Who the Hell is Paul Boutin?

A client asked me on the phone today, “What does blog stand for?”. I let him know that it was short for web log, and evolved into the abridged blog. A few minutes after the call, I received a note from my good friend, Dr. Thomas Ho, who asked, “What's YOUR opinion of this?” and he left me a link to Paul Boutin's Wired Essay, Twitter, Flickr, Facebook Make Blogs Look So 2004.

I read the essay and was not only unimpressed, I was disappointed in Wired for even accepting this drivel as plausible. It really bothers me that someone would take their bully pulpit and write an essay – with no supporting data.

Who the hell is Paul Boutin, I wondered? Is this some kind of social media prophet? Marketing guru? Communications expert? Nope.

Paul Boutin Bio: In his words… I went to MIT. I didn't graduate. I grew up in working-class Maine, but live in upper-class San Francisco. 20 years of information technology experience and an overlapping 12 years writing for national publications. This explains everything about me you need to know.

paul boutinWow. Paul Boutin is a correspondent for the Silicon Valley gossip site Valleywag.

What's Valleywag? Ahem… it's a… blog.

I'm looking forward to the folks who own Valleywag immediately pulling the plug based on Paul's infinitely knowledgeable feedback. Paul… stick to cheesy cowboy hats, sunglasses, bracelets and gossip. And stay away from Wired, you're making them look bad.

Don't Pull the Plug on YOUR Blog

We've had an incredible problem for many years. We've had companies hiding behind witty commercials, slogans, or jingles from the consumers they served. We've never had a public medium to let companies know our opinions. We've never had a place to put our voice. Blogs have provided us with this medium.

Our voices have been so loud, recently, that companies and politicians are now listening and responding. Blogs are popping up all over the world. Companies and politicians are being held to a higher standard and required to be transparent. The world is changing. And it was our voices that did it.

The medium has evolved enough that companies are finding value in it. They are now recognizing that acquisition strategies through search engines are an incredibly inexpensive strategy. They now recognize that transparency and an ongoing conversation with clients and prospects are now effective retention tools. Companies, such as the corporate blogging application that I work for, are finally listening… and executing.

We're changing the world, but this is just the beginning. Don't listen to Paul's linkbait and pull the plug on a process that's having such an incredible impact!

Facebook and Twitter

Paul should know that we lived during a stage in the Internet where one conglomerate provided the gateway to all information – it was AOL, sometimes known as AOhelL. Facebook is the modern, social, version of AOL. Sure it has it's place. I'm on Facebook and everyone I know is.

Everyone was on AOL, too.

Someone will create something better than Facebook, I promise. I'm there now until the ‘next big thing' pops up. Facebook is an evolution, not a destination, of technology. Just as MySpace before it, Facebook, too, shall pass.

Twitter is a fantastic medium as well. I love twitter and have for quite a while. It's a unique medium with tons of potential. I don't think we're at the half-way mark of how it can be fully utilized. Twitter is a medium, though, nothing more.

The king and queen of the Internet are still Search and Email. Both of these technologies are a decade old and have an unlimited future. Blogging takes advantage of Search and is a communication medium that's non-intrusive like Email. It's an incredible medium and one that is still evolving.

Ask me what I think you'll be doing in 5 years – Search, Blogging and Email will still be on the list. Facebook and Twitter won't be.


  1. 1

    I couldn’t agree with you more Doug! After reading his article it seems he is bitter because he can’t write a blog well enough to get any ranking. Maybe he should pay more attention to what he is writing instead of whining that he can’t get ranked and therefore blogging isn’t worth it.

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    Hey Doug – I read the Wired essay today, it was featured in one of the Smart Brief daily email newsletters I receive. When I read it, I immediately thought of you and knew you’d be all over it! Sure enough, I was right. And so are you.

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    “The time it takes to craft sharp, witty blog prose is better spent expressing yourself on Flickr, Facebook, or Twitter.”

    Suuuuure, let’s discourage traditional writing – because who needs THAT anymore? Granted, I have seen people do some pretty impressive things in 140 characters or less, but how could that ever substitute for the freedom of expression people have in publishing their blogs?

    In any case, seems a little hypocritical for Wired to publish this when they recently feature Julia Allison on the cover, applauding her rise to D-list status by blogging. Go figure!

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    I haven’t read the article, but fact of the matter is blogs are for old people like me that used to read newspapers. Today’s tweens and teens text each other. They don’t read long blog posts (I don’t have hard data to back that up, that’s just my take on it). When these tweens and teens are 20 somethings and 30 somethings, they are still going to have their text messaging habits with them.

    Don’t get me wrong, blogs won’t go away, just like TV didn’t replace radio. Remember when videos were going to wipe out movie theaters? That didn’t happen either.

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    It depends on the definition of ‘replace.’ The internet has replaced 99% of my TV watching to where I don’t even sit down to watch the Daily Show any more; I just turn up the volume while work on my blog. If I really want to see something, I Netflix, go to the corporate site (think Heroes), or just buy the DVD. Television, radio, and a great deal of the internet are full of commercials that I have become very at ignoring. So good, in fact, that I won’t watch most television just to avoid the advertising. It doesn’t make sense to me because I only buy highly rated films and video games, don’t use eye drops, and don’t care about how soft my toilet paper is versus those stupid Charmin bears. The reality, is that if a commercial is not independently entertaining from the broadcast it is attached to, and also attached to a good broadcast, it is fundamentally annoying. As for Wired, who still reads magazines? There is nothing they can do for me that the internet can’t do without a hundred pages of ads.

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    I’d say I agree that Facebook is equivalent to what AOL was 7 years ago and likewise that Facebook will go the way of AOL as soon as someone designs something better. Like broadband did to AOL, interactive mediums will do to Facebook.

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    Wow. I love the passion in the comments.

    Blogging has many benefits over other social media tools – e.g., the creative art of writing, the intentional study of subject (and attempt to convey the subject to your audience), the marketing benefits of the art (e.g., search optimization, expertise, connection with a market)…

    Keep up the fight Doug.


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