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Is blogging dead or is it just adapting itself to changing times?

Is blogging dead or is it just adapting itself to changing times?

It was the Merriam-Webster dictionary's word of the year in 2004 and only seven years later, some are saying that it is already dying...

Blog: what is the future of blogging?

In an interesting article on Gigaom, Mathew Ingram commented on a story appeared that on the New York Times and claimed that "Blogs wane as the young drift to sites like Twitter".

The NYT article was based on a Pew Research Center study which argued that blogging is on the decline, particularly among young people, as the usage of blogs among those aged 12 to 17 it fell by half between 2006 and 2009 and among 18-to-33-year-olds it dropped two percentage points in 2010 compared to two years earlier.

The theory put forward in the study is that blogging is being replaced by sites like Facebook or Twitter, where people could post their photos, links and share ideas more easily and more quickly.

"Blogs went largely unchallenged until Facebook reshaped consumer behaviour with its all-purpose hub for posting everything social. Twitter, which allows messages of no longer than 140 characters, also contributed to the upheaval," said the NYT, adding that "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".

Even if the NYT concedes that blogging is not declining among all age categories (among 34 to 45-year-olds blogging activity rose by six percentage points) and that some blogging services like Tumblr and WordPress seemed to avoid any decline, the theory that emerges is that blogging is dying.

Blogging is not the only thing presumed to be dying, as "the web is dead" by Wired magazine last year.

"In many ways, this "blogging is dying" theory is similar s to the "web is dead" argument that Wired magazine tried to float last year which really was about the web evolving and expanding into different areas", argued Ingram.

In fact, blogging seems to be changing rather than dying and, as Toni Schneider of Automattic, the company that commercializes the WordPress blogging software, noted in the NYT piece, it has just evolved into more of a continuum of publishing.

A lot of young people - the NYT story pointed out - are still blogging via the Tumblr platform even though they may not think of it as "blogging."

Indeed, the original idea of blogs - being able to publish personal views or aggregating content around a theme, getting outside from the traditional and mainstream news channels - is not so far away from the one of social networks. And even if it's true that blogs allow to publish more long and deep posts, it's also true that also Facebook allows users to publish notes, where thoughts are not constricted by a limited number of characters.

What Tumblr permits is the same real-time sharing that social media allows, with the possibility to re-blog posts, like re-tweeting on Twitter, and the result is a combination of multiple formats.

Ingram concluded by saying that the fact that there are so many different choices means there is even more opportunity for people to find a publishing method they like. So while "blogging" may be on the decline, personal publishing has arguably never been healthier.

Sites like The Huffington Post started as simple blogs and became giant news websites (as AOL acquired it for $ 315 millions) but they still rely on an incredibly large community of bloggers.

Can we simply conclude that in this era of swift technological progress, things evolve more rapidly than we might realise?

Sources: Gigaom, New York Times
Image source: © 2005 Alex Gregory-cartoonbank.com via Bloomberg Businessweek



Federica Cherubini


2011-02-23 14:11

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