Is Seth Godin wrong about the “shipping” strategy?

Interesting blog post from Seth Godin today on an initiative being led by Winnie Kao who has been leading “special projects” in his office. This involves the creation of a community to foster daily “shipping” – or the posting of a blog post everyday.

As a very occasional blogger this approach intrigues me, however, the term “shipping” fills me with dread. I am increasingly concerned at the commoditisation of journalistic writing and commentary. The “post every day” imperative is a wonderful discipline, unless it results in a prioritisation of quantity over quality, which is a big risk.

Whilst there is (still) a fairly clear demarcation between the paid professional known as the journalist and the expert or professional pundit known as the blogger, and BOTH are very valuable, there seems to me to be equally clearly a merging of the lines between them.

It is at this confluence that I get worried when I see bloggers being encouraged to “ship” articles as though they were boxes of goods on the Amazon shelf.

I subscribe to Seth Godin’s relentless daily blog and I love it. I scan them daily, I take note of perhaps one in every four or five, the others I discard. Not sure if he would be happy with that, but there you go.

Compare this with columnists at the leading media brands such as the FT and the Times. I follow my favourite journalists through a wonderful web site called Journalisted.com which tracks bylines, and many online media also offer their own author alerts.

One of my favourites at the moment is the FT’s Emma De Vita. She posts an article two or three times a week. I make a point of reading all of them, beginning to end, because she writes on management topics which I find interesting.

Many people would deride me for comparing Seth Godin and Emma de Vita, not least the individuals themselves.

And yet both arrive in my inbox on a regular basis delivering content on business and management topics.

Are they really so different? Does it matter if bloggers are pushing themselves to write on a daily basis about something even if they don’t have anything to say? After all, this is how the best writers have created disciplined habits which deliver outstanding output: by writing every day. What is so wrong with that?

I worry about this because I don’t know if quality is slipping as a result of the emphasis on quantity, or whether the good stuff is still getting through.

Tell me, should I stop worrying about “shipping”?

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