Social Media Requires Real People
I took a non-intended swipe at Om, Mike, and Rafat yesterday when I said:
The other thing that has changed is that many of the blogs I “grew up” with are not individual blogs anymore. Rafat has a team, Arrington has a team, Om has a team. They are much better at putting out a stream of blog posts all day long, but they aren’t the same thing as Mike and Om blogging along with me.
Om responded on his blog, writing:
Like Fred, most people presume that because I have a team, I don’t personally blog as much. Take this month, for example. So far, we have published 82 posts on GigaOM.com, of which 60 were written by me. That’s roughly 74 percent of the total posts published on my blog. It works out to about four posts a day.
Unfortunately, a blog where Om is the only person who posts is fundamentally different from a blog where Om posts 74% of the time.
I have always thought of this blog as "me". I started fredwilson.vc so it could be even more "me". It's like my facebook profile the way I want it to be instead of the way facebook wants it to be. The great thing about tumblr, where fredwilson.vc is hosted, is you can follow people. I follow 11 people on tumblr right now and 84 people are following me.
You can take a blog and make it a business, like Mike, Om, Rafat and others have done. That's a fine strategy and it's working well for them. But it stops being personal and when that happens, something is lost. We have a blog at unionsquareventures.com where I blog frequently. That's a corporate blog. I would never do all my blogging on a corporate blog. I think facebook got it right that there are personal pages and corporate pages. Like it or not, TechCrunch, GigaOm, and PaidContent are corporate pages in the facebook vernacular.
When I read Scoble, Winer, Calacanis, Jarvis, etc, etc, I am reading them. It's personal. I try to spice up my blog with posts about the concerts I go to, the vacations I go on, etc because I want this blog to be personal.
Social media allows you to have a relationship with thousands of people. Something that was not possible before it came along. Many of the relationships that have started on this blog have morphed into the real world and that is fantastic. Without this blog, that would never have happened.
My post yesterday was not a complaint that the "old guard" had been kicked off Techmeme, it was that the person centric blog was not well represented. Gabe left a comment on my blog yesterday highlighting that you can look at the techmeme leaderboard on any date you want by using the "history" drop down box on the right sidebar. Maybe somebody will do an analysis of the trends on the leaderboard. I don't have the energy to do that right now.
But regardless of whether techmeme is to blame or not, the tech blogging world has seen a move to the corporate blog. It's happened two ways. Personal blogs like Mike, Rafat, and Om have become businesses. And businesses like CNET, NYT, and many others have developed tech blogs that are now in the midst of the conversation.
The result is the tech blog world feels a lot less like Facebook than it used to. Blogging with my friends is what I want to do and maybe that's why new platforms that are inherently more social, more personal, like twitter and tumblr are exciting to me.