Home » Advertising-Promotion-Marketing, Social Media » The Rise and Fall of the Blog

The Rise and Fall of the Blog

4 January 2018

From JSTOR Daily:

New York Times writer Nicholas Kristof was one of the first to start blogging for one of the most well-known media companies in the world. Yet on December 8th, he declared his blog was being shut down, writing, “we’ve decided that the world has moved on from blogs—so this is the last post here.”

The death knell of blogs might seem surprising to anyone who was around during their heyday. Back in 2008, Daniel W. Drezner and Henry Farrell wrote in Public Choice, “Blogs appear to be a staple of political commentary, legal analysis, celebrity gossip, and high school angst.” A Mother Jones writer who “flat out declared, ‘I hate blogs’…also admitted, ‘I gorge myself on these hundreds of pieces of commentary like so much candy.’”

Blogs exploded in popularity fast. According to Drezner and Farrell, in 1999, there were an estimated 50 blogs dotted around the internet. By 2007, a blog tracker theorized there were around seventy million. Yet, a popular question today is whether blogs still have any relevance. A quick Google search will yield suggested results, “are blogs still relevant 2016,” “are blogs still relevant 2017,” and “is blogging dead.”

. . . .

Today, writers lament the irrelevance of blogs not just because there’s too many of them; but because not enough people are engaging with even the more popular ones. Blogs are still important to those invested in their specific subjects, but not to a more general audience, who are more likely to turn to Twitter or Facebook for a quick news fix or take on current events.

Explains author Gina Bianchini as she advises not starting a blog, “2017 is a very different world than 2007. Today is noisier and people’s attention spans shorter than any other time in history…and things are only getting worse. Facebook counts a ‘view’ as 1.7 seconds and we have 84,600 of those in a day. Your new blog isn’t equipped to compete in this new attention-deficit-disorder Thunderdome.”

Link to the rest at JSTOR Daily

Advertising-Promotion-Marketing, Social Media

24 Comments to “The Rise and Fall of the Blog”

  1. 2018 marks the tenth year of my blog. I was on Facebook and Twitter for years, but after the last two death threats on Facebook and the level of incivility on Twitter I withdrew from the fray, leaving those battles to someone else. The death threats I NEVER understood. I write fiction for heaven’s sake.

    I rarely talk writing on my blog and I don’t pepper it with ads for my books. I talk about stuff that interests my readership: life, family, TV, popular culture, relationships, dogs and other pets, and books. It’s a friendly place because politics is not allowed. Nor is rudeness.

    I’ll keep maintaining it as long as people keep visiting.

  2. Blogs were replaced by social networks, and now they have been replaced by Youtube, or ‘vlogs’.

    I still think a good old fashioned URL domain based blog for an author can be useful, and serve as a portal for everything they are doing, whether that be talking about their daily lives/writing or a shop front for their content.

  3. Well, the NYT has decided ‘the world has moved on from blogs’ … I guess it’s time we all packed up our bags. Nothing to see here. Move along.

  4. I’ve had my WordPress blog since December 2011 and it’s going strong because, unlike the NYT, I’ve never aimed for ‘blockbuster’ status. Like Karen Ranney, above, my blog is home for me and a community of friends, acquaintances and people who just drop in looking for info. via a Google search.
    If I push the blockbuster analogy to its limits, blogs are becoming ‘arthouse’. 😀

  5. My blog is a simple front end for my pen name, without all the horrific crap on social media. It’s not much but if you google me it pops up. You can message me, link to my books, etc…easy peasy.

    I quit social media because it was so depressing. Addictive too. Also I get pissed and tell people to eff off all the time. Which isn’t good for business.

    I don’t need strangers having that much access to who I am. So much access they can affect my mood. Nope. Nope. Nope.

  6. If I had the New York Times for a platform, I wouldn’t bother with a blog either. Since most blogs are highly individual, it seems unlikely that any prediction will apply to more than a small segment of the blogosphere. (I hate that word so much, using it is as unavoidable as watching a train wreck.)

    Anyway, I have two blogs and I have so much fun with them, I doubt that I will quit soon.

    If anything destroys blogging, I expect it will be the disappearance of Net Neutrality. Small potatoes blogs could become too slow to tolerate.

    • Sigh. Democritus, are you NetFlix? Are you Google? iTunes? Amazon? (I will not even imagine that you run a porn video site.)

      Unless you are pushing terabytes of data down the very expensive lines of your ISP, you will not see a single bit of “throttling.” Actually, nobody will see anything like “throttling.” The companies mentioned may pay more (actually, their customers will) for building out and maintaining the multi-billion dollar systems that they are free riding on now.

      By the way, you’ve only had a decent internet connection since 2015? It was slow as molasses before Net “Neutrality?”

      • I’ve had a direct internet connection at work since 1990. At home I’ve had dial-up (blazing 110 baud to begin with), ISDN, ADSL, and good old Xfinity over the years. Each was excellent for its time. I shivered the first time I uucp’d chunks of code to and from our bedroom to a work server.

        I don’t recall that I mentioned throttling. I think more about routing, packet size limitations, tunneling, and essentially being crushed by the yottabytes pumped out by the big spenders. I’m still doing my homework on straining the politics out of the subject. Are you?

        My porn network is limited to border collies herding chickens.

    • Terrence P OBrien

      If anything destroys blogging, I expect it will be the disappearance of Net Neutrality. Small potatoes blogs could become too slow to tolerate.

      For whom has that been a problem? Net neutrality didn’t exist until 2015.

      • It is not a problem now that I am aware of, but net neutrality was established to put network access on the same level of guaranteed access as telecommunications in the face of increasing reliance on the computer network instead of the telecommunications network.

        The question for me, as a free market advocate, is whether or not the computer network access will become a choke point on the free market. Today, you can begin a website like a blog, content marketing, or other online venture with pocket change. As a consequence, anyone can float an idea or business and let the market decide.

        The danger I see is that the network infrastructure providers are under no market pressure to continue granting cheap access, even though adding the packets generated by a small blog has almost no marginal cost when they are thrown into the ocean of packets on the network. The cost only appears when the infrastructure approaches full capacity as the weak small ventures fall away and the strong grow. Then the infrastructure supplier has to make a big investment to keep their big customers happy.

        The dynamic is that the big network customers pay for the expansion, but the real impetus for the expansion comes from the small players becoming larger. It is very similar to the little guy with the push cart using the public street until he makes enough to buy a shop and starts paying property taxes.

        Maybe the market has been artificially free and should be more controlled by the big powers. Maybe we had a whiff of a free market and now it’s time to put the gate keepers back. If I were thirty years younger, I would be thinking hard on this. Actually, a lot of us were thirty or forty years ago. I remember a lot of speculation among engineers about the potential of the packet-switched network opening up free market access.

        We’ll see what happens.

        • Terrence P OBrien

          The question for me, as a free market advocate, is whether or not the computer network access will become a choke point on the free market.

          Evidence indicates it isn’t. The free market has thrived.

          • We’ve been through a remarkable period of free markets in the US, but where else one existed? Why would anyone at the top of a market not want to curtail freedom to continue their dominance? What biases the unseen hand biased toward free markets?

            • When we have actual experience with the internet, we can observe what happened, and don’t have to guess about what might happen.

              All kinds of things might happen, and our ignorance of the future can be used to justify all kinds of government restrictions. If some problem arises, it can be addressed. But there is little justification for addressing every problem that might arise because we can imagine it.

              • The only thing I can predict with any certainty is that the network will continue to change, which undermines the usefulness of past experience. I have great faith in democracy as a way to direct the community toward future good.

  7. Ashe Elton Parker

    I think someone should tell Gina Bianchini that the attention span measured for FB shouldn’t be used for all things that require a person’s attention.

  8. I keep a blog to maintain ownership of what I publish there, and then post the links on Facebook, etc. If I wrote/posted something directly on Facebook, they get a lot of ownership of that content, afaik.

  9. I’ve been blogging since 2008, first on Blogger but now on Tumblr, and the main reason why I started was directly due to censorship issues in a particular chat room forum. I originally started blogging to both avoid non-personal censorship issues and to practice my writing. While I agree it’s been cyclical over the years, I still enjoy writing and pimping my blog, mostly on FB. And I still use it to pimp my modest writing output.

  10. These “blogging is dead” articles have been around as long as blogging, and they are the same lazy generalizations as ten years ago.

    I think myself and PG started our blogs around the same time. We both went against perceived wisdom – he with multiple posts per day and short commentary under excerpts of other posts, cleverly creating a kind of self-pub/industry water-cooler; me by rowing against the perceived wisdom that no one will read more than 800 words. I think my posts average 1500-2000 words and often go longer.

    The point is, these generalizations are irrelevant. The audience is still there. People haven’t “moved” to social media (they don’t have to choose). You can build your audience by following conventional wisdom, or completely going against it.

    Blogs are still great ways to communicate, some are still insanely popular and influential. What usually happens is some company or news org gets tired of blogging, or doesn’t update their best practices and sees audience slip away, then declares blogging “dead.”

    As for social media replacing blogs, it’s not either or. Facebook and Twitter can be giant traffic sources for my blog (and PG’s too, presumably). My last post was shared almost 1000 times on Facebook using the button at the bottom of the post, and that’s not even the most shared post recently. Facebook isn’t replacing my blog, it’s amplifying it – just as in 2011. All that has changed really is the rapid growth of Facebook v Twitter as a traffic source.

    Edit: for those interested, back in 2011, Twitter drove three times the traffic to my blog that Facebook did. Now Facebook is responsible for maybe 10X the traffic of Twitter – and that’s despite me having nine or ten times as many followers on Twitter v Facebook.

  11. The fact that I am reading an article about the death of blogs on a blog probably defeats the argument.

  12. Blogs are a tool. People use tools as they need them for their own purposes. The tools don’t disappear. Neither to the reasons people use them. It wasn’t too long ago we read how FaceBook was being abandoned in favor of whatever was currently in fashion.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.