Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
February 21, 2011 9:01 PM

Blogging Is Dead (Again)

Did you read the news? Blogging is dead. Mostly because young people are just not that into it.

Why go through the hassle of thinking up unique thoughts, trying to formulate them into sentences and paragraphs, and then pull it all together in a text-based Blog post? Why go through that, when you can tweet your life away in 140-characters (or less) on Twitter, update your Facebook status, shoot a quick video with your webcam and upload it to YouTube or just post whatever is going on in your life to a tumblr lifestream? In a surefire way to draw attention and traffic, The New York Times' latest piece of linkbait is an article titled, Blogs Wane as the Young Drift to Sites Like Twitter. And, of course, yours truly fell for it: hook, line and sinker...

Blogging isn't really dead.

Here's the main crux of the news item via the New York Times article: "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."

Big shocker there? Young people prefer shorter, quicker and more direct methods of communication.

So, is Blogging truly waning? Here's another tidbit from the article: "While the younger generation is losing interest in blogging, people approaching middle age and older are sticking with it. Among 34-to-45-year-olds who use the Internet, the percentage who blog increased six points, to 16 percent, in 2010 from two years earlier, the Pew survey found. Blogging by 46-to-55-year-olds increased five percentage points, to 11 percent, while blogging among 65-to-73-year-olds rose two percentage points, to 8 percent."

Blogging isn't dead. Blogging is publishing and publishing online is just beginning to evolve.

It's too bad that journalists, certain individuals and even some brands don't see/understand the value and merits of Blogging. We're not talking about a communications channel here. Blogging's true value comes from the fact that it's a publishing platform. Plain and simple. With the evolution of the software behind it, we are no longer in the world of individual online journaling, but at the beginning of a huge shift in publishing. Now, anyone, anywhere can have a thought and publish it in text, images, audio and/or video instantly and for free to the world (online, mobile and touch tablet). That's profound and that's powerful, but it's not something that's easy and that should be done by everybody.

Blogging is hard.

Blogging is hard because writing is hard. Writing is hard because finding the time to do real critical thinking and then to put those thoughts down in writing is even more complex. Reading, research, critical thinking, writing, editing and publishing isn't like posting a picture to tumblr or texting off a tweet. They're different beasts and they deserve different forms of metrics and comparison.

Make the comparisons comparable.

Blogs enjoyed huge popularity because when they were first introduced online, it was one of the few ways that an individual could publish. There were not many alternatives (like joining and sharing through an online social network). Those who weren't truly "writers" were Bloggers out of necessity. As more options came online to express ourselves that were quicker and easier than writing a Blog post, the migration by the general mass populous to those newer channels were an obvious exodus.

What's left? 

In a world on instant publishing online, Blogging is just beginning to take on its role in the pantheon of publishing. Blogging (and Bloggers) now have their own and focused audience. The fragmentation means that we can better quantify (and qualify) those who Blog (and those who read them). It's even fair game to question what, exactly, a Blog is? (i.e. is Huffington Post or TechCrunch a Blog, news outlet or publisher... or all of the above?).

I'd argue that as mature as Blogging is, it's just getting started. What would you say?

(hat-tip: Mark Evans).

By Mitch Joel