Thursday, December 25, 2008

Blogging is Mainstream?

I was reading this Onn Yeoh article (p N47) in The Star today (December 25), and he was proclaiming an interesting fact: That like it or not, blogging has become mainstream. Okay, nothing really earth-shattering about it, but for us bloggers, we will have to sit up and pay attention, right? After all, it is right up our alley, and as active bloggers, we make up the statistics too. He even quoted tech author, Nicholas Carr as saying, blogging has entered a midlife crisis and likens it to “the state and fate of a literary form that once seemed new and fresh and now seems familiar and tired”. Don’t they know that the passage of time itself makes new becomes old, and fresh becomes familiar? I do not necessarily disagree with Oon Yeoh’s and Carr’s views that many popular blogs are today commercial ventures, bloated and geared towards selling ads.

(As an aside question: What is wrong with that? I say, if blogs can make money too, so be it).

Another tech writer, Paul Boutin is also mentioned. “Scroll down Technorati’s list of the top 100 blogs and you’ll find personal sites have been shoved aside by professional ones”. Let us not forget that personal blogs are, by definition, individual – so unless the contents are something that can reach out to touch a significant majority of the world’s IT-connected population, I guess we won’t make it into this list. I have no pretensions – my own blog is very personal. Who is reading my blog? I venture a guess. My friends, my students, acquaintances who may be remotely interested in me (Hahaha, but somehow I don’t think so), HICT (if you care to know about HICT’s happenings), Toastmasters stuff (probably not unless you are like me – just starting out as a Toastmaster and my reflections can help you learn about the journey that we as Toastmasters must walk through), football results (only if you are interested in EPL and SPL football), and other trivial stuff which I may deliberately choose to write about. But this is just an educated guess. So, readers, tell me – who are you? Why do you read my blog? Nice to know, I guess. Hehe, now, I am curious!

Anyway, back to this contention that blogging is so mainstream now. I would argue that every activity that popularizes itself will become mainstream, sooner or later. Unless, of course, it stays as just a fad, but fads disappear as quickly as they make their presence felt.

Remember Nike? The company started out as Blue Ribbon Sports (renamed Nike in 1973 after a Greek goddess) selling athletic shoes, way back in 1962. It was catering to a niche market because this was before we mass-adopt the fitness craze, the healthy lifestyle; before we consider shoes to be a fashion statement; before we covet them like some self-important badge of social prestige. But today, can anyone consider Nike to be a niche company? A resounding and thumping No. Nike is the leading maker of athletic shoes, equipment and apparel, and their products cover a broad range of sports including basketball, football, running and so on. Wholly-owned Nike subsidiaries include Converse Inc., which designs, markets and distributes athletic footwear, apparel and accessories; Cole Haan, which designs, markets and distributes luxury shoes, handbags, accessories and coats; Hurley International LLC, which designs, markets and distributes action sports and youth lifestyle footwear, apparel and accessories; and Umbro Ltd., a leading United Kingdom-based global football (soccer) brand. In fiscal 2008, Nike had revenues of $18.6 billion (a 14% increase from 2007) and net income of $1.9 billion. And in terms of staff strength, Nike employs over 30,000 people worldwide; in addition, to about 650,000 workers who are employed in Nike contracted factories around the globe. So, Nike is a mammoth company serving a gargantuan market – hardly what you would call a niche player! [Source: Webpage, accessed December 25, 2008].

My point is, we blog because we have a simple goal to begin with. We want to write and share our views, activities, interests, and opinions (what I call VAIO). It is our personal diary; a motley collection of our reflections, appraisals, and memories (what I call RAM).

Yes, Oon Yeoh cited some impressive statistics from Carr: 133 million blogs were identified since Technorati started indexing them in 2002. At least 94% of them have gone dormant; only 74 million blogs have any postings in the last 120 days; and get this – 1.5 million had any postings in the last 7 days. Well, listen Oon Yeoh. I am one of these 1.5 million active bloggers. And I would even argue that if the number of active bloggers has indeed massively dwindled, it can only mean that blogging has ceased to be mainstream, that blogging has reverted to becoming a niche activity. I mean, 1.5 million is just a drop in the ocean when we compare to the number of worldwide Internet users standing at 1.407 billion (according to Internet World Stats, at webpage, accessed December 25, 2008), right? Hah! So c’mon, Oon Yeoh – try and answer this!


aisha said...

The Oon Yeoh article was interesting, but I prefered Azmi Sharom's on the next page. The way that Azmi puts it, I would've never known JERIT was fighting for a milder issue than politiking.

Blogging may never encounter a mid life crisis. A blog is like a person's personal diary-how can one keep his or her nose out of someone's life? It's human nature to be curious. Haha.

Well..come to think of it. Blogging may encounter the midlife crisis when online boutiques take over-but that's already happening.

And Mr. V, you've been tagged! see here:

Victor Ong said...

The Ride for Change bicycling campaign by JERIT has been blocked, obstructed, and intimidated by the police at almost every leg of the nationwide tour. Shame on the authorities. JERIT and all Malaysians must keep on insisting for change in our country. Change is here, there is no going back!