Jason Kotte, a pretty big name in the technology world, posted an attention-getting piece at the Neiman Journalism Lab website three weeks ago arguing the opinion I have expressed here a couple of times in recent months, essentially that blogs as we know them are yesterday’s news:
Sometime in the past few years, the blog died. In 2014, people will finally notice. Sure, blogs still exist, many of them are excellent, and they will go on existing and being excellent for many years to come. But the function of the blog, the nebulous informational task we all agreed the blog was fulfilling for the past decade, is increasingly being handled by a growing number of disparate media forms that are blog-like but also decidedly not blogs.
Instead of blogging, people are posting to Tumblr, tweeting, pinning things to their board, posting to Reddit, Snapchatting, updating Facebook statuses, Instagramming, and publishing on Medium. In 1997, wired teens created online diaries, and in 2004 the blog was king. Today, teens are about as likely to start a blog (over Instagramming or Snapchatting) as they are to buy a music CD. Blogs are for 40-somethings with kids.
Two weeks ago, he expanded his thoughts and walked things back a bit:
I am not generally a bomb-thrower, but I wrote this piece in a deliberately provocative way. Blogs obviously aren’t dead and I acknowledged that much right from the title. I (obviously) think there’s a lot of value in the blog format, even apart from its massive influence on online media in general, but as someone who’s been doing it since 1998 and still does it every day, it’s difficult to ignore the blog’s diminished place in our informational diet.
Through various blogrolls (remember those?) and RSS readers, I used to keep up with hundreds of blogs every day and over a thousand every week. Now I read just two blogs daily: Daring Fireball and Waxy. I check my RSS reader only occasionally, and sometimes not for weeks. I rely mainly on Twitter, Facebook, Digg, Hacker News, and Stellar for keeping up with news and information…that’s where most of the people I know do their “blogging”. I still read lots of blog posts, but only when they’re interesting enough to pop up on the collective radar of those I follow…and increasingly those posts are on Medium, Facebook, or Tumblr.
Obviously, I agree with all that in general but would argue that blogs, especially personal ones, were broadly perceived more often as opinion venues rather than informational ones.
I’ve decided to reinvest my time and energy in blogging. Actually, I did that early last month even as I was proclaimed the death of the form.
Contrarians are us.
Not really. Well, not entirely anyway. When I shut down my second blog, it of many names and many guises, and decided that, for better or worse, I would make Liquid Diet my sole internet home, I figured I might as well give it a solid re-launch with more and more regular posting. The results have surprised me a bit. We have returned to roughly 80% of the daily traffic enjoyed here at the peak of popularity a few years back and yesterday said traffic was at the second highest level in the complete run since I moved things to WordPress (“moved” in the sense that I began using WordPress software and programming; we are still self-hosted).
And by the way, that line about “Blogs are for 40-somethings with kids” apparently is even truer for Facebook:
Social notworking site Facebook is losing the hearts and minds of the young, according to new figures.
Professor Daniel Miller of University College London, an anthropologist who worked on the research, wrote in an article for academic news website The Conversation that his study of how teenagers use social media has found that Facebook is “not just on the slide, it is basically dead and buried”.
He said that Facebook is morphing into a tool for keeping in touch with older family members and younger people see Facebook as ‘uncool’….Miller said that most teens feel embarrassed even to be associated with it.
This year marked the start of what looks likely to be a sustained decline of what had been the most pervasive of all social networking sites.
Check out your Book of Face feeds and all those messages from all those “friends” you have, some of whom you might even know. Chances are you will see the truth in what is said above.
Listen, every post I put up here immediately goes to Facebook and Twitter and I post on the form with regularity even though I detest with a passion the amount of control one has to turn over to social media entities in order to use them. Such services are a also good source for bringing readers new and old to these parts, although direct visits(most of them bookmarked, I’d guess) and references from other blogs are still the most regular feeds. Reddit was the primary input for yesterday’s near record number of visits and I’d never seen that before, so all this stuff is just a crap shoot of sorts anyway in terms of building an audience.
My point? Decided to become an active blogger seems to be right for me. Then again, long, self-serving posts like this one could leave me a stranger and afraid a world I
never definitely made.