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If blogging is dead, then it’s living a healthy afterlife

By MATT SCHULER, Digital Architect, Marx Layne

As long as people enjoy writing more than a few sentences at a time, blogging will never die.

I’d contend that if blogging is dead, as this New York Times article suggests, then it’s living a healthy afterlife.

NYT’s Verne Kopytoff writes, “Blogs were once the outlet of choice for people who wanted to express themselves online. But with the rise of sites like Facebook and Twitter, they are losing their allure for many people — particularly the younger generation.”

I’m fully ready to admit that sites like Facebook and Twitter are immensely popular. They offer fantastic services, but there’s a limit on consciousness at each.  Twitter’s limit is 140 characters, while Facebook’s status updates limit you to 420 characters.

If I want to share something that’s more substantial, like for instance this very post, I have to look beyond Facebook and Twitter.  When I’m done writing, I’ll certainly post a link on each network and will probably try to get linked to the stories on Techmeme.

The tech world had the blogging is dead conversation less than two months ago with a flurry of posts on Techmeme. Look at how Anil Dash chimed in with “If you didn’t blog it, it didn’t happen,” which was itself a response to Clive Thompson’s Wired article suggesting “Tweets and Texts Nurture In-Depth Analysis.”

“I save the little stuff for Twitter and blog only when I have something big to say,” Thompson quotes Dash as saying.  Then Thompson sites another piece of research, a survey saying, “the most popular blog posts today are the longest ones, 1,600 words on average.”

There’s also the news from WordPress that it had over 6 million new blogs in 2010 with pageviews up 53%.

At the heart of the New York Times article is the suggestion that Facebook and Twitter are monopolizing the time that used to be dedicated to writing.  Kopytoff also makes concessions that blogging is changing.

He cites Lee Rainie, director of the Internet and American Life Project, as saying blogging is not so much dying as shifting with the times.

“The act of telling your story and sharing part of your life with somebody is alive and well — even more so than at the dawn of blogging,” Rainie is quoted. “It’s just morphing onto other platforms.”

Then there are the numbers at the end of Kopytoff’s article, “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.”

I think it’s more proof that when you’re trying to share a message, sharing it as widely as possible is what’s important.  If you have something that can fit in 140 characters or less, share it on Twitter and Facebook.  But if you have a long, complete thought that won’t fit then write it out.  You can post the link on your social networks.

Matt Mullenweg writes similarly in his post “Blogging Drift”, in which he says “You don’t stop using the lighter method, you just complement it — different mediums afford different messages.”

Ilene Wolff asks the question “To blog or not to blog?” for PRSA Detroit.  She cites the work we do at Marx Layne to maximize exposure to our blog and drive people to our website. We use the complimenting services to shed light on what we’re writing on the Marx Layne website.

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