Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

The rise of social media and the fall of blogging

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I’m still trying hard to write a new blog post for every day. At times, several ideas for blog posts come at once and so I can get several days’ worth written in one go.

This isn’t one of those times. Coming up with interesting blog posts has been difficult this week, hence yesterday’s and today’s largely reflective and apologetic posts. Which made me wonder – how was it so easy for me to publish multiple posts every day ten years ago?

Back in the halcyon days of the first part of the last decade, not only would I post a new blog post every day pretty much without fail, but two-three new posts was the norm and sometimes five or six would be possible. So if I could do it then, what has changed to make it harder to do now? I think the answer is social media.

In 2004 ‘social media’ wasn’t really a thing. Sure, blogging was popular, but there was no Twitter, Flickr had only just launched and Facebook was still just for American university students. So, for me, my blog was the only place to post anything that I wanted to share with the world.

Now that’s changed. Yesterday, not including retweets and replies, I posted eight tweets. Although many of those were also shared to Delicious, and will appear in a digest tomorrow, if I want back ten years then each of those may have been a blog post (or at least combined into one or two). Similarly, all the results of those inane quizzes that I used to would be worthy of a blog post – nowadays, they tend just get posted to Facebook (and even then only if it’s an interesting result).

So what’s left are the long blog posts, which naturally take longer to write. Which means that, when faced with the past couple of weeks when I’ve been either too busy, too tired, or not in the right frame of mind to write, it gets difficult to come up with anything.

When put this way, it’s obvious why few people maintain blog posts nowadays. Other services now provide better platforms for other content. If I want to share a photo, I’m likely to get more views and attention on either Instagram or Flickr. If I can distil my thoughts down to 140 characters, then it’s more likely to get noticed on Twitter, than it would in a one paragraph blog post. The blogging community is so small now that narcissistic people like me prefer to use other platforms for specific things, like short posts and photos, where there’s more engagement.

Is that an argument against blogging altogether? Not in my view. I still think it’s important to have your own space that you control. I could move everything over to WordPress.com or Tumblr and be part of those much larger communities, but having a place where you own and control your own words is important to me. It’s possible that in another ten years there may not be Twitter or Facebook, but this web site could still be here if I wanted it to be.

2 Comments

  1. Don’t give up

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