Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
December 19, 201311:00 PM

This Blog Is Dead

Let's admit it. Blogging (as we knew it) is dead.

Is your blood boiling? Are you priming your fingers to lambast this thought in the comment section of this post? Go back in time. Not even all that ago and think about the early days of blogging. What we had was place for online journaling. Posts were seen in chronological order and could be commented on and shared. It was a technological and publishing breakthrough. Suddenly, the cost of publishing plummeted to zero and publishing to the world was almost as easy as it was to print up a document from your word processor. Suddenly, anyone with connectivity could have a thought and publish it in text for the world to see. It's obvious why the popularity of blogs took hold. It's equally obvious why the traditional mass media also took a liking to the platform. Newspapers could use blogging as a farm team for their printed publications. They could allow journalists not getting enough ink on paper to explore their ideas on a blog. They could test different types of stories and writers to see if there was a market for their writing, and more. For a person like me, publishing a regular blog enabled me to build an audience, to have a direct relationship with people who liked the same sorts of things that were turning my crank. If an editor didn't like a story pitch, I could just copy and paste that same text into WordPress, hit "publish" and see if the story had legs. Blogging provided me with a powerful platform that has created awareness for Twist Image, got me on the radar of speaking bureaus, major publishers, a literary agent, book publisher and so much more.

What happened?

Yesterday, Nieman Journalism Lab published an article titled, The blog is dead, long live the blog, by Jason Kottke (who publishes one of the longest continuously running blogs on the Web). Let's forgo the irony that this piece was published on a blog and read this: "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. Instead of launching blogs, companies are building mobile apps, Newsstand magazines on iOS, and things like The Verge. The Verge or Gawker or Talking Points Memo or BuzzFeed or The Huffington Post are no more blogs than The New York Times or Fox News, and they are increasingly not referring to themselves as such."

The comfort of publishing and sharing.

Blogs aren't dead, there are just many more ways to take an idea, to publish it and to share it. Blogs were as popular as they were over the past fifteen years not because everybody wanted to write and publish, but because that's primarily the only way they could share things. Once better, faster and more technologically advance ways came about, consumers navigated to whatever areas were easiest or more congruous to their styles and preferences. The death of blogging is - as they say - greatly exaggerated. With more choices (shall I publish text? Images? Audio? Video?), places to publish (Pinterest? Tumblr? Snapchat? Facebook? YouTube?) and styles (short-like Twitter? Middle of the road for Medium? Long-like a piece for HuffPo? ), we simply have people who are finally able to match their publishing capabilities with their actual areas of interest. This doesn't mean that blogs are dying, it simply means that people who like more personal/in-depth pieces would trend to a blog while others might like the rapid and real-time fire of Twitter.

It's less about blogging.

What we're seeing is an evolution of something I called, Instant Personal Publishing (almost a decade ago). Blogging is a legacy system within that framework. Instagram is as much of a blog post as this is. Consumers interest in sharing and creating content continues to evolve and grow. Blogging is starting to leave the "everyone" stream and finding it's place in the "blogging" stream. It's for those interested in more depth, more insight, with a personal slant/opinion, and a regular text-based publishing pace from those who have something to write. Writing isn't easy. Blogging is a lot harder. Less people are starting blogs because not everyone is going to have the desire or aptitude to write. People are going to read less blogs, simply because they have more options. Bloggers have to do more within other social media and traditional media channels to get their voices heard. No, blogging isn't dead. Blogging is just starting to find its more relevant audience with people who have a true passion for writing. That's a good thing, but we can't be fooled into thinking that blog-type writing will somehow become more popular than creating and sharing pictures and videos and tweets. When given the choice, humans tend to like the speed of looking and snacking.

That's nothing new.

By Mitch Joel


Comments Comments Feed
  • Posted by Jay Oza
    Mitch Joel


    Traditional blog writing will be more for thinkers and the other types of blogs will be more for entertaining. I have tested this on Facebook. When I post a ;ink to my blog, I get very few likes, but when I post a picture or short text, then I get many likes. People don't like or want to think; it is difficult due to all the multitasking that people are doing.

  • Posted by Tema Frank
    Mitch Joel

    Bang on, as usual, Mitch.

    Jay Oza is correct that links with photos or short texts get more clicks and likes. Ultimately, one has to decide about whether your goal is a high quality audience or a high quantity one. I get frustrated that my podcast numbers are growing more slowly than I'd like, but was thrilled to discover that people who subscribe to it also subscribe to the HBR Ideacast. Reassures me that I'm at least getting the sort of thoughtful people I'm after.

    • Posted by Sandra Pickering
      Mitch Joel

      Tema Frank makes an excellent point: sustainable profitable business depends on being able to attract and satisfy the right type of customer.
      Of course, many businesses are created to attract investors rather than satisfy customers and until those investors insist on quality over quantity 'clicks and likes' will be worshipped.

  • Posted by Ought Thoughts
    Mitch Joel

    Back in 2010, I discussed the distinction among various social media outlets for personal expression, and blogging is not in competition with the various other forms. http://www.oughtthoughts.com/2010/08/to-blog-or-not-to-blog-there-is-no.html

  • Posted by John Bonini
    Mitch Joel

    Great post, Mitch.

    The only hole in this line of thinking is, that while platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr etc. are more visually engaging, it's much harder – at least right now entering '14 – for said apps to act as an educational resource for consumers.

    If I have a question or a need, I don't go to Instagram. I use Google (or Siri) to search for helpful content to help me along. This behavior hasn't died, and therefore, blogging and other forms of resourceful content still have a prominent place.

  • Posted by Steve Fleck
    Mitch Joel

    Mitch - as usual you are right-on about this. It makes perfect sense. The traditional blog has worn out it's effectiveness. However, to use Ctrl-Alt-Delete lingo many businesses are in "purgatory" or worse. In the business that I work in - the specialty sporting goods and endurance sports event businesses, many businesses and brands, are still stuck in the world of web 2.0 - wondering what blogging and social media is all about, and only showing a passing interest, in them or blowing them off completely! Meanwhile, their customers, ALL tend to be a rather sophisticated and plugged in bunch from a very good demographic. There's a big disconnect there!

  • Posted by dina
    Mitch Joel

    Hmmm I can't decide on this one, on one hand there are many emerging blogging platforms like ghost and medium, but on the other hand people share more content on social networks, it's just like you said there are now other ways of sharing ideas, but the point would be are sharing ideas on these platforms effective, I mean posts on twitter are gone in no time, and it's extremely hard to search on facebook. So blogs are king when it comes to easily reaching content.

    I've opened a topic on Pngine about blogging and social networks and would love to know your opinion about how social networks are changing the blogging experience. You can post your thoughts and check other bloggers by following this link

    http://www.pngine.com/dina-Amin/231/Public/811/Compartmentalization

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