A recent Mashable.com article emerged just after the New Year discussing how the word “Tumblr” is currently a more searched word than “blog”. Although the fact that a “branded” blog site like Tumblr is now more popular than the word “blog” itself is a very interesting topic, I was most caught up on a quote in the article.
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A 2006 article in The Economist said blogs are “raw, unpolished authenticity and individuality.” Unfortunately, as all things, blogs have changed over time.
Only 3 years later, The New York Times published an article about the thrill of blogging losing its luster. It follows the story of Judy Nichols, a stay at home mom and murder mystery writer. She maintained a few blogs over the years but once they got popular, she could no longer anonymously share her true thoughts and experiences. Hence the title of the article “When the Thrill of Blogging is Gone…”
So what happened in those 3 years that made cool, raw and edgy blogs lackluster and stale? Is it the forced political correctness of our internet society today due to viral content? Is it a privacy concern? Or did blogging become just too mainstream (as a blog hipster may lament)?
What was it that made blogs not cool anymore?
In corporate blogs, an entire company is represented in one blog, so really what was lost was the individuality. With individuality comes the rawness and authenticity that existed in 2006 blogs that we’ve lost in blogs of this decade.
What’s not cool is an opinion post by X company. What is cool is a blog post about the brilliant idea of a customer service representative for a technology company trying to break into product management or a food website webmaster’s homemade chili recipe. The idea of a brand really showcasing the stars of their company (no matter the job title or level) is very appealing.
A blog should feel like a blog. To me, a blog is about feeling connected to an individual through their real, sometimes under-edited stream of consciousness. What made corporate blogs not cool anymore is the disappearance of individuals.
This idea of making a blog cool again will (thankfully) be re-ignited by Google AuthorRank and Google+. Google is making a big change this year. Now specific authors will build their own credibility through Google+ and that will determine the ranking of their posts. Companies need to have blog posts attributed to specific blog writers, not only for the sake of the cool factor, but for organic ranking as well.
Though there are many reasons why blogs have gone the way of MySpace and Ask Jeeves, there is a great solution to both save your coolness factor and increase your organic ranking. Individuals are what make up the culture and voice of a company. Google+ and Google AuthorRank elevate the individual again.