Mogull over at Securosis has posted, “Is Twitter Making Us Dumb? Bloggers Please Come Back.” He makes great points on the usefulness of blogging (the great PCI debates are a recent occurrence of “blog debates” spilling into real life), and some of the comments make great points as well, such as how Facebook steals away some of the energy.
Behind on my rss feeds
My own observations are slightly similar, although I admit I’ve had less time these days to keep up with my rss feeds and make interesting posts here. I still troll Twitter and other places, but typically those are not necesarily surrogates to a good blog or even cross-blog discussion, and I typically can participate in Twitter without much actual commitment time and attention-wise.
Maybe we’re all just reading blogs less often, which in turn reduces the emphasis on blogs and our own opportunities to start cross-blog discussions.
One area I’ve seen grow considerably in the last couple years is discussion and participation in security conferences. Perhaps all those discussions and talks is tiring, but also serves the same purpose that blog discussions may otherwise have given. Why blog when you’re at a conference having the same discussions every 3 weeks?
Less new faces
I’ve also seen a drop-off on new blogs to follow in the security space. This may be a function of my lacking of time and energy put into reading my rss feeds, and I agree that I tend to gravitate to the same feeds over and over. This doesn’t mean security is dwindling, especially as I’ve talked to plenty of interesting people on Twitter that I didn’t know previously.
It is possible we ask a lot of new faces in security. Where, in the last 4 years, having any content on a “security” blog was enough to get you followers, today do you need to be dropping news, novel new ideas, or 0days every week? I’d hope not. We really need generic discussion as much as or more than the jaw-dropping stuff. But it’s that generic discussion that may be getting satisfied elsewhere.
Look at podcasts and conference roundtables or Twitter discussions or mailing list questions. We still have a huge capacity and energy to talking about the “generic” stuff; even stuff that has no real correct answer, but impassioned opinions on either side. It just seems to be taken to blogs less and less often.
Inherent broken records
“Cloud” notwithstanding, perhaps we just have less interesting topics to talk about. I myself am guilty of this, as I often have ideas tumbling around in my mind, but I’m well aware they’re ideas that not only have *I* had for a while now, but others have had and voiced as well. Security is not a game to win, and we’re going to have some of the same inherent deficiencies for years, decades, to come. You can really only bring them up so many times before you get sick of the obvious.
One other thing I’m guilty of: commenting vs blogging
Every time something like this comes up, I’ll have a minor discussion with myself. Do I make a long-winded comment on someone’s blog to join or initiate discussion (which maybe only he and I will see) or do I post on my blog here under the haughty assumption that my blog is worth their time to read for my viewpoint, or that they’ll even see it?) Or should I engage them more directly rather than wait for them to find my little slice of opinion? How will both of us remember to re-read the comments to see if an update has been made? (This is one reason I tend to have many web browser instances open, some are just open for me to refresh for comment responses!)
This is why I am still partial to being a forum and chat (or, in a sense, Twitter) regular. A forum is essentially a dynamic, central RSS feed of ongoing discussions and blog posts. Unlike blogs where only new topics percolate to the top, hot topics percolate to the top on a forum. And if you have one central place to go for participation, it becomes rather natural (which is also why I suggest less sub-forums).