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Blogs: The new media or “just blogs” – a reality check

Ah London, glamorous and creative Metropolis of my dreams. How wonderful to get to visit and how honored to be able to not only visit but be a part of the buzz for two weeks during London Design Festival. Design celebrities, design professionals,  consumers, the media and thousands of bloggers descended upon the city to see, be seen and report back live with just that little thread of new content, something no one else had picked up on just yet. And, clad in designer black and head held high, I literally ran from event to party and from party to event. Taking pictures, writing notes, Veronika the reporter on the cutting edge of design world.

And then….I walked into 100% Design.

The only event event I hadn’t pre-registered for due to an oversight. That of course was no concern of mine and I walked up to the press center, handed over my business card and even had Modenus Blog open for review on my IPad, requesting press access. It always sounds just a tad condescending when British people tell you “no”. They do it ever so politely but maybe that’s why it stings a bit more and you just know there’s no point in arguing. “No, we don’t issue press passes when you’re just a blogger, terribly sorry, you’ll have to pay”. Coming from the pretty press office attendant’s cherry red lips, blogger sounded an awful lot like…beggar.

Oddly this little incident overlapped with the decision made by my Let’s Blogoff partners in crime Paul Anater and Gerard McLean to do a blogoff about the importance of blogs and bloggers. Had they mentioned that topic any sooner I would have laughed in their faces but now I was forced to take pause. Are blogs the new media or just a lot of noise? Are they, or will they ever be taken seriously as a form of communication on the level of the now ailing print media?

My answer is yes, blogs are an important form of communication. So there.

Not least of all because I have way too much time and energy invested in Modenus Blog, looking for the road less trampled, looking for new content to share with our readers and new features to launch that would offer our readers a front row seat at trade shows with instant, near real-time blogs about what we were seeing at that moment. And as bloggers we have an edge here. We’re fast and incredibly flexible. Not often are editors involved or other corporate rules to follow. We have the freedom to write about what we want, when we want and essentially in whichever tone we choose. We’re also able to talk to people, to conduct interviews in a very relaxed way which can result in a more approachable report.

Admittedly, because of the ease of setting up a blog, anyone can blog and when we look at some statistics it seems that almost everyone does. Great. So what. There will always be millions of people who write simply to get something off their chest or their thoughts onto paper, albeit digital and technically accessible by millions. Good for them. It’s therapeutic. And as digital media progresses and develops the status in media it so rightfully deserves there will be a lot of separating the wheat from the chaf, without aiming to sound too Darwinian here. Fresh, well presented content will be of the utmost importance for influential bloggers as they gradually build trust amongst their readers or viewers.

And yes, to be successful a blog has to be handled like any other business, with integrity and discipline.

So while on the surface a great medium for the “all-you-gotta-do-is-write-stuff-and-add-keywords-and-then-you-make-money-off-adwords” crowd, fact is, readers will decide who they’re loyal to and to what extend they will allow a blogger to influence them. And because blogs have a wonderful immediacy about them, that influence becomes apparent in comments on the site, in conversion statistics from click thrus the blog had recommended and even from the hopefully warm reception on those all important social media platforms. As with everything else the proof is in the pudding.

Please visit the blogs of these, very influential bloggers to get their take on this week’s question: “Are blogs as important as bloggers think they are?

Paul Anater @paul_anater Kitchen and Residential Design
Rufus Dogg @dogwalkblog DogWalkBlog
Becky Shankle @ecomod Eco-Modernism
Bob Borson @bobborson Life of an Architect
Sean Lintow, Sr. @SLSconstruction SLS-Construction.com
Saxon Henry @saxonhenry Roaming by Design
Betsy De Maio @egrgirl Egrgirl’s Blog
  • http://www.dogwalkblog.com DogWalkBlog

    Wow, the title of the first draft of my #letsblogoff was “Blogs matter until you ask to get press credentials” but I could not get past escalating into a very loud rant about the snobbery of old media. You did a much better job than I did. It could be the British thing you have going :-)

    The same attitude leaks out everywhere in business. I look around my office and think I don’t need any of this. All I really need is a laptop and Internet. But then I go out into the real world of bankers, lawyers and *gasp* clients who expect that I have real phone lines, a real mailing address different from my home or a PO Box, a conference room when they want to meet and I sigh and sign the checks.

    I suppose a lobby and receptionist is still that long bridge across the very wide chasm of hobby biz and real company. Same with bloggers and publishers.

  • http://roamingbydesign.com Saxon Henry

    Great post, V! I think this is going to continue to shake down as the traditional media begins to change. We’re all here to stay and because we are taking the time to write well, do our research and build a following, we’ll be writing great posts when those nitwits with the cherry red lips are waiting tables in McDonald’s because they’re too dumb to do anything else. Loved being in London with you for part of the insanity (and you saw that my press pass didn’t do us much better in one dumber-than-dumb situation!)…

  • http://www.eco-modernism.com Becky / @ecomod

    Ouch, 100% Design! Bloggers are gaining credibility & encroaching on traditional media for sure. But like a flea market, those diamonds in the rough aren’t always obvious. Ironically, the good ones can find their audience more quickly, but to stay at the top of the heap you have to work faster at providing consumable content. It’s crazy, I tell you!

  • http://urbanverse.posterous.com Cindy Frewen Wuellner

    Veronika, just read an article about noise versus signal. http://bit.ly/btq7Pz Granted, he used the Sorcerers Apprentice in the blog post… for me, an immediate attraction. It made me think: one persons noise is another one’s signal. heh.

    I am thoroughly enjoying our vicarious trip through london. and now yr making me hungry… Cindy @urbanverse

  • http://www.thoughtfulcontent.org Denese Bottrell

    I’ve always had a hard time with get-rich-quick mentality. I love that blogging rewards “integrity and discipline” and naturally weeds out the fake-jakes… Anything that encourages people to find their own voice is worthwhile and important in my book. Thanks for providing the LetsBlogOff platform. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it and have learned so much. Enjoy London.

  • http://sarabaldwindesign.blogspot.com Sara Baldwin

    I love the search for the “road less trampled”!!! Keep on with the hiking.

  • Carolina Gomez-Aubert

    It was interesting to see at 100% Design how the section between bloggers and traditional media was divided (it was a very cool division I might add) but the buzz and sense of community on the ‘bloggers side’ was incredible. We sat/ stood in a circe-like shape discussing design, writing tips, photgrpahing tips, random facts and getting to know each other. Whilst others sat on a long table writing their posts sharing custard cream biscuits. On the ‘traditional media’ side a corner full of press packs that looked uncared for with a few dotted sofas & chairs. Some were on their phones, whilst others sat individually in front of their computers. I could see a tumble weed rolling in…

 

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