

    I suppose the point that Doc is raising above is that the “professional” level of blogging may be disjoint from the amateur level. The extreme example of such a disjoint is wrestling in the U.S., where the “professional” variant on it is completely different from than the amateur pursuit.

    One way of putting it — what should young bloggers do when they grow up (ie., become professional)? Should they become corporate flacks? Or should they become voices for change within an organization? I believe Doc advocates the latter.

  11. WinExtra » Open letter to Doc Searls & Hugh MacLeod’s avatar

    […] is even considering giving up blogging was a shock to the system but when it was followed up with a post from Doc Searls on his blog Blogging today ain’t what it was when Dave started it, and when I followed in his footsteps. […]

  12. Doc Searls’s avatar


    I like “slogger.” I’m something of an essayist too, though I do like the half-bakery that the blogosphere, at its best, has always been.

    And you’re right about a disjoint between amateur and professional, though the separation is not always sharp. BoingBoing as a commercial venture, for example, is hardly different from what it was as a non-commercial one.

  13. David Cushman’s avatar

    Doc, where do you place twitter in this firmament? I see it as disaggregated microblogger. It allows groups with fuzzy edges, always adapting and amplifying and essentially evolving the conversation and its purpose. I jotted down a few notes about it on my blog because that’s where I compile what I think about the world in the hope that others might help me work out better ways of looking at it. But only I can start a conversation on my blog. On twitter the point of start of the conversation can come from anywhere in your friend group. I like this.
    My musings:

  14. Bruce Fryer’s avatar


    I tend to think of blogging as the daily meeting at the pub after work. And then you get more diary type of conversations “I saw this and thought it was interesting oh and guess what happened today” and the deep thought conversations (I do like the slogger definition).

    But in the end, we all get to decide with whom we like to hang out. Which is why Dave invented RSS feeds (thanks Dave). It’s too bad someone couldn’t figure out a way to measure click throughs from RSS feeds and group this with the bundle of feeds by individual person. Now that would be interesting.

    You can learn a lot about a person by what they feed.

  15. John Quimby’s avatar

    Great Topic,

    Made me want to send something I think is interesting from an AP article on 3/31: “Blogging to Stardom”

    Includes the following comments:

    “There are more blog posts in Japanese than any other language, according to Technorati, which tracks nearly 113 million blogs globally. Last year, Technorati found 37 percent of all postings were in Japanese – about 1.5 million per day. Postings in English – from Americans, Britons, Australians and people in many other countries – accounted for 36 percent of the total.

    Kawakami is unusual in the extent of her success. But Steve Weber, an American who has written about marketing books online, said Japanese writers are far ahead of Americans in making their work available on the Internet. Many have had successful books published after producing novels intended to be read on mobile phones, for example.”


    ” Joichi Ito, Internet entrepreneur and Technorati board member, says Japanese tend to view blogs more as exchanges with friends and a personal outlet than as news sources as Americans do, for discussing politics, technology and other issues.

    “More content in Japan is personal, and more content in the U.S. is media-like,” he said.”

    What does this say about where we are and where we are headed?

  16. Ed Brenegar’s avatar

    I hear this a lot. From my perspective, it seems that blogging was suppose to change everything, and it didn’t or didn’t in quite the way expected. My attitude is that blogging is a tool that helps me articulate my thoughts in a public forum. The person who has been the most influenced by my blog is me. Is that a low grade expectation? I don’t think so. It is certainly a realistic one.

    Also, I wish you well on your recovery. When you are out read Tom Peter’s excellent PPT on heath and health care. http://www.tompeters.com/slides/uploaded/Healthcare_Master_033108.ppt
    I’d be interested in hearing your reactions in light of your current experience.

  17. max cameron’s avatar


  18. max cameron’s avatar

    And when I write that, I mean it.

    For all the crappy bloggers who will wax on and on about their brand new corpoblog dedicated to transparency and touting their self-proclaimed “listening culture,” I just tell em that they you can’t fake the funk.

    I think doc should hook up with Steve Mann and start doing straight up blogovision, then he could pull intervention style stunts that only a battle hardened veteran could get away with.

  19. Conversational Media Marketing’s avatar

    Social media pied-pipers disconnecting from the net…

    By now everyone knows clever cartoonist Hugh McLeod has become a hermit, moving to the remote, little town of Alpine, Texas and, even worse, deleting his Twitter account. In one of his final Tweets, Hugh said, Sorry, Gang, I just…

  20. REBlogGirl’s avatar

    Interesting concept. The corporate blog culture of opening the “conversation” with the customer is ridiculous. It doesn’t address the consumer need at all. People search the Internet and end up on a blog because they have a need and that need is rarely that they want to communicate with a corporation- it is more likely they want information about a product/service, a lesson on how to troubleshoot a problem, a comparison of brands so they can make a decision, communicating with real people with similar interests, etc. Tutorial and social marketing is what makes a successful blog so extrapolate that out to niche social networks so people with similar interests can interact and teach one another.

  21. Doc Searls’s avatar


    WordPress is okay. But I still want MORE for the Web. 🙂 What can I say? I got spoiled. I am an outline kinda guy.

  22. Luke Gedeon - Solutions Researcher » The web is just a beach at low tide’s avatar

    […] the post itself was on topic. Not only that but he linked to Paul Chaney, who linked to Scoble and Doc Searls who are also talking about a similar […]

  23. Jill Wente’s avatar

    Blogging can be related to the old third party telephone lines. My parents said that you would pick up the phone and a conversation was already occurring. A communication between many and not just one to one. Who knows what we will be next. We have seen so many advancements in the last 10 years.

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