Death of the Blog?

In a discussion with my supervisor, I recently stated my opinion that blogs are on the way out due to preferred brevity on sites like Twitter and Facebook. Glad the New York Times is actually validating one of my predictions. Now, if Texas becomes its own country and Andy Dick wins an Oscar within the next 25 years, I’ll become a bona fide Nostradamus.

Also noteworthy is that I’m communicating about the "death of blogs" on our own blog, so I’m either very ironic or not super attentive to details. Likely some of both, I suppose:

Blogs were once the outlet of choice for people who wanted to express themselves online. But with the rise of sites like Facebook and Twitter, they are losing their allure for many people — particularly the younger generation.

The Internet and American Life Project at the Pew Research Center found that from 2006 to 2009, blogging among children ages 12 to 17 fell by half; now 14 percent of children those ages who use the Internet have blogs. Among 18-to-33-year-olds, the project said in a report last year, blogging dropped two percentage points in 2010 from two years earlier.

Former bloggers said they were too busy to write lengthy posts and were uninspired by a lack of readers. Others said they had no interest in creating a blog because social networking did a good enough job keeping them in touch with friends and family.

Blogging started its rapid ascension about 10 years ago as services like Blogger and LiveJournal became popular. So many people began blogging — to share dieting stories, rant about politics and celebrate their love of cats — that Merriam-Webster declared “blog” the word of the year in 2004.

Defining a blog is difficult, but most people think it is a Web site on which people publish periodic entries in reverse chronological order and allow readers to leave comments.

Yet for many Internet users, blogging is defined more by a personal and opinionated writing style. A number of news and commentary sites started as blogs before growing into mini-media empires, like The Huffington Post or Silicon Alley Insider, that are virtually indistinguishable from more traditional news sources.

Blogs went largely unchallenged until Facebook reshaped consumer behavior with its all-purpose hub for posting everything social. Twitter, which allows messages of no longer than 140 characters, also contributed to the upheaval.

2 thoughts on “Death of the Blog?

  1. I believe, like many things blogs will settle into an appropriate place in society’s collection of communication devices. The silly stuff with fade away and the relevant applications will stick.

    In business (after all, this is the Chamber blog), I think for many businesses it continues to have a good fit.

    – Blogs are a good length to communicate business value – more than a tweet, less than a white paper.
    – Blogs encourage participation from a broad range of employees that can communicate value from a variety of perspectives.
    – Blogs are relatively easy to produce which means fresh content on your website which drive healthy search engine traffic.
    – Blogs can be re-purposed into other content. We have distributed hundreds of “blog books” – collections of our best blogs.
    – Most important, blogs showcase a company’s passion for what they do. When people glance at the blogs on our company’s website, I want them to say, “these guys know their stuff and they are passionate about what they do.”

    Who knows what will come next. For now, however I think blogs are a valuable communication device that many businesses can leverage.

  2. Patrick, good thoughts here. Thanks.

    I definitely think the Chamber will maintain a blog for quite some time. Even if it gets to the point where it’s not a direct destination for readers, it can serve as a clipboard of sorts for us to post our opinions and link to from Facebook or Twitter. Especially since some of our key positions are too nuanced to articulate in 140 characters, it will be a way for us to further explain our views on legislation.

    From the feedback I get, I think a problem most businesses have is developing content — or at least getting contributions from a variety of staffers. It really takes a focused and persistent communication effort to make that happen.

    You’re right on the SEO aspect of it. But sometimes I wonder if it’s not more beneficial for those businesses just to focus on building a strong web site.

    I do think blogs are most effective for businesses who really have — or are looking to create their own — niche in a particular industry. If they’re doing something totally different, they can try to use a blog to become an archetype in their field, for sure.

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