Fred First, the de facto leader of Floyd County’s blogging community, is leaving the neighborhood.

No, Fred is not leaving Floyd County. Fred is leaving our web servers, where we have hosted Fragments from Floyd for the past two years. Fred moved his popular blog to our servers after outgrowing his previous home. Now he’s outgrown our home and is moving on to a new hosting location with Sean Pecor along with a new blogging platform (Blogger)

Fred’s departure comes at a time when I’m taking a second look at the whole world of blogging. Like many journalists, I’ve always been skeptical of blogs and the intentions of bloggers. Too many of them appear to be frustrated writers who use blogs to bombard the world with words and opinions that could not be published elsewhere.

I’m not including Fred in that category. He’s a good writer and his work has been widely published in other mediums.

But too many blogs, at least to me, seem to be flagrant exercises in vanity, published under the premise that someone out there will be overwhelmingly fascinated with what that blogger may have to say.

As Tuesday’s election approaches, we see a lot of focus on political blogs. As someone who has written about politics for more than four decades, I find the vast majority of political commentary on the web shallow, ill-informed, poorly-researched and just plain boring.

Too many political blogs let bias rule their writing and judgment. Too many confuse opinion with fact and, like most gossips, willingly pass on misinformation if it serves their cause.

But politics is only one part of the blogging wilderness. You have pet blogs, craft blogs, place blogs and even blog blogs. Their interests are diverse but the goal is often the same: shameless self-promotion. According to some estimates, some 55 million Americans blog on a regular basis. That’s a lot of people with something, or nothing, to say.

Many blogs feature pictures of the author (or authors). Some authors believe in quantity over quality, publishing many photos of themselves. I came across one Southwestern Virginia blog recently which featured 39 photos of the blog author in just the month of October! Vanity, thy name is blogger.

Some blogs are more than worth the time it takes to read them. Wonkette is a personal favorite, because I like their smart-ass attitude and one of their editors, Ken Layne, is an old friend. Jim Romenesko’s Media News blog over on Poynter Online is a daily stop as it his other blog, The Obscure Store. Among local blogs, Fred’s Fragments is always worth reading and are some other blogs found on The Roanoke Times blog index.

I always try to check out new photography blogs and find it incredible that some feature breathtaking photos that tell a story all by themselves but the author feels the need for a 1500-word commentary to dull the effectiveness of the image.

Blogs, we are told, are here to stay. Maybe. Maybe not. They said the same thing about Citizens Band radios.