This is the fifth part in a series about the early days of garden blogging, written to commemorate my four years as a garden blogger. For those just joining us, the the names of the respondents to my email questions, and links to their respective blogs, can be found at the end of this entry. Links to previous posts in this series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.
5. Thinking over all of the garden blogging youâ€™ve done and the garden blogs youâ€™ve read since you first started, what has changed for the better? What negatives, if any, have arisen? Do you miss anything from the â€œgood olâ€™ daysâ€ of blogging?
- [KP:] “Variety is the spice of life, and there’s certainly more variety in garden blogs than there used to be. I do like having a choice. But the flipside is, you lose the intimacy there was when just about every person blogging about gardening was reading every garden blog out there. And I really hate finding a supposed blog that is publishing content from the public domain, or other canned pablum. I haven’t found too many of them, but it really makes me gag when I do. It turns the whole idea of a blog as personal publishing on its head.”
- [JZ:] “Changed? More people, more places, more stories. The only negative I see is that there are too many garden sites. I can never read all of them!”
- [DW:] “Oh, no. I always avoid discussions of the “good old days” of anything. The truth is, there are good and bad aspects to everything. Your goal should always be to bring forward the good elements while abandoning the bad. One of the best elements of today is the sharing that goes on among blogs. Easy commenting and group blogging create an environment of sharing that benefits everyone. I love being able to pipe in on a subject I know something about by writing a comment for a blog post on your site, just as much as I love to see others comment on my posts.
More information is always good and if garden blogging can bring one more person into the world, or convince a gardener not to stop gardening, then it is well worth the effort. Gardening, like writing, can be a solitary pursuit sometimes, so it always helps to know that others are experiencing the similar problems and successes in their gardens.”
- [IL:] “I think I generally wrote better then. I had time in my life at that point. It was easier to take time surfing over the blogs that I knew and get to know the participants. Is there more to read now? It seems like it everyday (must be that exponential growth;) I do miss some of the voices that moved on and stopped blogging for whatever reasons. The negatives? Everyone will say it: comment spam. I could rant, but what use is that? I just spend inordinate amounts of time deleting the evil spammers. Not so much from my garden blog… but still. And those empty blogs-splogs or whatever they are called, that is disappointing when you hoped for a good garden blog and it is just a shell for their spam.”
- [EBD:] “There isn’t anything I miss. The only negative I can think of is the proliferation of comment spam, but Typepad makes it reasonably convenient to dispose of that.”
- [PO:] “Technical aspects are far better now — most of the sites are damn good-lookers. They are easy to read, use good navigational features, have fewer broken links and pictures that don’t load. Maybe it’s sour grapes, but I liked the good ‘ol days of ad-free blogs. So many blogs now seem intent on selling their right columns to the highest bidders. I remember those days when we were all purer and a lot poorer.”
- [MSS:] “I think everything has changed for the better. If you believe, as I do, that only about 10% of what’s produced is good, then the more people that are producing the more good things there are to read.
Currently the internet is a meritocracy; people link to the good and the good rises to the top. I worry that if the ISPs get their way in the future, our ability to reach our audience will be curtailed. What will happen when a Google search doesn’t bring people to my site anymore . . . unless I pay for the ‘privilege.’ “
- [TG:] “Again, the increased ease of blogging is a definite plus. The popularity of community sites like GardenWeb and Daves Garden have to be considered as well. My particular delight is how easy it is to house and organize pictures on the Web now. ‘Cause what’s a gardening blog without pictures of pretty flowers?
The negatives? Well, like the crude saying goes, “opinions are like a**holes – everybody has one.” You just have to take that with a grain of salt and move on. Also, I miss a couple of the people I used to read who don’t keep their garden blogs anymore. I hope they’re still gardening, even if they’re not blogging.”