Blogging Frontiers: Emerging Face of Social Media

Since last week, one part of the blogging world has been going through a lot of turmoil. No – it’s not the turmoil that leads to mental agony – or may be it does. Depends on how you look at it.

The key folks who started this churn are David Risley, Mike Cliffe Jones, Jordan Cooper and Nathan Hangen.

In his original post, You’re NOT Only As Good As Your Last Post, Jordan Cooper brought up a very controversial topic:

I’m not only as good as my last blog post and neither are you. Everything I produce on my blog adds to an overall body of work. Some posts are good. Some not so much. Some are downright amazing. Although I will be judged by all of my creation, I choose to lead with my brilliance, not with my filler.

Your blog isn’t just a series of 800 word writings in a hodgepodge order. But that’s what it looks like now.

That’s a pretty radical view point – one that questions everything that we have learnt about blogging so till date.

David Risley threw another big rock in the initial ripples while Thinking Outside The Box:

Making the homepage into a squeeze page, with prominent links to the stuff I want new readers to see. Stop depending on the eyeball fairy and start controlling the message visually. Makes for solid branding control, too.

Remove the dates from my posts and URLs. Simplify the actual blog and feature high-quality content. This will allow posts to be about pure quality rather than feeding into the time demands of blogging that just end up giving us gray hair.

While David was #2 in the queue, Mike followed suit when he opened up a Saturday discussion on his blog, aptly referring to it as Is The Blog Format Dead? Here’s what he had to say:

Now that you’re back, let me share some thoughts I’ve been having recently along similar lines. I actually “turned dates off” on my posts some time ago – I’m not sure anyone noticed!

Mike also talks about custom landing pages for directed traffic coming from specific sources.

The final pro-blogger to bite the dust was Nathan Hangen – he actually turned off his blog and redesigned it along the same lines.

The three blog posts by Jordan, David and Mike attracted a lot of comments – and a lot of points of view. It also got me thinking. While some of the arguments make sense, some don’t.

One of the first questions to come to my mind was – we have a zillion themes for WordPress, free and premium ones combined. None of the themes do something like this – out of the box.

Why did they all miss something so obvious?

I wanted to some more research – and here’s what I found what some of the other probloggers are doing:

Darren Rowse is much more conventional on his classic blogging wisdom mecca, ProBlogger.net:

Darren follows conventional wisdom, one that all of us have been taught and handed down. Dated posts, a featured post and a video post which is also dated. Further down, below the fold, is a widget that shows up sticky posts, sliced and diced by using using multiple parameters.

Scott H. Young, uses only the month format on his blog. He does away with dates. So every post of his blog reads a variation of, “posted in Month Year …“.

And Chris Guillebeau, on The Art of Non-Conformity, posts chronologically – with the dates hidden on the home page, but visible on the individual posts page:

And then, he has a lot more elements that go on this blog – that capture almost everything you could think of on the home page itself.

So what do lesser mortals like you and I do? Follow suit – and do what the probloggers are doing? Or maintain status quo?

I’d recommend a few things:

  1. Stay put – unless you have time to spare, or have the liberty of experimenting – or are an early adopter.
  2. Unless you already have a successful blog in place, you should not be spending your prime cycles on anything like this. Your prime cycles are better spent.
  3. Every blog is different – so unless you can see an obvious advantage of riding a new wave – you should definitely maintain status quo.
  4. A few weeks, a few months down the line – we’ll see a trend and that might be the best time to adopt this change. We might even see a bunch of themes starting to support this concept.

Is what the probloggers are doing an invention, a discovery, or just a passing trend?

I don’t know – only time will tell if the trade winds have changed.

But for now, I’m not changing my design – are you?

(Image Credit: Chris John Beckett http://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisjohnbeckett/)

4 Responses to Blogging Frontiers: Emerging Face of Social Media
  1. Mike CJ
    Twitter: mikecj
    August 5, 2010 | 12:20 pm

    I should add that I’m not really an advocate of this kind of redesign – I was simply asking my readers for their views on the subject. I think there might be some merit in the blogging niche, although I prefer to go down the route of creating separate landing pages for my various profiles.

    But for a conventional “niche” blog, I think the conventional format is the right one.

    • Kapil Apshankar
      August 5, 2010 | 3:40 pm

      You opened the can of worms, Mike 🙂

      So looks like the whole conversation is also polarizing into two segments – “blog niche” blogs and “conventional niche” blogs.

      As you also pointed out this morning on your blog http://www.mikeslife.org/content/ignore-drama-and-crack, the only folks who seem to care about all this are the folks having “blog niche” blogs. For everyone else, it’s just business as usual!

  2. Nathan Hangen - Digital Emperor
    Twitter: nhangen
    August 5, 2010 | 12:37 pm

    Actually far from finished, I had to turn my site back on because my iPhone support link goes to it, but the only thing I’ve done thus far is remove dates. Working on a much more dramatic overhaul for the next few weeks.
    Nathan Hangen – Digital Emperor recently posted… I Don’t Know What I’m Doing

    • Kapil Apshankar
      August 5, 2010 | 3:04 pm

      Can’t wait to see what you come up with, Nathan!