Nov 02 2012
What does it mean to call yourself a blogger when everybody has a blog?
Let me backtrack a bit. When the Vancouver Blogger Meetup died, nobody mourned. Few people even noticed. In fact, if you go to their page, it looks like it’s still alive — sort of. There’s a bunch of cool dudes I know well who are allegedly organizing it — except that there hasn’t been a meetup scheduled since March (which is when I was still helping organize these events). The main organizer and my old pal, Raul, isn’t even living in Vancouver anymore and he announced an indefinite hiatus from blogging back in September. The organizers aren’t even active enough to put the thing out of its misery.
That isn’t a challenge or a provocation to those people who still have their names on the masthead, by the way. The Vancouver Blogger Meetup put on some great events. We had lots of interesting discussions, shared some laughs and scarfed down a whole lot of pizza. But I think that meetup is pretty much dead — and the only thing I can think is it’s about time.
I was one of the elite bloggerati in this town. Sure, I never posted the huge numbers for this blog like some of the press release regurgitators and big boob-photo sharers I could name — or a few local celebrities who simply converted offline success into online success (as was only natural). But I had decent stats. I helped a number of fellow bloggers get started on Blogspot, WordPress, Drupal or whatever. I gave advice to people who went on to become Tweeting, Facebooking social media mavens… and I was happy to do so. It was fun helping others get into a medium for self-expression that is just so darn awesome for creative people.
These days, there is no bloggerati elite. There are tech dudes and foodies and gaming guys and fashion experts and a lot of them have blogs — but there are so many blogs now, it’s a very different landscape from when Miss604, Michael Klassen or Darren Barefoot would host an event that invited every single blogger in the city into a single pub basement.
Times have changed.
Blogging still is an awesome outlet. I use it for my business. I use it for creative fiction. Hooked into my various social media platforms, it’s a great bang for my buck (and FREE to those who are not self-hosted) when it comes to sharing stuff I’m interested in. I still run a bunch of blogs for personal stuff and probably have administrative access to a dozen more for client projects.
So, if you thought this was one of those “blogging is so passe” posts, that’s not what I’m getting at. Blogging is more popular than ever. It’s not going away. It’s not going to be replaced soon by the social media platforms that feed readers back to the blog, that natural hub of all things social media.
Nope. Blogs are pretty much like telephones or email or fax machines (OK, maybe not fax machines — I got rid of mine years ago). Everyone who wants a blog already has one — and if they don’t, they can get one in about five minutes.
That’s why the Vancouver Blogger Meetup is toast. Would you go to a “Telephone Meetup”? How about an “Email Meetup”? Probably not.
But you might go to a Business Marketers meetup that discusses telephone sales techniques. You might go to a Productivity-themed meetup that focuses on how to use email filters to optimize your inbox.
To be sure, people will still go to meetups that discuss blogging. But they’re niche. You might try out a “WordCamp” meetup to learn how to use the WordPress CMS. You could go a “Vancouver Entrepreneurs” meetup that might have a particular evening devoted to blogging for business. You might even go to a “Sci-Fi bloggers meetup” or a “Travel bloggers meetup”.
But I think the days where people would have a “Vancouver Blogger Meetup” are over. It’s just not niche enough.
This is a good thing. We’re getting beyond needing to meet to talk about the technology and getting straight to meeting to talk about what we really want to talk about.
Yeah, I still blog. So do many of my close friends. It’s something we still do a lot. But I’m also on the phone a lot and I don’t call myself a “telephoner”. I ride the SkyTrain most days but I don’t describe myself as a “rider”.
We’ve got to the point where “I’m a blogger” is not a particularly interesting or useful descriptor. It’s a subtle change in the conversation. It’s a necessary change.