There’s been a very interesting discussion today on a an Empire Avenue-related Facebook group. Adriel Hampton posted in the X-Bar that he was disappointed that Empire Avenue seems to be permitting “content farms”.
On Empire Avenue, the seemingly simple question “What Is A Blog?” can be anything but simple to answer and there was a spirited discussion about, well the morality of having a Tumblelog that consists of embedding videos from YouTube and adding just a one line quote from the lyrics and two tags, connected to Empire Avenue as a “blog”.
I’m a writer. For years I updated my book review blog about one or more books three to five times per week. I am very well aware of the difference in terms of time, effort and skill between researching and writing a professional quality three hundred to five hundred word blog article vs re-blogging a picture or a video that someone else has already created. And yet, I found myself arguing on behalf of folks like, well myself, who regularly “blog” twenty or thirty music videos every day. It is, I believe, a curatorial endeavor. My music tastes are a bit narrow, a bit odd and rather well-defined. I listen to select pop/rock music from the 1960′s–1980′s for the most part. And the fact is that I have through Tumblr made a few friends who share at least some of my tastes in music and tell me they enjoy having my videos in their Tumblr stream. And every day it seems, there are people who Like and Re-blog the videos that I post. It seems to me that if what I am posting is reaching out and connecting with an audience, my posts create real value in my personal social network. Which is why I don’t in any way feel that I am “cheating” on Empire Avenue.
My friend Jake, whose Tumblr curates amazing landscape photographs from all over the world pointed out that he has made real friendships through sharing amazing pictures– which he pointed out he spends a great deal of time selecting and in the cases of photographs he takes himself editing. Jake argues, and I am inclined to agree, that he does put as much time and effort into his photo blog as any of us writers do on cranking out those 300–500 word posts that many people do in fact find challenging to do more than once a day. One thing that many folks in that discussion did seem to agree on, is that Empire Avenue should regard Tumblr as another content site, like Twitter and Facebook, etc. rather than as “blogs”. As my new friend Roger Hoyt and I agreed– we’re supposed to be networking and making friends–not arguing over what a blog is. So how about a nice, non-spammy campaign to convince Dups and the EAv team to make Tumblr another top level network.
cc: @adriel @dups