I’ve been reading all of the responses to Jeremiah Owyang’s controversial “End of an Era: The Golden Age of Tech Blogging is Over" post. Quite frankly, I’m surprised that this post has gotten as much attention as it has.
Sarah Lacy came back with a Techmeme headline-worthy response, which covered a lot of great points not addressed in Jeremiah’s post.
Was tech blogging really in a golden age to begin with? That alone hasn’t been questioned or addressed enough in the responses. Sarah’s post mentions reader blogs, a focus on UI and quality reporting living on despite short attention spans.
That’s incredibly exciting stuff — a mix of creativity, design and great writing, and I wouldn’t necessarily say the “Golden Age” nailed all three of those areas.
Regarding turnover, I strongly disagree that high turnover was a leading trend in the “end of this era.” In fact, I view turnover in the tech blogging space as a major positive and a contributor to growth in the space.
Turnover in any industry is to be expected, and we should view writers moving to new blogs or outlets as positive moves that will empower them to focus on the topics they cover best (or want to cover). Reporting quality is also enhanced as writers familiarize themselves in new newsrooms and work with new editors.
Turnover opens the door for some new writers to emerge as influential voices on established platforms. High turnover does not always correlate with ending eras, no matter how dramatic things can get (TechCrunch, for example).
Frankly, I’m baffled by the last part of Jeremiah’s fourth point with Chris Heuer’s quote, referencing Michael Arrington’s departure from TechCrunch.
I heard from father of the Social Media Club, Chris Heuer who told me that “Blogging, and Social Media broadly, is past adolescence and into young adulthood, maybe even getting ready to go off to college. Going by our early measure of where are we compared to the dotcom era, I’d say we are about 2000, but without the irrational exuberance.” I agree with Chris and to illustrate this point, I’ve noticed that long gone is the scrappy new media entrepreneurs like Arrington who built a decent sized empire, cashed out, and moved on to to a traditional industry like venture capital.
Unlike Owyang, I consider TechCrunch to be a major empire. And while Mike did eventually make his way into venture capital, I wouldn’t assume that Mike never wanted to get TechCrunch back. I’m disappointed that Jeremiah would try to simplify something that was much more than “build it, sell it and get into something else” mindset. TechCrunch clearly meant a lot to him.
All in all, the “Golden Age of Blogging” is not over and the future is very bright. Let me finish by saying that I have tremendous respect for Jeremiah as an industry analyst. But he missed the mark here pretty bad, and the responses from readers reflect that.