“Is Blogging Dead?”
That question pops up periodically on blogs and Facebook. Huh? I must confess, as a prolific blogger, I am always a bit bewildered when I encounter it. My experience tells me that blogging is as big, if not bigger, than ever. I started blogging in 2008 and the amount of blogs out there has quadrupled since then. (This is not based on anything scientific, mind you, just my observations. Perhaps they’ve only tripled.)
One reason cited is that, in general, commenting seems to be down. That may be. Certainly the amount of comments on any given post on this blog ebbs and flows. Sometimes I get a handful of comments. At other times, usually on a more thought-provoking post, the amount of comments greatly increases. Makes sense to me. Here’s what has changed for me since I started blogging: I read more blogs, I seem to have less free time, I post every day and I simply cannot comment as much as I used to. I feel guilty about that because one of the things I prided myself on in the early days was the fact that I commented a lot. There’s always a twinge of guilt just beneath the surface. I try to make up for that when I have a chunk of free time and I can visit everyone. All this is to say that we are all busy people. We comment when we can. I don’t find the comment issue to mean anything more than that. I know that a lot of people read my blog that never leave a comment. And that’s okay. I’m writing for you. I’m writing for me. But let’s face it, not every post is earth-shattering. My garden is pretty, but how many times can you leave a comment on another New Dawn rose? I don’t expect you to.
I also think the proliferation of social media has something to do with it, as well. Too many little or big devices, too many other distractions like Twitter and Facebook and Pinterest. It’s very easy to find yourself overwhelmed by it all. If you’re tweeting, or Facebooking, or whatever, you’re going to have less time to leave a comment on a blog post.
But, and this is a big but, there is no way on earth that a 140 character tweet or a status update on Facebook can even begin to take the place of a blog. I’m sorry. It ain’t happening. I’ve read that certain bloggers are now more ‘into’ Facebook and Twitter. Maybe it has to do with a lack of available time and the allure of the quick update. I suspect it’s generational. (I could and probably will write a post on the disappearing attention span out there. I find it very distressing.) If your world is that of sound bites, then you probably will like tweeting more than blogging.
That’s not my world. I use Facebook, yes, but I really only scan it once a day to leave a birthday greeting or see if anything momentous has happened to one of my friends. I can count the number of times I’ve tweeted anything on one hand. Yes, I know it is now the recommended thing to get your blog “out there.” I’m not saying it works or doesn’t work. I have no idea. It’s just not for me or, I suspect, this blog.
I’d rather put my energy into writing something more than 140 characters or a status update. Yes, these are all valid forms of communication in the 21st century but at what cost? Heads buried in smart phone keyboards, constant texting, twitter updates – it all seems to be condensing real communication into something that obscures and hides who we really are. And that fills up our moments with keystrokes.
If I’m going to write a blog, I want it to be more than pictures or quick sound bites. I want to share – share me, my life, my observations, my work, my home, family and passions. And sharing those things that I love takes more than a quick update. I’m a writer. I love to talk. If I can’t talk to you face-to-face, the best way of communicating, then I will try to write a post that reflects who I am and shares a part of me. Just as if we’re having a conversation – but an in-depth conversation. It takes time to write a good post, as all of you know. It takes planning and writing and re-writing. It requires my heart and mind.
From what you’ve shared with me over the years, it seems as if, though we are drawn to all kinds of blogs, the ones we keep coming back to are those where the writer shares the good and the bad, the ups and downs of life. That takes a willingness on the part of the writer to be real. To open up. And, yes, I could tweet something like “Our septic system is screwed up” and add the appropriate @ and #hash tags, but all that extraneous stuff only serves to muddy up the thought. It becomes about what hash tag you use, what you can do to get people to read your (now even shorter in terms of word choices) tweet.
Like so many other things in our tech crazy world, it serves as a distraction and keeps us from really sharing. So while I use it when necessary, for a BlogHer post that requires tweeting, for example, I tend to stay away from it.
I want readers to come to this blog who aren’t averse to reading words. Yes, I love my photos and I am proud to be a good photographer, but the words are what count. I suspect that those readers out there who are more inclined to use Twitter and Facebook are not the ones who keep coming back to this blog. They’ll say my posts are too long or that I talk too much. That’s fine. There’s a big old tech world out there full of different types of blogs.
But I like reading. And I like writing. And, obviously, so does a lot of the blog reading public out there. In the end, I don’t think you can truly compare blogging, tweeting and Facebooking. It’s like the old apples and oranges thing. They’re completely different. Some will prefer the apple which takes a little time to eat, others will like the quick munch of a raisin or two.
So when I see that question, “Is blogging dead?” I think the real question for whoever raised it in the first place is “Am I tired of blogging, and do I prefer a quick something or other that I can read on my smartphone or tablet?” Or something like that. It’s about a personal choice rather than the larger picture.
I don’t see blogging going away anytime soon. Do you?