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The Blog is Dead; Long Live the Blog

Every few months, someone will write the obituary of the blog.  I don’t mean their blog.  I mean blogging in general.  Blogging’s death is practically cat-like; it has died at least nine times since I started blogging in 2006.

I get why entertainment magazines keep half-written obits on celebrities so they can get them up quickly when the time comes, but entertainment magazines don’t post those obits when the celebrity is still alive and kicking.  Can you imagine opening up a newspaper and seeing a long, thought-provoking obituary talking about your death as well as all the high points of your life that you read while you sip a cup of morning coffee?  Post the blogging obituary when the last blogging body is in the morgue, not while our fingers are still typing.

According to WordPress.com, as of last year, 100,000 new blogs were started daily.  While there will naturally be attrition of individual blogs, blogging as a whole is clearly still a popular medium.

With the blogging obituary, we usually get the cause of death too; prematurely, I might add since blogs aren’t dead.  Sometimes the cause of death is other forms of social media such as Twitter or Facebook.  Other times, pictures murder words and leave its decomposing corpse in the feed reader.  And other reasons are given as well: they’re too long to read, too much work to produce, too slow to process.  Blogs, for instance, according to USAToday, are slogs.  Take a knife to the blog’s proverbial throat.

You may have guessed that I don’t believe blogging is dead; or, more accurately, I just don’t care.

As I said last week on my sixth blogoversary, I’ve been writing a personal blog for six years.  Which means that I’ve not only been there for the birth of most of these social media sites that are murdering blogging, but I’ve seen bloggers come and go, memes circle round and round, and blog projects go viral and die.  I feel a little bit like a cow, chewing her cud, only the cud is composed of blog posts.  I’m just hanging out, watching the field change as people bounce across it, but the point is that even if the field changes, the world still needs cows.

We need milk, meat, or leather (and in this blogging analogy, words or ideas) and we usually need them in quantities larger than 140 characters.  It’s a big field and there is room for the slow-moving blogosphere cows and the nimble rabbits bouncing around Twitter and the prancing horses boasting about their family on Facebook, in the same way that magazines, newspapers, and books all deliver the written world and exist together at the exact same time.  And come to think of it, those three items are still kicking around too despite their demise predicted dozens of times in the last few years, mostly by people who would benefit from the downfall of the traditional publishing world.

Listen, no one maintains the same level of health and robustness their entire life, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t still living, still well enough to be part of society.  Let’s not put grandma on ice flow, right?  Are blogs as shiny and fat as they were in their prime?  No, but that doesn’t mean the blog’s new, mature body and mind isn’t just as valid, just as interesting.

Plus, these obituaries are written based on assumptions.  That USA Today article is looking at a study on company blogs and transfers those findings to personal blogs.  Whereas sites such as Technorati and BlogHer has been conducting the same surveys on social media usage for years in order to get a real sense of social media trends.  Technorati posts their State of the Blogosphere yearly, and BlogHer’s findings from over 2000 participants found 98% of BlogHer women (and 81% of the general US population) trust information from blogs over information from Facebook or Twitter.  As their survey found:

Blog readers prefer blogs for information. Facebook is our source for play and friendship.

So, fine, predict the death of blogs all you want, but I’m still going to be over here writing mine.  Blogging, for me, is still an active, vibrant medium that challenges me to think, introduces me to new ideas, and strengthens my understanding of other people.  And I just can’t get that from a Twitter feed or Facebook status.  It’s not just the amount of space allotted to pass along ideas; it’s also the format of popular social media sites that doesn’t give people time to ruminate on the big thoughts that are contained in the words.  And blogging does.  I can chew over blogs… until the cows come home.

Do you think there will ever be a day when you won’t write or read blogs if the technology to support them is still around?

Cross-posted with BlogHer.

Photo Credit: Srboisvert via Flickr

18 comments

1 Rebecca { 07.02.12 at 7:46 am }

I’m with you. I’ll still be here, and I’ll still be reading. I’m sorta over the Twitter craze, Facebook is where I keep up with family and friends on a social, general day to day level. Blogging is my release. My cheap therapy. :) And reading blogs is important to me too. I read certain blogs for information, some because I’ve developed friendships with the author, some for fun and others for religious/spiritual growth. I go through slow seasons in my personal blogging, just like everyone else, but I’ll be hanging on until they pry my keyboard out of my cold dead hands. LOL

2 vablondie { 07.02.12 at 8:53 am }

I agree with Rebecca. I love my blog as a release. It is definitely a personal thing with me. I gave up on twitter, and I am mainly on FB to keep up with family and friends.

Sometimes I blog more than others. I like recording bits of my life. But again, it is a personal thing, and not something I am doing for any sort of income or personal gain.

I cannot see a day where I do not blog. I enjoy seeing my blog change as I grow, and it is interesting to look back and see what demons I was wrestling with one year, two years, or even three years ago.

3 KeAnne { 07.02.12 at 9:31 am }

I hate those “the blog is dead” articles. Company blogs are dying because companies violated all the advice on how to write a compelling blog that wasn’t simply marketing.

I don’t think I will ever stop reading or writing blogs. I agree about blogging having seasons like a lot of other things, but I’m too into it to stop.

4 JuliaKB { 07.02.12 at 10:51 am }

I was away for a time, and I missed it. A lot. Life was busy and I couldn’t make time, and I missed it all.the.time. I can’t spend the same amount of time in the blogosphere as I did the year I started writing, but my new approach is that I need to spend some time, even if it’s less than I’d like. Because the words and ideas make my world larger. Or sometimes smaller, in the sense of me recognizing and feeling familiar with people and feelings and ideas from half a world away. So I am hoping I can make it for the long haul this time. And it’s nice to know you’ll be here the whole time. :)

5 Esperanza { 07.02.12 at 11:12 am }

I don’t think I would ever stop reading blogs if they were around to read. I enjoy them too much, and my guess is someone will always be writing them.

6 tigger62077 { 07.02.12 at 11:23 am }

I think I will always read. There’s not really a way for me to friend ALL my bloggy buddies on FB, and really? Blogs are a place to put the stuff you DON’T put on FB. That’s the stuff I’m interested in – the information, the experiences, the up-to-date on what’s going on, the fears and joys. All the things you miss by being on FB.

I don’t write often, but I DO write. It’s an outlet for me. When I need to get something off my brain, I blog. My blog is “safe” for me – it’s the one place I have left where there are no family (aside from my husband and he knows he can’t hold anything I write against me). I can actually vent about family there, and work. I can vent about my kid and not be (obviously) judged. People completely lose their filter on FB – bloggers are (usually) more cautious. Yes, there’s drama. Yes, there’s people who simply don’t know how to be nice. But generally? Bloggers in this sphere are nice enough people not to shit in people’s living rooms. :)

7 Pale { 07.02.12 at 12:27 pm }

I don’t think there is any going back for me. And I’m with you. I don’t believe it will ever die out.

Even if the blogoshere’s popularity, it’s place on the “IT” list du jour, waxes and wanes, the waning could even be a good thing for all of us die hards … all the easier to find the quality people, the quality blogs and the best communities when the haystack isn’t so full of gawkers, opportunists, vanity hounds and 15-minutes-of-famers, who are beside the point of what we are really doing/seeking here.

The payoff for reading and for writing blogs is there, so there will always be consumers. All these centuries of diary keeping have been transformed by the miraculous addition of a ready audience, which all writers crave in one form or another. Writing is communication — by it’s nature not a one-man pursuit — even if you never live to see your audience or receive your feedback. Writing = Giver + Receiver, otherwise it’s trees falling in a forest where no one ever hears. As long as humans have the urge to tell their story, any format that caters to that can’t help but survive.

I often think of Anne Frank and how her diary brought (and continues to bring) history alive and I think about … how blogging is a modern continuation of her work, though the field so crowded now (a 100,000 a day!). It would be interesting to look into the future and see what from today’s blogoshere (and the rest of social media, I suppose) endures and helps to write the understanding of future generations.

8 Stupid Stork { 07.02.12 at 12:52 pm }

Granted I just started a blog (this makes me a wee calf) but as an infertile, facebook is the devil. . And I’m too long winded for twitter. Plus the jist of both seems to be “check me out, ya’ll, I’m busy AND important”. I think blogs allow for a certain anonymity and honesty that the other options don’t allow.

9 It Is What It Is { 07.02.12 at 1:03 pm }

I don’t tweet and I use FB mainly as a way to share daily (or weekly, or monthly) tidbits from our life and to watch the goings on of family members and friends. I leave my deep thoughts for my blog.

Reading the on-line journeys of others has been part of my life since I was diagnosed with fibroids and wanted to connect with other women who had already been down the road. As long as there is a life issue that I can connect with others on I will always read blogs. I am not sure if I will always write my current blog. It may change form or I may do away with it altogether when I move toward seriously drafting my memoir.

I do always want to stay connected to the IF community that pulses through my veins. I don’t want to complete our family and disappear as I feel I have a responsibility as a veteran to be there for those who come after me.

10 Mina { 07.02.12 at 2:33 pm }

Even when the status of my ovaries and womb is a thing of the past and totally uninteresting for myself included, I will still be around, reading, sharing, looking in just like today. This is the group of people that helped me when real life people couldn’t. You all are the ones I tell loads of stuff first, after I tell my husband and before I tell my best friends. Blogs are part of my life and have been for three years, so no, I do not believe they are dead, not now not anytime soon. But it’s weird to think that even in this modern part of life I am made to feel old and obsolete, like blogs are a thing of the past, passé and so old fashioned like white gloves. Anyway. As long as the technology is here, I will read and write in the blogosphere. Moo.

11 a { 07.02.12 at 5:13 pm }

I think there will always be people who feel unheard by the people around them. There may be new and different ways to connect in the future, and maybe blogs will go the way of the party line. But I don’t think it’s today. Or tomorrow. From the start of the internet, people have used it as a tool to connect to other people. My friend’s 1986 dial-up bulletin board is the first thing I remember. I can’t picture what the next thing will be, but until it shows up, I think blogs are alive and well.

USA Today, of course, has a vested interest in killing off blogs. If people have stories to read online for free, the odds are, they won’t be buying newspapers.

12 Corey Feldman { 07.02.12 at 5:47 pm }

I have been writing my blog since before it was a word. It will change shape, but I don’t think it will ever go away. There is too much power in the personal blog. Not everything fits into a 140 characters or a facebook status update.

13 Lori Lavender Luz { 07.02.12 at 7:28 pm }

I plan to keep reading and writing via blogs for a very long time. My aim is to write my own obituary and hit the Publish key as I take my second-to-the-last breath.

The last one is reserved for my family.

14 edenland { 07.02.12 at 8:57 pm }

I love this post. Happy 6th, Mel.

I hate blogging at the moment. Shit hit the fan down here a while back, and I was in the firing line. But I can’t see myself stopping, even if I want to. It’s the connections with people – I can’t let that go.

X

15 Mali { 07.03.12 at 12:26 am }

I’ll never say never, but I do love blogging, and I love the friends I’ve made through it, so can’t imagine stopping. Lori’s comment made me remember. I’ve occasionally wondered what would happen if I suddenly keeled over. How would I let all my lovely readers know that I hadn’t just abandonned them?! (Note to self: Write instructions in my will for my husband or sister).

16 Bea { 07.03.12 at 1:48 am }

There’ll always be something to fit the form, I think. Nothing else feels worth the effort, and whilst I’m special, I’m not that special ;) – there are lots like me. Before blogs there were letters and diaries. Books seem to keep getting written and published. Twitter, Facebook, magazines, etc – I can’t get into them. They don’t suit the way I like to direct my attention.

17 Io { 07.03.12 at 9:44 am }

I think blogs fill a special space – I could write about infertility on facebook but the vast majority of my friends wouldn’t get it. (Except of course my blog friends who are now facebook friends!) Plus, I can’t really share all those things with the people on facebook. Blogging is a (relatively) safe space for me.

18 magpie { 07.03.12 at 12:20 pm }

what rebecca said. i’m over twitter, facebook is amusing, but blogging is my outlet.

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