"Wealth will increasingly be defined by our ability to go offline whenever we want." - Fernando Gros
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Blog // Thoughts
February 9, 2010

Second Wave Blogging

Time for a bold prediction: Blogging will make a comeback in 2010. Well, a comeback of sorts; perhaps a resurgence, or maybe a second wave. Blogging won’t return to where it was, a few years ago, before the explosion of social media. The dynamics have changed. For some, Twitter ate their blog, for many of […]

Time for a bold prediction: Blogging will make a comeback in 2010.

Well, a comeback of sorts; perhaps a resurgence, or maybe a second wave. Blogging won’t return to where it was, a few years ago, before the explosion of social media. The dynamics have changed. For some, Twitter ate their blog, for many of the rest, the rythmn of checking in on people’s blogs is broken,

“No, I’m not keeping up with your blog. Like a good friend said to me a couple of years ago, “Man, I don’t even have time to read the blogs of my good friends anymore.” Ditto with me. Heck, it’s hard enough keeping up with my good friends’ Twitter streams.”

In fact, Hugh’s thoughts on the state of the blogosphere today hold a key for the future. Creating good blog content is hard, which is why so many people have left the platform – unable to sustain the demand for content or find an audience for their writing.

However, Twitter and Facebook are very limited vehicles for holding content – that is not their strength.

If you have creative output, you need a place to host it, explain it and maybe invite comment on it. On that level blogging still makes sense. Content-specific sites, like Flickr (photos) and Soundcloud (music) are great hosts but, by design, limited in scope. If you have a story to tell, about your life, or work or product, a sustained story, then blogging is still a compelling platform.

Because, as I’ve always said, blogging is ultimately all about self-publishing.

But, blogging is not for everyone – this drive is not part of everyone’s personality. Blogging is a public art and in a way social media has cleared the path for it to become more elite. I’m saving some thoughts on the pros and cons of this for later posts. But, for now, I wanted to focus on two ways I see blogging changing fast.

Comments

Back in 02-05, comments were the fuel that drove a lot of bloggers. Today, comment-traffic is way down and I don’t see this trend being reversed anytime soon.

Reflecting on the death of blog comments, Binary Bonsai wrote,

“Twitter killed a lot of blogs, and I’m beginning to think that it’s killed even more comments. I love Twitter, but I do miss the old days of the blogosphere, back when blogs where as common as opinions (I was traversing my archives earlier; it was like visiting a graveyard, with URLs for headstones). Back when even a half-assed entry would garner comments from near and far, and people would link to each other and the sense of community was in-between people and their writing, rather than in-between 140-character quips.

Those days are gone, and a new batch have arrived, where if I write that I’m eating a strawberry pie on Facebook, it’ll get more replies than if I dig up a super-rare interview with George Lucas and write about it on my blog… What’s a man to do?”

There appear to be no elegant solutions for pulling comments into blogs from other platforms and creating active, cross-platform conversations. Maybe this will change in the future, but for now, as bloggers, we should just focus on our content and accept that comments in the old sense, are a gift when they come.

Technology

Part of why I am bullish about blogs, is because I’m bullish about the iPad and the future of tablet computers. Facebook and Twitter got a huge shot in the arm from advanced mobile phone technology.

Portability sparked the growth in social media, because it allowed us to post from anywhere and 140 characters doesn’t feel like much of a limitation when writing from a phone. In an interesting reversal of trend, the tablet provides portability but the ability to handle the richer and deeper content that blogs require.

There you have it – in 2010 blogs will rise again, without comments and fuelled by tablets like the iPad.

Responses
Mike Mahoney 13 years ago

Whew, I thought it was me.

I’ve been getting the same – actually better – traffic across my blog, but comments are scarce these days. People keep coming back, so they are engaged on some level, but few folks are commenting compared to a year ago.

Yamabuki 13 years ago

Thanks for the insights on Blogs
I’ve only recently started my own.

I recently posted the following on my blog
About why I had started my blog:

“So these Poems
Are one of the reasons
I started this blog.

I was writing poems
But they were getting lost

I needed somewhere
To put them

Where they would not
Go hungry

Or feel neglected
And lonely.

Now

They can speak with
The other poems

Share their thoughts
With each other

Wait for unwary bots
Or curious eyes

To share their feelings”

Note you are correct about comments
I’ve received none
Yet much of the content
of my blog was originally
inspired from comments
I made on
a friends Blog

Go figure.

Yamabuki

JakeT 13 years ago

I think blogs were huge when that was the only way to interact online (ie. before Facebook).

Now, unfortunately, too many content creators (myself included) blow their energy on Twitter and content consumers are content to banter on Facebook.

I don’t know if blogs are coming back (I kind of doubt it, honestly, only because they were only huge when non-creators used them as platforms for interaction), but I think people will continue to create serial content for their website because some people WANT to create online, and blogging platforms provide a good platform for that.

I think, though, that we’ll see a lot more magazine-style, category-driven blogs, or rather, see what were typical blogs morph into those sort of sites, as sites mature and authors find they can gather an amalgam of content under one domain, but don’t have to put it in the same bucket.

Fernando Gros 13 years ago

Mike- I’ve always had far more commentary via email than anything else. But, lately, I’m getting more feedback on Twitter.

As long as people are reading, it’s ok.

Fernando Gros 13 years ago

Yamabuki – I pretty much gave up on blogging in 2003, thinking it was not worth the effort.

Participating in blog conversations in 2004 made me rethink that and inspired me to try again.

Although I’ve never attracted many comments on the blog itself I’ve always relished everything that goes with self publishing.

And, blogging has built and deepened some important relationships for me.

Fernando Gros 13 years ago

Jake – without doubt social media has cannibalised blogging for many people.

However, when blogging took off, forums were still huge and mailing lists were still widespread.

I do strongly agree that magazine style blogs are the way forward. If this us self publishing, then it makes sense to showcase our best work and not just our most recent work.

Toni 13 years ago

Perhaps you’re right about the change in blogging. I still have this (fading) wish for social interaction at the blog level, when it’s mostly migrated to FB/Twitter. However I’m also turned off by the blog as a magazine, and that may be one of the reasons I comment less on Mike’s and your blog. It’s always been about thought from a person, rather than a publication. It a probably also one of the aspects of John Smulo’s blog that drove me away.

Fernando Gros 13 years ago

Toni – I really appreciate your thoughts on this.

Stylistically, I’m an essayist. My writing is long, thematic and (on a good day) crafted. I know part of what keeps me going, as a blogger is that I no longer preach, or write journal articles or reviews. I’ve always loved crafting arguments in prose and the 500-2000 word essay form fits me well.

But, I hope this blog reads like one person’s thoughts and not an editorial line. I hear what you say about John’s blog. I always admired that John took the time to reply to every comment. But, it was frustrating after a while that he put questions out, but gave very little of his own views on things – especially as his views were changing.

Where I’ve always struggled, is to write about more everyday things. Partly it’s because I’ve made the decision to keep my family life mostly off the blog. But, it’s also because I struggle with finding a written voice for the kind of stuff.

Which is where Twitter comes in – because there I can post asides, everyday chatter and snapshots from around town. I know Toni that the platform doesn’t appeal to you. But, the irony is that some of the content you might want from me is going there.

Toni 13 years ago

And likewise I appreciate your reply and note with irony that many of my more recent blogposts would fit the twitter style well with only modest adjustment.

Don’t let me put you off blogging the way you want. One thing that has been an issue for me is that if I view blogs in the day it’s using a Mac. With some blogs, reading became really difficult with text smearing into impenetrable blocks (it becomes readable with intense concentration). Dark backgrounds and light coloured fonts made it worse, with one blog in particular very difficult to read.

Yes, your blog does read like a personal page, though most persons are more muddly and less crafted than you. 🙂

Fernando Gros 13 years ago

I’ve been unhappy for a while with the readability of my blog. I was doing a much better job with that 3-4 years ago. Some blogs look cool and edgy but are hard to read. I’ve pretty much decided I need to either jump off WordPress, or pay up for a paid theme and layout, if I want something that works better.

And. I’m glad the Twitter irony is not lost on you. 😉

Toni 13 years ago

Cool redesign, Fern. Love the images.

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