The Demise of BloggingDecember 13, 2006
PR blogger Steve Rubel looked at some statistics yesterday that suggest blogging’s upward curve may be starting to falter. While the number of blogs continues to increase, the average number of posts per day is “cresting” as he puts it. Frankly, I don’t know that his post makes a very statistically convincing argument that blogging is peaking, but I still think he’s probably right. His accompanying thought that the influence of blogs is increasing even if the numbers start to flag makes sense, too.
The question that this post raises, of course, is, why? Why would blogging be starting down the other side of the slope? Here are some ideas:
Blogging is Going Pro – In the beginning, blogging was amateur hour, and a lone voice could become highly influential in the blogosphere, which of course would incite amateurs to blog even more. As the phenomenon of blogging matures, the pros are taking over. Blogs that are spinoffs from traditional media and new blog networks consisting of paid bloggers (poorly paid but paid nonetheless) are upping the ante in terms of what a blog can be. As the paid pros rush in and start to actually break news, their blogs become the “go to” places for the latest scoop. The Internet only needs so many blogs about celebrities or politics that simply echo the news and thoughts of those who are doing it professionally. How long would you continue to air a public access news show when you have no way to gather news except rehashing what the big guys already reported? There’s no audience in it and no fun either.
Bloggers Have Less to Say Than They Thought – How many times have you run across an interesting blog that quickly goes dull? Why does that happen? Because bloggers start out full of gusto, say all the big things that are in their head that they’d like to share, and then they realize they don’t have any more to say. Their posts devolve from analysis of the human condition or at least quirky observations about their co-workers into making snarky comments about obscure news items. After a while, they quit.
Blogging is a Time Waster – This is not to say it’s necessarily a waste of time. However, to really say anything of value in a blog takes some time. If a blogger wants a real audience, it takes time to think of things to write about and then time to actually write about those things. If you want to build an audience, you have to post frequently, which takes time. Posting frequently is especially important if the blogger does not have any particular qualifications to discuss politics, business, sports, etc. Malcolm Gladwell can blog once a month; you can’t.
Take those ideas together and blogging is a time-intensive practice that usually results in few people reading your words and no money coming your way, either. If you don’t have the time, resources and desire to become a “pro”, then you will likely tire of blogging and stop it altogether. (And feel very good afterwards when you realize all the extra time you now have to actually go outside or maybe even take a nap.)
That’s not to say the amateur blogger is going anywhere. There will still be plenty of people that blog as a way to reach a small circle of friends, or blog mostly about very specific subjects that allow them to be part of a group of like-minded people. In other words, niche bloggers will continue to exist. But, over time, the average person who picks up blogging to spout off about whatever comes to mind will disappear back into the real world for more interesting and worthwhile pursuits, with their blogger blogs still existing and being counted but being the equivalent of online ghost towns.
Just because anyone can become a publisher doesn’t mean that everyone will or should. And if they do, a large proportion are going to decide it’s not worth the effort. Thus the demise of blogging as a large-scale activity will be upon us in the next couple of years.
When the shakeout is over, there will be more quality and less quantity. That’s not a bad thing at all.
e-mail me: email@example.com
Adam Jusko is founder and CEO of Bessed, a Web site promising “search without spam”, thanks to human-edited search results and ongoing visitor feedback. Do a search, offer your comments, submit your site–help create the “bessed” search site in the world.