Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Is The Personal Blog Dead?

A little over seven years ago I started my blog. I have always been interested in writing and journaling but was never able to stick to it. Something about blogging and having an actual rather than imagined audience and getting feedback kept me writing and made my blog a lot of fun.

I still enjoy blogging (obviously) but over the past three years my frequency has dropped off considerably for various reasons. I have noticed this same trend in several of the personal blogs I try to keep up with. So, why are personal blogs withering?

The Twitter and Facebook factor has a lot to do with it. I don't think people are necessarily abandoning their blogs for Facebook, although some I know have come right out and said as much. Twitter and Facebook provide an instantaneous outlet for transient and clever thoughts. The effect of this is like nudging your BFF standing next to you and saying, "hey, check out what just flashed through my brain." And, like the chuckle he/she gives you, the feedback of the like button and comment system are comforting and addicting.

Blogging is more like being the street-corner preacher. We stand on our soap boxes and cast our prose to the winds hoping it will fall on sympathetic ears. If we're lucky, someone comes by, stays a while to listen, and maybe even strikes up a short conversation. If we're really lucky, we catch the odd commuter as he passes by every day and he gives us a little of his time as he heads to wherever he is going.

When you really think about it, blogging is difficult. You have to stop and think about exactly what you want to say and you have to construct an engaging story around that. Then, you have to hope someone cares enough about what you have to say to make and take the time to read it. Even with RSS it's a fairly passive endeavor - like going to the library.

With Twitter/Facebook, it's more like having a conversation. You throw something out there, your friends see it, take 10 seconds to read it, then put in their own 2 cents. You don't even have to direct it to them. Your friends have made the choice to listen to you. If they check on a regular basis they see your posts on a regular basis. It's all about smaller bites and easier feedback.

Professional and commercial blogs are a different animal, of course. They are more like a newspaper (some of them are newspapers). People actively seek them out for information and opinion. But who cares what Joe Fusco from Stillwater, Oklahoma has to say on a day-to-day basis? A few but not many.

Will I keep blogging? For the time being, I will. But being able to use my iPhone to immediately post a thought or observation to Facebook from wherever I might happen to be is so much easier and provides so many more opportunities.


Aunt Murry said...

FOr me it is shoved behind all the things I have going on and the fact that I can't get to the interwebs at work, which is when I have time to write. I miss it.

Anonymous said...

My brother offered a similar thought. Said he'd failed at bloggigng. I said that for me it was like failing at writing a diary. It's a thing you do for yourself first, and if others read great.