Has Blogging Entered its Twilight?


The answer is no, absolutely not.  But I’ll get back to that in a moment.

The blogging is dead meme has been around for a few years (I first read about blogging’s demise at ReadWriteWeb in 2007).  So it isn’t a surprise that the New York Times recently tackled the issue and declared:

“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.”

Let’s forget for a moment that the Times makes such a declaration despite publishing more than 50 blogs or that the Huffington Post (one of the world’s most popular blogs) recently sold to AOL for $315 million (more than 60 times the amount Bloomberg paid for Businessweek).  The Times points to some compelling evidence by the Pew Internet & American Research Project:

  • From 2006 to 2009 blogging among those 12 to 17 years old decreased by 50 percent
  • Only 14 percent of teenagers now have blogs
  • Blogging has also dropped slightly among those 18 to 33 years old (about 2 percent points)

Why are young people turning away from blogging?

Because there are now faster, easier and more networked technologies available.  Open a blog and a writer has to push out the content.  The fear among all bloggers is that their content will sit in cyberspace as tumbleweeds blow across it.  The Internet can be a lonely place.

So for young people – especially those looking to find their voice – writing content on Facebook, Twitter or on a lifestream like Tumblr gives them access to a built in audience: their friends, colleagues, fellow students and family.  The content simply appears on their friends’ news feeds rather than making their audience actually visit their blog.

And, as I’ve noted many times before, blogging is hard work.  Writing cohesive, thoughtful posts takes effort – much more effort than 140-character tweets on Twitter.  And, heck, does anybody (other than your mom or English teacher) care about misspellings on a Facebook status update?

So, yes, blogging is dead for children.  But the real story isn’t that teenagers have abandoned blogging.

The real story is that blogging has been fully integrated into the mainstream media.  Blogging is now a legitimate platform for journalists to practice their craft.  That’s why few newspapers, publications and broadcast outlets don’t publish them.  Blogs have become the fuel for online news coverage.  Blogs are where breaking news get broken (Okay, I’ll admit that Twitter might get the headline first, but blogs are where you get the full stories first).

Blogs are the media.

They are also where more and more companies are announcing their news first.  Blogs are where passionate experts (who we now call “influencers”) write about their passions from food lovers and coupon mavens to sports fanatics and technology lovers.

So blogs aren’t dead.  They are everywhere.  So ubiquitous to the way we discover information online that we don’t even notice them anymore.

Links:

ReadWriteWeb: Is Blogging Dead?

New York Times: Blogs Wane as the Young Drift to Sites like Twitter

New York Times blog directory

Blogging Now Part of Journalism

Guess What? Blogging is Hard Work

Photo by Randy Landicho (via Flickr)

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Tweets that mention Has Blogging Entered its Twilight? « HighTalk -- Topsy.com - February 22, 2011

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Steve Farnsworth, Kathryn Siranosian. Kathryn Siranosian said: Blogs=the media RT @HighTalk: The idea that blogging has entered its twilight is just plain wrong: http://bit.ly/htEUF3 #imuberbusy […]

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