Blogs have gone from hot new thing to just another communication channel. They’re not dead – in fact, after reading Walt Crawford’s survey of the library blog landscape, But Still They Blog, I conclude they’re very much alive.
I don’t blog the same way I used to. I don’t post as many personal things, mainly because I have other, more appropriate channels (like Facebook) for those. I don’t post as often as I used to, which could be because I have other channels, or could be because I’m busier than I used to be. I don’t follow blogs the same way I used to; I’m more likely to find an interesting post via Twitter or Facebook or even a Google search than I am to find it by reading my RSS feeds. (Perhaps relatedly, the popular feed reader Bloglines announced it is shutting down on November 1.)
But, there are some things for which my blog is still the best channel. I think (based on the number of comments I get) that more people follow my blog, or find my posts somehow, than did in the early days. I’m used to thinking of myself as a pretty small-time blogger, but I have been around for a while. (I was somewhat surprised to find that DIY Librarian is included in the pioneers section of Crawford’s book – but I have been blogging since mid-2003!)
Mac Slocum quotes from an interview with Anil Dash about why blogging still matters:
That was the promise we had when we all first discovered the web. Someday it would bring us all together and we’d be able to have these conversations. It’s not perfect. It’s not ideal. But in some small way here’s somebody like me — with no portfolio, I didn’t go to an Ivy League school, I didn’t have any fancy social connections when I started my blog — and it has opened the door to me having a conversation as a peer, as somebody taken seriously, in realms that I would have never otherwise had access to. That’s the greatest privilege in the world.
My blog has allowed me to have conversations, both real and virtual, with people I wouldn’t have otherwise had a connection to. In the early days of this blog, I contacted Jessamyn West of librarian.net (one of the true library blog pioneers) for advice, and she wrote back to me.
Next week, I’ll be speaking on a panel at PaLA about blogging and personal branding. Back when I started this blog, it was still unclear whether blogging helped or hurt your professional reputation. This blog has helped me professionally, and I hope to demonstrate how with a little self-awareness blogging can help other young professionals too.