The blog, as we knew it, is dying

From an excellent New York piece on Nick Denton, Gawker Media, and journalism’s future:

“At the time of his public posturing, however, Denton was conceiving a comprehensive redesign of his blog network that signalled his steady march toward mainstream respectability. Gawker recently published a series of Fall Previews of books, music, television, and movies, such as you might find in your weekend Arts & Leisure section. The redesign, he told me, would “probably be seen as the end of the blog.” It was, in a way, the inevitable result of his original insight about transparency and objectivity. The problem with publishing some stories that are two thousand times as important as others is that it no longer makes sense to display them in reverse chronological order. His sites will soon abandon the scrolling layout in favor of a more conventional front page that is dominated by images and headlines. The only difference is that his story placement will be determined by algorithm—and that his standards are defiantly low-brow.”

Reverse-chronological. River of news. Call it what you will. It’s dying.

  • Anonymous

    Interesting, but puzzled as to why you conclude that “the blog as we knew it is dying”. Blogs and blogging are not defined by the business needs or designs of commercial news sites. Such sites, including those that grew out of the original blogging milieu, are a sub-set within the world of blogging, a very small sub-set. The majority of blog feeds in my reader are from the personal sites of individuals who have knowledge or expertise in a particular field (and frankly, I find them most of them more rewarding and of more value than the average news site). For such sites the most-recent-first chronological ordering is merely a default view that makes a lot of sense for the average weblog operator who posts the occasional item. If the view doesn’t suit, pick another one. If blogging apps wish to offer templates designed with more features to facilitate viewing by popularity rather than viewing by chronological order, then that is a trivial thing to implement, both for programmers and designers. Hardly a revolutionary change or the end of all we have known.

  • http://twitter.com/lukasb Lukas

    Denton’s blogs really perfected the mass-produced commercial blog entry, interesting that they are among the first to move away from it.

    I’ve been hoping for a while that feed readers and the like would help writers and publishers realize that in an era of infinite accessible content, quality and signal-to-noise are the keys to long-term success. If you’re bored at work with a web browser in 2002, frequently updated sites like Gawker offer a good chance of distraction. The quality of the individual posts is secondary. In 2010, you have multiple feeds to get content from. If Gawker wants to be read, it has to offer content good enough to get into Twitter and Facebook feeds.

  • http://twitter.com/graemethickins GraemeThickins

    blogs are dying mainly because of Twitter and Facebook — social media has a way of making the old blog platforms look like, well, old hat… plus, newer, nimbler blogging tools like Tumblr (esp) and Posterous are on a tear

    remind me to kill my Typepad blog and start over

  • http://www.technovia.co.uk Ian Betteridge

    Well, I don’t think *blogs* as such are dying. Just blogging as we knew it. And yes, that’s down to Twitter and Facebook ultimately.