Is Blogging Becoming Obsolete?

Is Blogging Becoming Like the Typewriter?

This is a question that’s actually been around for a while now. In researching this article I found articles from as early as 2004 saying that blogging was going to decline in importance. In 2006, Technorati reported that overall daily blog postings fell. Some said that blogging was a passing fad and was at the peak of its popularity. However, we still see new blogs appearing everyday and new bloggers becoming popular, here at the end of 2007. So, what’s the real deal? What should you look at and not look at to determine the health of blogosphere? And where is it headed?

Dead Blogs

Dead Blogs Tell No Tales

Many people start blogs but few really stick with it. Dead blogs, blogs where there has been no new posts for over a month, are quite common. These blogs get counted in totals and skew the statistics downward.

Why do blogs die? There are many reasons, worthy of a post by itself, but the bottom line is that if you’re serious about calculating the health of the blogosphere, you shouldn’t include them in your count. Only active blogs, which I would defined as those having at least one post or comment a month, should be counted.

Social Networking ‘Blogs’

Socializing isn’t always the same as blogging

Many “blogging is obsolete” prophets of doom also count pages on sites like MySpace and Facebook as blogs because they have a personal journal aspect and commenting. I wouldn’t count them as blogs myself though, would you? These sites really shouldn’t be considered blogs if one is serious about analyzing actual blogging.

 

 

Splogs

Arrr Matey, hand over that RSS Feed

Blogs with auto-generated content, created from stolen content, public domain or creative commons content (usually Wikipedia), or excerpted, are increasingly common. That they’re around indicates that blogging is popular. Should we count them as healthy blogs? Perhaps, at least at a “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” level.

Real Blogs / Real Niches / Real Passion

Niche blogging can be about any topic you’re passionate about

Active blogs are appearing in almost every niche on a regular basis. You can’t do a Google search without finding several on almost any given topic. While some drop out of blogging, there are always new writers to take their place. The real growth in blogging isn’t in the ‘personal journal’ area that blogging was associated with in its early days, that part may well be fading or moving to other venues. The real growth area is in a passionate author creating quality content for a niche audience.

The Future of Blogging

My take is that blogging is, in a sense, maturing and not becoming obsolete. The initial, experimental, phase of blogging ended in 2006 and now we’re in a new period where successful blogs will find niches and the bar will be raised somewhat for creating a successful blog. Writing skills will need to be better and content quality and presentation will become increasingly important. While blogs won’t become obsolete, some of the old ways of creating content and monetization will become so.

The future always looks different than we imagine

Multimedia blogging will also become more and more common. Many blogs will present audio and video content on a regular basis. Once again, content quality and a good presentation will be tantamount. Simple ‘talking head’ video won’t cut it much longer. Text presentations will need supporting images to capture user attention in most niches. Ultimately, creating content that brings in an audience will become more time consuming but the goal of connecting to that audience on a personal level won’t change that much.

What do you think should count as a real blog? Do you think that there is a transition in blogging going on right now? Are you planning to go for tighter niche content or more multimedia presentations on your blog? Leave a comment to let me hear what you think.

 


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17 Comments »

Comment by Caveman
2007-11-26 14:40:13

I think everything is always in transition. As technology advances, so do the skills to deal with that technology. Remember how websites looked back in 1994? Yuck!

Standards will continue to change as time goes on. For me personally, despite being a new blogger, my blog is of the personal nature sprinkled with “how to” articles thrown in.

At this point I’m trying to produce decent content. Perhaps eventually I’ll be able to do that along with marketing. Marketing is something I know very little about.

-Caveman

Comment by jfc
2007-11-26 16:06:25

Thanks for stopping by Caveman,

In early 1994 somebody calling me into their office to see this new thing called ‘Mosiac’. I remember thinking, “How is that clunky thing going to compete against Compu$erve?” D’oh! :)

I think there still will be room for personal blogs although I think they’ll be far surpassed by niche topic blogging in terms of popularity and money making. A lot of the personal blogging will probably move to Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and other social networking/media sites.

Marketing and monetization is going to be tricky. I’m still working on that myself on a hit and miss basis.

 
 
Comment by Carol
2007-11-27 00:38:51

I don’t think that Blogging is becoming obsolete at all. I do think that many Blogger’s are struggling with burnout especially at this busy time of year.
I think it waxes and wanes with the muse.

Comment by jfc
2007-11-27 01:18:03

Hi Carol,

Thanks for stopping by.

Blogging has changed from being predominately personal journals to being primarily a niche oriented publishing tool. Some people seem to think this indicates blogs are becoming obsolete. I think it simply means they’ve grown up.

Burnout is a common reason for dead blogs. I’ve had a few where I’ve gotten burned out with them but I’m hoping the wide open format I’m using here will keep me motivated.

 
 
Comment by Markk
2007-11-27 01:34:26

I don’t think blogging is dying - sooner or later. Like you say, it’s becoming more sophisticated because those who have got it are honing in their skills and taking blogging to the next level. There will be the stragglers and those who are feeling burnt out. It appears the day will come when, by natural process, the wheat will be separated from the chaff.
I also agree that so-called blogs at MySpace, Facebook, Friendster, etc. shouldn’t be categorized as blogs. And splogs are just splogs - scums of the blogosphere.

Comment by jfc
2007-11-27 02:06:14

Hi Markk,

I think that the barrier to entry will remain low for blogging so new people will be coming into it all the time. That’s why I don’t see a huge dropoff in people blogging although the criteria for success will probably be higher and what people tend to blog about will be more niche oriented.

 
 
Comment by RT Cunningham
2007-11-27 11:32:38

I really don’t see an end to the personal blogs. What I’m seeing is personal blogs, like mine, where certain topics are focused on that don’t completely overwhelm the personal aspect.

I don’t see an end to blogging in away, regardless of what the doomsayers are preaching. Like you said, it’s changing and I think it’s for the better.

Comment by jfc
2007-11-27 13:22:24

Hi RT,

I do think that the personal aspect will stick with blogs since that’s what sets them apart from other media. What I see leaving the scene are “What Me and My Cat Had for Supper” posts. These will end up on social networking sites.

 
 
Comment by Ivy
2007-11-27 22:02:11

Its hard to imagine that blogging will be dying out for a few reasons.

1. We are now moving into the phase of viral marketing via online marketing media. Hollywood, Record labels, and even national tourism companies are now putting their advertising dollars into viral videos instead of traditional advertising.

2. Businesses are starting to catch on that blogging can boost their traffic and sales by over 100% and more. As blogging becomes more competitive, blog owners will begin to start selling a product / service for more profitability. Problogger and Copyblogger are great examples. While they have kept their main sites free of advertising, they have branched into a variety of other online businesses selling content blogs and Teaching Sells.

3. I have mentioned in a post before that blogging will not become obsolete because internet giants are ensuring they don’t go away for their profitability. Google for one. The bulk of their income is generated from Google Adwords. They own sites like Blogger and YouTube and are aggressively buying over social communities. They have a lot invested in the business of blogging, and will keep devising new technologies / programs to keep it alive as long as they can.

Comment by jfc
2007-11-28 09:07:58

Hi Ivy,

Wow! You should have made your own post from that one. :)

Overall I think we’ll see a lot of blending between different forms of blogging and social media. As you indicated, anything that sells products well will make money.

 
 
Comment by chuck norris dude
2007-11-28 11:11:21

It’s hard to see that blogs will die anytime soon. Whatsoever, they will only grow in numbers. Everybody wants to express themselves on the blog and a big number of people really don’t care about earning some money from it.

Maybe the number of people who blog strictly for making quick money out of it will diminish, but the blogging as a whole will be here for a long time.

Comment by jfc
2007-11-28 12:40:50

Thanks Chuck,

I think that people that want to just express themselves and be social will tend to gravitate toward more immediate media, such as Twitter, Facebook or YouTube. As I mentioned, I don’t really consider them blogging.

I think the big attraction to blogging is not only in expressing yourself but in attracting an audience that listens to you expressing yourself. While this may not be for money, it will usually have some motive attached to it.

 
 
Comment by aannttiiiittnnaa
2008-04-28 14:53:31

Looks like we share an interest in DEAD BLOGS check out my dedicated site, for all the abandoned blogs that you can handle, documented using wry humour blended seamlessly with sincere sentiment. We are the self proclaimed ‘Official home of the certified dead blog’:

“BLOGS THAT DIED TOO YOUNG”
http://ontheblogheap.blogspot.com/

 
2008-08-14 22:39:12

I know I started two blogs last year and now I cannot find them. Even if I could find them, I don’t know the username and password, so they are truly dead. Maybe I could find them over at ontheblogheap? This year I am doing better. I actually know all my user names and passwords.

 
Comment by trade show booths
2008-09-10 18:51:44

hi Frank,
Saw this post title on your “random post” feature. Great title. Anyway, I sure hope blogging isn’t obsolete since I just finally convinced myself to start a blog (at least pretty soon). Leave it to me to miss the boat…
But to answer your question, yes, blogs will be obsolete when paper is obsolete. The internet is here and it will constantly change and evolve, but it is here, and it is here to stay!
~ Steve, purveyor of portable trade show booths and soon-to-be-fellow-blogger-I-think…

 
Comment by Travel Over 30s
2009-01-23 07:48:29

I hardly know anyone in REAL life who has a blog. I think blogging has a long way to go- though on the other hand its becoming more professional - less what I had for breakfast but more focussed on what he reader wants

Comment by jfc
2009-01-23 07:58:11

Hi Lissie,

You really went digging back in my archives. This one was written before I figured a few things out thanks to Vic and Griz.

Anyway, I think the “what I had for breakfast” thing has moved on to Twitter these days. It’s about 80% babble, 19% spam and 1% useful information.

 
 
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