I love my blog. I love your blog. I love blogs.
Call me old-fashioned. Loving blogs has nothing to do with me not loving the newer stuff. I love Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and other places to publish, share and connect too, but I have a soft spot for blogs. It was a punch in the gut yesterday to read this tweet from Gina Trapani: "Wow, Google Reader shutting down. It really IS the end of blogging and old school newsreaders. Watch for ‘Subscribe in Google+.’" So, am I supposed to forget about this blog and just post what I’m thinking about on Google+ or Facebook or tumblr or whatever? It got me down to find out that Google has decided to stop the service of Google Reader (you can read more about it here: Google Reader lived on borrowed time: creator Chris Wetherell reflects).
I was a die-hard user and evangelist for Google Reader. So much so, that I encouraged everyone I met to use Google Reader as a way to stay on top of the best blogs and even manage Google Alerts (if you don’t want to fill up your inbox). It is the first tab when I open my web browser (which is Google Chrome). It is filled with hundreds (maybe thousands) of blogs, websites and more that provide me with a curated view of what’s most important to me to do my job better. I haven’t looked at Google Reader in months. Maybe longer. What happened? By connecting to the right people in places like Twitter and Facebook, all of you have – essentially – become a way better engine of curation. If something is really important, you tweet it or post it on Facebook or Google+, and the information comes to me. Since I’m confessing here, email has also become a powerful way to keep me informed. I subscribe to many e-newsletters (like Mashable, MediaPost and more) that provide me with a quick glance into what’s going on. So, as much as I love Google Reader, recommend it and think it’s a great tool, I don’t really use it.
This isn’t the end of blogs.
From what I can gather, Google Reader was a very niche product. It was great for me, maybe great for you and a bunch of journalists and media folks, but the general public never latched on the the magic that is RSS. Once Mark Zuckerberg and the crew at Facebook, turned all of our individual profile pages into a newsfeed and put RSS behind the curtain, RSS disappeared out of our zeitgeist and into a line of code that social platforms use to pull information from one page of content to another. The original power of blogging wasn’t really in the ease of publishing, it was in the power to subscribe to a blog and be notified when a blogger updated their space. RSS was the next generation of newsfeed, and it was a key driver in making blogging popular and accessible. So, in one sense, Trapani is right: old school newsreaders may have been replaced by things like Flipboard and others, but this better not be the end of blogging.
Please don’t stop the blogging.
For my dollar, blogging isn’t about RSS, newsreaders or any of that stuff. Blogging is this: the ability for anybody to have a thought and publish that thought – in text (supported by images, audio, video and whatever) – instantly and for free for the world to share. My fear is that when Google Reader goes and Feedburner could be next (which has been on a deathwatch), that it diminishes the ways in which people can find, share and add to this type of content. Blogs are important. This isn’t the end of blogging. That being said, I am curious to know how people find and discover blogs? Are we truly in the day and age when if you’re not on Twitter at a specific time to see a specific tweet about a single blog post, that blogging suddenly becomes the sound of a tree falling in the forest? I hope not. In the meantime, Mashable offers this up: Check Out These Google Reader Alternatives.
What’s you take? Is this the end of blogging or is Google Reader simply not a viable business?