An article in the New York Times this week firmly suggests that blogging is dying. Yeah, yeah, heard it all before, right? Well maybe, but this article says that ‘the younger generation’ is losing interest in favour of spending more time on social networking sites. It quotes a young, aspiring filmmaker from San Francisco who says that “I don’t use my blog anymore. All the people I’m trying to reach are on Facebook.” Which, to my mind, spectacularly misses the point.
Blogging complements social networks. In fact, it drives much of the content shared on social networks. It starts the debates and the discussions which are the lifeblood of Twitter. And for anyone who’s looking for more depth than a soundbite fired off in a couple of hundred characters, blogs are the home of real opinion and insight. You quite simply don’t find the same level of debate or conversation on Facebook.
The End of The Conversation
So why is it that many bloggers are reporting declining readerships or giving up completely? Can it really be the case that ‘the younger generation’ (which I assume means Gen Y) are more interested in infographics and Pins than in well thought-out opinions and arguments? Geoff Livingston, a blogger I read and respect and from whom I found this piece on Facebook, said to me that he believes “the conversation era has passed its zenith”. And on reflection, he may have a point. The rise of Tumblr and Pinterest would seem to bear this out. What was the last innovation in ‘conventional’ blogging – Disqus or LiveFyre? Hardly cutting edge, is it?
So maybe, as Geoff asserts, people just don’t want conversation anymore, instead favouring the fleeting nature of social networks. Or maybe people have just got sick of reading 700 word articles reeling off ‘ten reasons to do this’ and ‘five reasons you should do that’. And I can’t say I blame them. It’s tedious, whereas newer forms of blogging such as Tumblr feel more immediate and more ‘social’.
Maybe, when all is said and done, it’s truer to say that blogging is evolving. I for one sincerely hope that there will always be room for more depth, passion, thought and debate than a picture or a 140 character tweet can ever convey. What about you?