Climbing Magazine’s pro blogs aren’t

by Tom Markiewicz on September 7, 2007

There’s a collection of what are called pro blogs on Climbing Magazine’s web site. Despite the fact that they have some great climbing names writing (Dave Graham, the late Michael Reardon, Josune Bereziartu, Ethan Pringle, and Freddie Wilkinson), the problem is that they’re not really blogs as we know them today.

Blogs are more than just personal diaries. That simple definition fell by the wayside a while ago. There are certain features that identify a blog and have made them so popular.

Without diving into technical details, lets just focus on three features a “real” blog needs to have. The first is RSS feeds. Feeds allow the reader to subscribe to the site’s content without having to return to the actual web site to check for new posts. A feed is added to a feed reader and now the news comes to you. Unfortunately, traditional media outlets don’t understand the power and popularity of feeds yet and still think all their advertising revenue is dependent on you actually visiting the web site directly. Many people have written about why this is wrong, so I’ll spare you.

Next are blog comments. Where are they on Climbing’s Pro Blogs? Engage the rest of us in the conversation with these pros. This is the most compelling reason to have a blog. Enable readers to become a part of the conversation by sharing their related thoughts on the subject at hand.

Instead of a comment form at the end of a post, we’re treated with a garish ad to subscribe to the mag:

Finally, how about some trackbacks. A usually unnoticed feature, trackbacks essentially let blogs automatically communicate with each other providing links that track back to the post where a mention of the article was made. Again, this functionality fosters more traffic to the blog and helps establish a community.

Don’t get me wrong. The content from these climbers is great. Unfortunately, I’m not going to visit Climbing daily to see if there’s anything new from them.

It’s easy to add these features and make some real blogs. Come on Climbing, help us out here before you become irrelevant in this age of new media.

Technically, these are all easy features to add. What is Climbing afraid of? I welcome comments on this – what does everyone think?

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