26 March 2009 | Team Tamar

Adopt-a-blog #34 – Mashable

I’ve spent over 10 years working in the technology world and therefore reckon I must have shared an enormous amount of time with people partial to a bit of blogging every now and then. However, before arriving at Tamar, I don’t once recall a conversation where someone has either made reference to their penchant for blogging or wowed me with some fascinating insight that they attributed to blogging. As a virgin blogger (that’s right readers, this is my first time) it got me wondering if blogging is something that exists solely for the benefit of those in the blogging community and, if that’s the case, how the hell do these people end up in the community in the first place?

To discover more I approached a very much ‘out of the closet’ blogger that I work with and asked him to point me in the direction of a popular blog so I could immerse myself in the blogging experience and draw my own conclusions.

The site he suggested is called Mashable which, according to its tagline, is “The social media guide”. As with all tag lines, this told me nothing of any use about it. Think about L’Oreal for example, in their eyes I’d buy their product “because I’m worth it” whereas I would contest that I am more likely to not walk out in front of a bus “because I’m worth it” rather than use such a line as a justification for buying cosmetics. Anyway, back to Mashable, my first objective was simple, find out it’s raison d’être? I couldn’t. There is no snappy summary or mission statement to give me any indication as to the overall contribution it could make to improving my life. At this point my instinct was to leave and conclude that blogging ain’t for me but, in the interests of drawing a valuable conclusion, I chose to persist.

Next I wanted to know who was not only partaking but willing to put their picture up to prove it. At the time I looked (26/3/09) the front page had 14 blogs that had been contributed by a total of 6 people. Some quick investigation revealed that 5 of these people work for Mashable! Next I moved onto the top 10 most popular blogs section and soon discovered that 7 of these blogs had been written by Mashable employees as well. It was becoming apparent to me that Mashable’s raison d’être was to keep 5 or 6 people in paid work which they justified by publicly bringing their insights to each other (why they couldn’t just shout them across the office is beyond me). 

Surely there had to be more to it than this so there was no escaping it, I had to actually read a blog. I went for the middle of the road and picked the 5th Most popular blog entitled “Thanks to Mashable’s Valued Sponsors”. This didn’t help, after all how unpopular do blogs 6-10 have to be for people to prefer to read the credits? It wasn’t looking good so I went for the jugular and hit the most popular blog in a bid to gain something from the experience. It focused on the Facebook redesign and prompted many comments from other bloggers about….Twitter. At this point I lost interest but it did at least give me my conclusion.

Blogging is about offering unsolicited thoughts to the general public and, in return, the general public (who you don’t know) give you their opinions. I haven’t walked away refreshed with valuable information from my Mashable experience but it has given me an idea. I’m going to start real life blogging. The next time I’m standing in a queue I’m going to give the person in front of me my opinion on something and then offer them a comment on something else. I reckon provoking reactions lies behind the appeal of blogging and what could be more gratifying than real life reactions?

Team Tamar