Are blogs dead? Am I too late?
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).
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.
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.
The 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.
If 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.