Why blogging still matters

Anil Dash on the enduring power of blogs.

We tend to get caught up in the latest tech ideas or gadgets, which is understandable since a lot of this stuff is undeniably interesting. But from time to time it’s worth surveying where we are and where we came from; to consider how the tech landscape has changed over the years, and how all those past technologies have influenced the things and thoughts we currently have.

That sort of slap of perspective happened to me during a recent interview with Expert Labs director Anil Dash (@anildash) at Web 2.0 Expo NY. I was reminded of the enduring power of blogging.

Here’s what Dash said when I asked how his blog relates to his other work:

I’m incredibly privileged and fortunate. I can put a post up on my blog and some number of people who are smart and thoughtful will take it seriously and respond. That’s unbelievable. That’s the greatest thing in the world.

If I spend an hour writing a couple hundred words about a really interesting challenge that we face as an industry, as a society, as a culture, sometimes I’ll get the person that I’m writing about to respond. I could write something about Twitter and get somebody that works at Twitter to respond, or write something about government and get someone who makes policy to respond. That’s still a thrill. It also kicks off really meaningful conversations. I think that’s all you can hope for.

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.

The full interview with Dash, embedded below, includes his thoughts on how he’s avoided burnout after more than a decade of blogging. He also discusses his crowdsourcing/government work with Expert Labs and he explains why the Gov 2.0 movement would have never happened had it required a federal mandate.


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  • Article with titles such as the above are often a clear indicator that they are self-refuting. And indeed, having a subculturally prominent person saying that other prominent people in his subculture still give him attention, is rather meaningless to anyone else not already established in the way he was and is.

  • Ike

    Yet, Seth, one of the advantages of the social technologies is the ability to better target and focus a message.

    We’re not all broadcasters, we’re narrowcasters who all tend our own subcultures.

    For better or worse.

    Anil’s sin is that he’s essentially bragging about swinging with a hipper crowd than the rest of us, because I’ve had more potent criticisms of Facebook and Twitter and never heard from an Ev or a Zuck. I’ve had game-changing suggestions for DirecTV and Charter, who have never responded to my channel.

  • But we’re not all Anil Dash or Scobleizer or Jeff Jarvis or whoever. If I write something about Twitter on MY blog, I don’t think Dick or Ev will be dropping by to address it. Anil became powerful as a blogger because of the things he has done offline, not on. I think blogging is extremely powerful and beneficial to both reader and writer for many reasons. But becoming influential is not necessarily one of them.