Sunday, November 30, 2014

Is Blogging Dead?

There's a great article over on ProBlogger, by guest author Steff Green, titled Is Blogging Dead?

Subscriber numbers are down. Younger people aren't starting new blogs. The action has moved to other social media platforms accessed by smartphones and it's all about shorter, punchier messages than the average blog post.

I expect all of my watery blogger friends have seen the same trends.

Is it time to recognize the inevitable and organize the wildest funeral party ever to bury all our blogs?


I confess I didn't tell you the whole truth.

OK. I lied.

The full title of Steff's blog post is actually Is Blogging Dead? How Blogs are changing and How You Can Stay on Top.

Steff is full of ideas on how to respond to the trends in the blogging world, with suggestions on how to take advantage of the swing to social media, rethink where the conversations about your blog posts will be happening, and make money from your blog in this new world.

Whether you are a blogger or a reader or both, tell me, do you think blogging is dead?

Or, if you think the patient may still be breathing, then what do bloggers need to do to resuscitate the corpse?


R W Rawles said...

Well, one idea comes to mind: I can't post photos to your blog. But I can to your FB page. And I think I'm going to!

Tillerman said...

That's a good point RW. And you can even post photos in Facebook comments, which I do quite often.

One of the suggestions in Steff's post is to move the conversation about blog posts from the comments section on the blog to Facebook.

JP said...

Blogging is definitely changing, with multiple drivers:

1) More places for people to check means time / likelihood of checking each is less

2) More places for people to post content means less likely to chose blogging. If you want photos use Instagram, if you want chat use Twitter, if you like vlogging use YouTube

3) Loss / lack of search tools. There used to be Technorati indexing blogs and Google with a dedicated search blogs option, both of which have gone. But Twitter, Instagram and YouTube have tools to search within their sites

4) Aggregation of traffic into multiple author sites and forums, specialising on a topic.

5) End of the new-tool shine. It's hard to create content year after year without repeating... so people drop out and don't get replaced as a lots been said already

Take the example of a food blogger friend of mine who doesn't have a blog. She has a *very* active Twitter feed and Instragram and guest posts to sites that aggregate bloggers on the topic of food in London. So there's no need for her to have her own dedicated blog.

But there are benefits of continuing to blog as long as it remains fun / useful. If you have a highly focussed subject to communicate to many its a good way to capture (say) an interesting expedition or far off travels. I don't like Facebook for that as I see it as being a friends and family thing rather than a publication platform.

Another plus is that if blogs are dropping out then that could be seen as an opportunity to stand out ;)

Tillerman said...

Great points JP. Your blog is one of the very few blogs that I have followed year after year after year. And I don't think it's because you are following any of the strategies that Steff is talking about. It's because you post content on a variety of mainly watery themes that interests me and entertains me. At the end of the day, content is still king.

To RW's point, I think I may have discovered a way to allow commenters to post images and videos easily in blogger comments. I'm going to experiment a bit to see how well it works. Watch this space!

JP said...

One reason I keep going is that blogging suits my style, which is text combined with graphics. Instagram like sites are primarily image focussed, Twitter's 140 chars is too short for interesting text (in particular story) and I'm not into video.

Also it helps to have total freedom - i.e no terms of reference demanding focussed stories in order to generate revenue - and then make use of it.

I'd be interested to hear how comments can be extended to photos - that would be very useful.

Bursledon Blogger said...

How does it go - the peak of over inflated expectations followed by the trough of disillusionment, the slope of enlightenment and the plateau of productivity.

Dare I say it but when blogging was new there were a lot of folks writing rubbish and lately a lot of people writing good stuff who have stopped.

So maybe it's all about settling down to a sustainable level,

I'm with JP my style is words and pictures - tweeting 140 characters doesn't do it for me but then again neither does Haiku and no more than posting a load of photo's without background and context.

I like each post to have a story, I like to write about boats, judging by the stats there are still a few folks who like to read my scribbles and I like the process of scribbling, blogger works for me.

Tillerman said...

Hmmm. I did find a few sites that explained how to modify the blogger template to allow images and videos in comments but their instructions don't seem to be consistent with my template. No idea why. Need to learn HTML and CSS and all that crap some time.

I'm with you Bursledon Blogger. Carrying on blogging fulfills the need that started me blogging in the first place - to do a bit of creative scribbling about sailing and maybe find a few people who liked to read what I scribbled. My challenge each year is how to keep it fresh, to think of changes to how I approach blogging - style, topics, emphasis, voice… whatever.

MYCSunfish Fleet said...

I think that we're seeing the evolution of the medium. At each stage of the development, some items are left behind and others take their place. Each successive wave fills a gap in the usefulness of the previous wave, but nobody has really come up with a single format that fits all situations. So that leaves us with a lot of tools in our toolboxes.

Even with all those tools, it is content that is king. If the information is something that you and your readers are interested in, the format is almost irrelevant. Topic specific blogs, such as in our case, sailing, will always have a following no matter what format comes along, because people want to know about the topic and within reason, they won’t give a hoot about what form it comes in.

Tillerman said...

Well said MYCSF. I think you are right.

It seems to me that the sailing blogging scene has settled down to a format that works for writers and readers. I suspect the demographic is quite tilted towards the older age groups. My impression is that younger people don't blog much and don't read blogs much.

For example, at Minorca Sailing this year, one of my readers was there the week before us and it seemed like he had told all the (young) instructors that I was coming and that I wrote a sailing blog. Several of the instructors asked me about it - basically in the spirit of polite conversation - but not one admitted to reading my blog.

I guess some of the bloggers I follow are quite young.

Some of the cruising bloggers - who seem to be mainly a mix of young people cruising the world before settling down and having a family and retired people cruising the world after the family have left the nest. (There are exceptions.)

And then there are the young sailors campaigning for the Olympics etc. It seems they have to have a website to keep sponsors happy but not many of them write stuff that is all that original or interesting. (There are exceptions.)

I used to follow Anna Railton's blog - a rower and cyclist who was a grad student at Cambridge. That was original and fun and often brilliant. But she doesn't post much these days.

And I guess part of the sadness I feel in the evolution of the watersports blogging scene is because of the loss of all those blogs which I used to follow and enjoy but whose authors for various reasons no longer maintain the blogs. Where are you now EVK4, O Docker, Scheherazade, Zephyr, Adam, Ant and the rest?

But it is good to see newer bloggers joining the scene. And thank god for those who have stayed the course over the years - JP, Bonnie, Joe, Tweezerman, Baydog etc.

jim katz said...

Obviously this blog is not dead, with such in-depth responses. I agree that things are changing - it is that evolution that focuses the medium. Movies didn't die when TV arrived, they changed to ways the big screen and sound are more required. AM Radio has not died in the age of other media, but is certainly focusing in on talk and news and all-night weird forums for conversation. It will be interesting to see what version of blogging rises and what falls.

Tillerman said...

Great analogies Jim.

The examples you give show that some formats actually continue to innovate and develop after they have apparently been "replaced" with the next new thing. That's what still really interests me about blogging. If it's not dead, then where is it going and how can we experiment and change and make something that's always new and fresh in content, format and style?

PeconicPuffin said...

In my neck of the seaweed readership is down about 30% from it's peak several years ago. It's all lost to Facebook, which delivers one tenth the quality at one hundredth the effort. That's market forces for you...people will consume poo if the price is right. Of course social media is also good place to promote the blog, but when I do that it feels like work. Drudgery. A fun-free zone.

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