Saturday, July 18, 2009

Where have all the bloggers gone?

Does anyone else think blogging and blogs are slowing down, maybe akin to becoming late-middle-aged? I remember when blogging started (even though I didn't have one at first) and everyone was doing it. One of the news magazines talked about it as, "... the permanent home of the computer age." While it never quite made it to that point, blogging did get pretty big. It became so because the people that were doing it, did it often and a lot. The word, Blog, became as household as Google and YouTube.

It makes you wonder whether their success would also be their downfall. Blogs were never meant to be social networks but they quickly became that. People connected and communicated and refreshed and followed with people they would never have done so if the blogosphere didn't exist. The big blogging sites even started adding features so you could follow people and blogs more up-to-date, and keep in touch on an almost instant basis. People were not only posting every day but two, four, ten, and some even more times in a single day.

Enter MySpace and now more recently, Facebook. A computer programmer somewhere saw what blogging was trying to do on a social scale, and recreated the idea but this time making it more of a conversation than a letter-exchange. They made applications combining the journal writing of blogs and the interaction of instant messaging, and came away with something that people could use for both. Social Networking on your computer or phone became huge in a matter of months.

This past June, both Blogger and Wordpress announced their new membership numbers for the last six months of 2008. They were the lowest numbers of any of the last nine previous six month cycles. Crazy. But it's kind of obvious why. It was summed up for me when I overheard Ell and a friend talking earlier this week. They both agreed they had been neglecting their blogs because they felt their blogs were for more serious writing while Facebook was for quick and easy updating. And they just didn't have anything deep to write, or the time to think about it, so they hadn't been using their blog. As I look down my blogroll (and the rolls of others who have timers on their lists) I see the trend increasing. I can name only a couple bloggers who are still blogging at the same frequency they used to.

So is blogging middle-aged? Still strong and vital, but not as flexible or willing to go at the same pace as the youngsters? It kinda seems like it, doesn't it?


Blogger Unknown said...

Really interesting thoughts Sam. I know for me I feel less of a need to blog with the rise of twitter in my routine. I think it's because i can let out a slow leak of my thoughts and happenings through 140 character tweets while I used to let out big groups of them in a blog post.

I wonder however if that has also turned up the quality of what i write about? ? Does the changing communication landscape force us to reexamine what it is we are saying. Learning a hard lesson that communication is not just speaking things but it also has a great deal to do with hearing what your saying.

4:33 PM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

Hmm...I could get used to twitter, but i still like the blog for the original reason I tried it...releasing and connecting. Of course, I'm kind of the type to take a while to let go of old habits.

But, yes, middle age is the reason for my lagging blogging. My middle age that is, not the blogs. Gosh darn, I seem to run out of energy and good ideas long before the day comes to a complete stop these days! (Not that my days exactly come to a complete stop w/ the littlest mouth around here.)

I've been happy to see your last few posts, btw. Sounds like things are going well and that is good!

1:48 AM  
Blogger Melissa Blair said...

Interesting. I don't follow any of the big blog sites, just the personal ones of family and friends. I don't know about others, but I know that in our house, the Blog has slowed just due to the lack of time this summer. It seems like as a family, we are constantly on the go. I think about our blog a lot and wish that I had time to sit down and actually finish a post - I have created about 4 or 5 that I just have not had time to finish. I noticed that the same thing happened to our blog last summer too. I still take a bit of time everyday to read the blogs that I follow, but I haven't found the time to be consistent with my own.

6:05 PM  
Blogger Kimmy said...

The blogging community is definitely slowing down. I do think a lot of that has to do with Facebook and Twitter becoming so popular. It is much easier to throw up a new status on Facebook than it is to compose a whole post on your blog. Also, I've found that I get a lot more response on Facebook/Twitter than I do on my blog these days. I don't blog to get comments, but it's awfully nice to know that someone is actually reading, especially when you put a ton of effort into what you have written.

Bottom line, I still love blogging, but I'm spending much more time on the social networking sites cause that is where the people are!

I do hope that blogging picks up again. I miss that smaller community.

6:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now days with smart phones (iphone & Blackberry) people just text a quick Twitter or Facebook update on the go, instead of taking the time to pull together a thoughtful & meaning blog entry.

I find it interesting how, many people give up blogging due the simple fact, they ''feel'' no one reads it. In fact they may have more readers than they know.

11:16 PM  
Blogger Kimmy said...

Actually, I do know how many readers I have...check your dashboard for blog stats and you can see how many you have too;-)

1:13 AM  
Blogger Sam said...

All interesting thoughts. As I wrote in the post and has been commented here, there's so much more activity on the social networking sites. And it's understanding... it has to feel a little more validating knowing your thoughts are being read. I once thought about doing a blog seminar on how to properly blog, you know - how much you comment is how many comments you get - but I wondered if anyone would even read it. ;-)

11:44 PM  
Anonymous Papa D said...

That is exactly why I stopped blogging - it felt for all the world that I was taking valuable time to write something meaningful and, for some, helpful, and would get a comment or two every so often. Since I stopped two years ago, I've gotten five people asking where it went. Why bother?!?

7:27 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

That's a great point, Dad. But it's also the reason why I say you get only as much as you give when it comes to blogging. I remember one time you asked me how to find people with other like interests. You took the advice but stopped posting right after that. I think the key is not just finding people with like interests and commenting on a post, but actively getting involved in those people's blogs by REPEATED commenting, linking, building a presence in their community, etc. But it's understanding that that can get kind of tiring and seem useless when it doesn't produce results right away.

One thing you and everyone else who cites the same reasons for leaving the blogosphere usually don't think about (or maybe even know) is just how many people are actually signing on to read your stuff. Up until I took my little hiatus three months ago, I heard of or met at least one person per week who was reading Eleven I hadn't known about before. They never commented (and probably never will), but they were reading on a very regular basis. I guess the point there is, you just don't know and you can't gauge your worth by comments. For what it's worth, I had "over" five people say they missed your writing, Dad.

That sounded kinda heavy, and it wasn't meant as a criticism of my Dad (and he knows the same), it was just an observation. I have a friend who has blogged only ten or so times in a couple years and has a following of at least fifty people (that I know of so there has to be a lot more). Despite that fact, he/she became frustrated no one commented on a series of deep posts. As a result he/she is now done with blogging. Like I said in my post, maybe that's the real answer to the question, all the bloggers are now spending time in places that provide gratification for their efforts. And I guess I can't argue with those reasons. But it does make me wish I'd dropped a few more comments when I really liked what someone had to say.

Which brings a whole 'nother question to the table... why do you blog? Is it only for you, do you write for others, do you write for the edification of an organization, or do you simply write so your thoughts and opinions can be validated by others? (The last has been my reason too many times.) There's no right or wrong answer here... but is your real, honest answer in your heart the same answer you'd share if someone asked you your reason? Oooooooo, now it's getting deep in here! ;-)

8:43 PM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

We used to watch Dharma and Greg - there was one episode where Dharma accuses Greg of needing to be validated. He says, "I don't need validation!! I?" That reminds me of myself.

For me, I think the idea that maybe someone is expecting it, encourages me to write what I'm thinking, which is what I like about the blog.

11:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I admit,I feed on comments.They make me feel like someone can relate to my thoughts or ideas.I try to comment often as I can.

12:45 AM  
Blogger Kimmy said...

I blog for myself and for the good of my multitude of followers! For me, it's a creative outlet and a place to realize my own thoughts. Often times, I learn a lot about myself as I write, which is pretty neat!

I also love the intimate circle that blogging is. I think that sets it apart from the more popular social networks. Blogging feels a bit more personal and close-knit.

I blog for the people, because I think it is a really good tool for getting to know someone. I think people who read my blog tend to get to know me better from reading my smug ramblings;-)

1:19 AM  
Blogger Swedish Mama said...

Lots of great questions and thots. I agree with most. time and Facebook seem to be the largest hinderance. Also energy and most of the time I use the laptop to read, but find it easier to type on the desktop.

by the way, I stopped at your blog on the way to mine to post after almost a month. Will I make it now?

12:03 AM  
Blogger Sam said...

I'm not sure what you mean by, "make it now", but I am always excited to read new posts. Which is probably why I wrote this post in the first place... I like to see what's in people heads and hearts. My family, not the least of which. :)

7:40 PM  

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