Thursday, May 03, 2007

Decline of the Blog?

Earlier in April, I posted about abandoned blogs, and I chastised myself for not posting enough.

This really got me thinking about why people abandon blogs, and about the future of communications media. My daughter Laura once outlined the history of communications (she’s a book person) to me in terms of who’s writing and who’s reading:

One to Few
--Before the printing press, communication was essentially one-to-one. Though books would circulate, there was a small literate audience, and books were not mass-produced.

One to Many
--The advent of the printing press made books a form of one-to-many communication: an author could reach an audience of thousands in one print run. This was considered the normal form of communication with other technologies, including tv, newspapers, radio, and film. One person (or a select group) would create a message, which would then be transmitted to a wide audience.

Many to Many
--New technologies encourage many-to-many communication. Blogging is a forum where anyone can author. Wikis encourage vast participation. This could be considered a democratization of knowledge production, because many people can now produce, but there is also a backlash because some people are worried about the validity of the sources that they read.

--Some blogs are of interest to a large segment of the population. Other blogs, like this one, have a more specialized audience. But even smaller blogs are out there where people write only for their friends (these are not linked to, and many blog writers do not expect anyone else to read their blogs except for friends). Though the Globe and Mail says that blogs are being abandoned at a staggering rate, Perseus claims that the majority of blogs are written by teenage girls and update twice a month to keep in touch with friends and family. This is not to say that many blogs are not being abandoned regularly, this is often the case, but I just wanted to put things in perspective. You must take it with a grain of salt that over a million blogs have been created, and after the initial post, there is no more updating. This is hardly considered an abandoned blog, because it’s not even quite a blog in the first place. These blogs—one-entry wonders and teenage lifetools—are quite different than the blogs I read each day and the blog sphere that I interact with. It seems to me that if these are being abandoned, we have to assume that it is simply growing pains, and not a sign that blogs will no longer be viable communication tools in the future.

And I am not abandoning my blog but am traveling for a week so might not post.


At 12:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jim,

I'd like to add to your analogy another similar example. When the dot com boom happened in the late 90's and early 2000's everycompany was trying to get on board. Advocates indicated that if you wanted to survive in business you better be prepared to do all your business over the web.

At the time a lot of companies put significant resources into creating dot com businesses which were designed to be online communities. The majority failed. The supposed dot com craze died by early 2001 or 2002. However it really didn't die. Making it work was just not as easy as we all thought.

Today most of us will agree that the Google's, Amazon's hit it big, but now we are seeing the real dot com boom through myspace, youtube, facebook and online communities. The dot com boom has actually been very successful.

Blogging as far as I'm concerned is here to stay, however it seems that business and media don't fully understand where it fits.

Ease of entry is quite often the attraction but consistent blogging requires discipline, a plan and constant ideas.

Maybe it's not as easy as we all thought.

For personal purposes blogging is whatever one wants to make of it. For business blogging is a potentially a tool that will allow companies to better connect to customers plus it can potentially be a personal tool that keeps employees focused and organized.

At 5:18 PM, Blogger Uncle Ralph said...

Hi Jim,
Interesting historical perspective on blogging and I agree that many people trying and abandoning it doesn't invalidate the value to others.
It took me a while to "get it" and find a rationale that works for me. It's a good personal discipline to develop ideas and writing skills and also a way to build content and awareness as an "expert". Other purposes will suit other bloggers.
Keep it up.
Regards, Del Chatterson.

At 8:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi All,

That very true what you've said about the dot com boom kevin.

As for blogging in general, it truly is a discipline that takes time and effort, which, like running your own business should be something you enjoy doing and you enjoy the fruits rather than something which is done just because everyone else is doing it.

Keep up the blogging! :)


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