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Radio #EDUtalk 07-03-2018 Loose Learners Ep 9 The State of Blogging

Loose Learners Episode 9 The State of Blogging

John and Mariana will be talking about the State of Blogging.

ᴹᵃʳⁱᵃⁿᵃ ᶠᵘⁿᵉˢ (@mdvfunes) on  Twitter

john johnston (@johnjohnston) | Twitter

This episode explored a favourite topic for us both – blogging. We had read a number of recents posts suggesting that ‘blogging is not what it used to be’ and John found a great post suggesting that this was indeed true but this was not necessarily a bad thing and that ‘small b blogging’ had promise. We had originally planned to just explore this idea, but (as ever) we went down the internet rabbit hole and explored much more than one post!

So, this episode asks:

  • What is small b blogging and do we like it?
  • Is blogging  ‘a diminished thing’ just like ageing?
  • Is it true that ‘blogging is not what it  it used to be’ and does it matter?

We start with small B blogging as described in a post by Tom Critchlow and unpack the ways in which blogging may have moved from having one large potential audience to a series of fragmented but intertwined small communities:

“Every community now has a fragmented number of communities, homepages, entry points, tinyletters, influencers and networks. They overlap in weird and wonderful ways – and it means that it’s harder than ever to feel like you got a “homepage” success on these networks. To create a moment that has the whole audience looking at the same thing at the same time.”

The post challenges us all to “Go forth and small b blog. […] Think about how writing with and for the network might enable you to start blogging. Forget the big B blogging model. Forget Medium’s promise of page views and claps. Forget the guest post on Inc, Forbes and Entrepreneur. Forget Fast Company. Forget fast content.”

We discuss some examples of how this framing can ease entry for those new to blogging; not having to figure out the entry point and USP for a  Big B Blogging Post can make the process of beginning to blog less scary for our students.

We also explore the ‘thorny issue’ of just who is the oldest blogger still standing? Jason Kottke claims to be that in an recent interview but  Dave Winer, blogged before Kottke, and has an interesting model not dissimilar to that suggested by Tom Critchlow.

The biggest change perceived by those saying ‘it is not what it once was’ is summed up nicely by the sense of melancholy for a past lost to the age of social media expressed by Jason Kottle:

“Personally, I think I felt a lot worse about it maybe three, four years ago. I was like, crap, what am I going to do here? I can see where this is going, I can see that more and more people are going to go to Facebook, and to mobile, and to all of these social apps and stuff like that, and there’s going to be less and less of a space in there for blogs like mine.”

Others also speak to the lack of new ‘joiners’:

“There are a lot of great blogs still going, but as old ones drop off, there aren’t many new ones taking their places. It ain’t like it used to be.”

And there have been more responses to Kottke:

“the absence of large audiences for blogs doesn’t mean blogging is over. Indeed, it could never have begun if that was a prerequisite. What is (probably) over are multi-member blogs that target the mass market and are advertising supported.”


Lastly, we pose the question: Is blogging a ‘diminished thing’? As we discuss a recent article on Ursula Le Guin and her choice to start blogging at 87. From the article: “Age, she insists, makes one a “diminished thing.” Likewise, a blog does not possess the same artistic or persuasive power as a novel; reading about Le Guin’s cat will not change your life, the way that reading about her strange, freer worlds might. Blog posts are short, topical, and often polemical in a narrow way. On her blog, Le Guin talks about many of the same things she addressed in her stories, but the form itself is a diminished thing.”

The gods of blogging are still reeling at this outrageous suggestion!

And what is Blogging anyway?

“Blogging, above all else, is conversational. It is social. It is networked. There are two key features to the blog: links, and comments. Fail to include either, and you’re talking to yourself. Blogging is also incomplete, open, and ongoing. It is about process, not product. It is about a shared space.”

Online Journalism Blog

So what is the state of blogging in 2018? May be as new framings for the genre are offered by new joiners, as new platforms that allow for new narratives beyond quantifying the social are developed, blogging can evolve to allow us to take on Tom Critchlow’s challenge more fully:

What is blogging anyway? from Dr M Funes on Vimeo.

“…think clearly about the many disparate networks you’re part of and think about the ideas you might want to offer those networks that you don’t want to get lost in the feed. Ideas you might want to return to. Think about how writing with and for the network might enable you to start blogging.”

Go forth and small b blog!

All the links in one place:


2 thoughts on “Radio #EDUtalk 07-03-2018 Loose Learners Ep 9 The State of Blogging”

  1. Thank you John for the mention. The blogger who I think you were trying to remember is Bill Ferriter. He wrote an interesting post reflecting on the myth of audience.

    I sometimes wonder if people like Dave Winer and Alan Levine are the real ‘Big B Bloggers’. This is not because they curate a platform for financial purposes, which they don’t, but because they each in their own ways take blogging to the extremes of what is possible. I consider their pursuit as both cognitive and technical. I think that and #IndieWeb communities capture this too. This is the Big B blogging that I am interested in.

    1. Hi Aaron, thanks for the link. I’d racked my brains, bookmarks and your site to no avail.
      I am with you on the real B bloggers. Alan is certainly one of my heros. and the indieweb have huge potential once a few things get smoothed out.

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