Are blogs dead? Am I too late?

February 16, 2009 at 6:24 PM 7 comments

As I sit down to write my first blog post, I’m reminded of a track from Pink Floyd’s The Wall: “Is There Anybody Out There?” In the song, the title words seem to echo down an empty corridor as if to say: No, no one’s out there. And if there are people out there, they’re not listening to you.

But I don’t want to start my first blog post with pessimism. I did that with my first blog, and never was able to resurrect my motivation to contribute to the conversation of the blogosphere. Nevertheless, I’ve returned. And I’m motivated (check out the About the Blog page for more).technorati

My concern isn’t my state of mind; it’s the state of the conversation. The blog indexing site Technorati released its State of the Blogosphere report for 2008 a few months ago with some pretty alarming figures. I’ll spare you the nitty-gritty, but one stat is worth repeating:

Of the 133 million blogs indexed by Technorati, 94 percent are inactive. tombstone

I’m not surprised. Heck, I’m part of the 94 percent! But with this post I’m also becoming part of the 6 percent of active bloggers. So, is the blogosphere dead? Am I too late?

Wired Magazine seems to think so. The first line Paul Boutin’s article from last October reads:

“Thinking about launching your own blog? Here’s some friendly advice: Don’t. And if you’ve already got one, pull the plug.”

Thanks for the motivation, Paul.

But Boutin isn’t alone in his claim that the blogosphere is dead, or dying (find more examples here and here). I even found posts dating back to 2005 that claim “blogs are dead.” Seems as if it’s a recurring debate.

bozoThe recent argument over the vitality of the blogosphere centers on blogs becoming mainstream. Bloggers argue that personally published blogs with “authentic voices” are being pushed to the fringe by corporate blogs and “self linking bozos.” The fact that I discovered all this by reading said authentic blogs just drips with irony.

According to some, yes. And depending on who you talk to, it’s a death sentence.Though most agree that blogging itself won’t ever die despite the blogosphere being watered down with  concocted corporate blogs, it’s the other half of the equation that is disappearing: READERS!

Even Robert Scoble, longtime tech evangelist for Microsoft and famous blogger, said he noticed a trend of declining readers in late 2007. The Scobleizer, along with many others, points his finger at social networking sites for stealing the blog audience.

Which brings me back to why I’m entering the blogosphere.

As a PR student and member of “Generation Y,” I’ve been hesitant about expanding my SM presence from the comforts of Facebook. And frankly, I didn’t really see any reason to. I treat Facebook mainly as a “pull” medium, taking in only the information I want, rarely posting content myself.

A blog on the other hand, functions almost entirely as a “push” medium, requiring the blogger to invest time and energy to share thoughts and insights based on what he/she wants to add to the conversation.

twitterIf it hadn’t been for my adventures with the micro-blogging site, Twitter, I would have never found a use for regularly producing content. Though I admit that my “tweets” are about a 50/50 ratio of substance to rubbish, I’m part of the conversation (follow me to find out).

And that’s what blogging is about: joining the conversation. I just hope the conversation isn’t over. I hope somebody’s out there. Listening.

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I taught I taw a putty tat

7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jim Kenny  |  February 20, 2009 at 2:15 PM

    good start. your objective for starting it will determine if you’re too late or able to break out of the noise and be a meaningful contributor to the dialogue that serves you and your tarageted readers.

  • 2. Chris  |  February 21, 2009 at 4:30 AM

    Thanks for the advice Jim. I’m finding that a blog is a great place to collect the thoughts/ideas I find via Twitter. Time will only tell how the blogosphere will treat Steele Headed.

  • 3. sharon  |  February 26, 2009 at 2:47 AM

    I see you have inherited the propensity of writing long posts! Thought they were supposed to be less than 400 words? But excellent content and writing. I know you are keeping focused on the important stuff.

  • 4. Blair Boone  |  February 26, 2009 at 10:09 AM

    Welcome back. Your Facebook link to the new blog doesn’t work, but I found it through a tweet on your dad’s blog. Which I suppose proves once again the value of Twitter re: your second post. As well as your push/pull distinction re: FB.

  • 5. Chris  |  February 26, 2009 at 3:55 AM

    The class requirement is 500-700 words, which I agree with you, is a little long. But that’s why there’s Twitter!

  • 6. hacool  |  April 14, 2009 at 1:18 AM

    Blogs aren’t dead. Long live blogs!

    As much as I like Twitter, FriendFeed, etc., sometimes we just need more than 140 (or slightly larger for other services) characters to make a point, offer advice, post a tutorial or even share a recipe.

    On my Web Development Blog I tend to be a bit verbose, sometimes posting 1,000 -2,500 word blog entries, but when I do so it’s because I’m trying to explain a concept in detail. (I also tend to ramble on, but you should see what gets cut!) As long as people keep reading, and finding some value in my posts, I’ll keep at it.

    And I’m not alone. Whenever I go to check Google Reader I find more than 1,000 unread messages. People keep churning out material, and keep trying to catch up. Alas, reading leads me to more blogs, which I then add to Google Reader, so that I’m even farther behind.

    My friends on Twitter seem to be in the same situation, but we still keep sharing links that we find. To me that suggests that both readers and writers are finding value in the blogosphere.

    So I recommend that you carry on. In perusing what you’ve been posting since this entry it looks like you’re off to a great start, offering insights and observations that people in marketing and pr should heed. Happy Blogging!

  • 7. Tossing my cap and blogging for fun « Steele Headed  |  April 27, 2009 at 8:33 PM

    [...] Look forward to seeing ya’ll around in the blogosphere. Turns out it’s not as dead as I thought… [...]

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