Is blogging dead?
December 20, 2010 Leave a comment
Much like the old adage about not asking a woman if she’s pregnant until you actually see a baby coming out of her, I’m hesitant to pronounce anything dead until I see its cold dead body. But blogging has certainly changed. Some might say it’s evolved, others say it degenerated.
When I started my first blog, Digital Me (alas it’s gone now), back in 2003 the word was not very widely known. It didn’t really come into fashion until the 2004 presidential election when bloggers were scooping news stories and every unemployed 20-something with a laptop was declaring themselves a blogger. At that time Old Media was rushing to denounce the new technology as the end of journalism. The end of the days where reporters were credible, where stories were researched and where news came to you once a day, printed on paper and rolled up at the end of your driveway.
More and more blogs started cropping up covering any topic you can imagine. Some are professionally written (The Huffington Post, Gawker, TechCrunch, Mashable, Boing Boing) but most blogs are just an evolution of the online diary/journal – covering the daily exploits of the author. That’s what mine was. Up until I joined Facebook.
Facebook made sharing so much easier. When inspiration struck I would copy the URL and post it to Facebook (and now I have a “share on Facebook” button and there are “Like” buttons everywhere). And sometimes I would write up a little about it and post it to the blog. Simply put, I got lazy.
And a lot of other people got lazy too. Pew Internet reports that blogging by teenagers has fallen by half since 2006, and even young adults are moving away from blogs too. According to Wired “Only half as many online teens work on their own blog as did in 2006, and Millennial generation adults ages 18 to 33 have also seen a modest decline.”
People are finding it much easier to post a link and a sentence rather than write out a whole blog entry. And who can blame them? We are living in an ADD culture. Everyone just wants a bite-sized nugget of information rather than a whole article (here is a link I posted a few weeks about this very topic).
So blogging hasn’t really “died” – it’s just moved. To Facebook. To Twitter. To Tumblr. To places where you only need to have an opinion (“I like this” or “this is funny”) and where you don’t need to worry about formatting, writing complete sentences or embedding links and pictures to enrich the experience. Need more proof? Tumblr just raised $30 million in additional funding and Twitter took an additional $200 million.
There will always be a need for professional journalists, those people who research stories and bring us the facts. And blogs will be where those people bring us the news. So while personal blogs may be getting passed up in favor of social networks, microblogs and the rest, I don’t see blogs disappearing any time soon.
For a visual take on the evolution of blogging, check out this inforgraphic from Flowtown:
- Blogging Peaks, But Reports of Death Exaggerated (wired.com)
- Blogging Seems To Have Peaked, Says Pew Report (readwriteweb.com)
- Is Blogging a Victim of Facebook? (pochp.wordpress.com)
- Blogging Has Peaked [The Internet] (gawker.com)