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Climbing Magazine’s pro blogs aren’t

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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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6 Comments

  1. I’m really glad that you brought this up as I have had the same thoughts and frustrations.

    One thing you didn’t mention was the fact that blogs are something that have updated content on a regular basis. With both the climbing.com pro blogs and the bouldering.com pro blogs, the updates are few and far between. In the case of the bouldering.com blogs they had sparse updates for a month or two and then the updates stopped coming.

    As for RSS feeds. In this day and age of having dozens upon dozens of sites to get information from, not having an RSS feed is a HUGE negative. Climbing.com has one for their news feed but not for their “blogs”? It is much much more convenient to receive updates from many sites in one consolidated place like an RSS reader and the sooner that sites realize that this will actually drive more readers to their actual sites the better.

    The “garish ad” that you refer to regularly interferes with content on the rest of climbing’s website as well.

  2. honestly you guys, I think the major issue here is that most “non techy” people don’t really know what a blog is. I hear people refer to message boards as blogs all the time. Maybe some one needs to put on a blog education workshop for the entire outdoor industry.

    As for this particular case, I used to work at the mag and am good friends with the webmaster. I just sent him this post, hopefully that’ll get them on track.

  3. Glad we can comment here!

    Many industries haven’t figured out how to leverage most of the internet, instead they use it more as one big advertising strip with no content. Not saying that’s what they’re doing with the blogs, just that it seems to be the primary trend.

    With the previous poster’s comments, maybe something will come of this post and more interactive features will be made available.

    Thanks for the site. I’ve been reading with great interest as I resume my climbing!

  4. I kinda agree with splitter chaos. Don’t assume people know RSS, have figured out trackbacks etc … And isn’t it our job (techies’) to make this technology more accessible to them? My experience with Peakr was a very sobering one: most climbers have no clue about technology in general, even less about these newfangled 2.0 things.

    While in other activities the audience and the industry are steadily climbing the diffusion curve, the outdoor industry steadfastly remains lagging. I’ve encountered *very* few tech early adopters who are climbers …

  5. blogging. everyone wants to do it, but few have figured out how to stay interesting and relevant.

    the big challenge with these pro blogs is that it isn’t enough to just be a pro climber with a recognizable name. you also have to have something to say.

    the rss feeds and commenting tools are, of course, important. but if folks had compelling content without those tools, they’d likely do ok as well.