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If This Is Monday, It Must Be Time for Another ‘Death of Blogging’ Story

Posted on | February 21, 2011 | 33 Comments

A few weeks ago, it was “The End of Blogging.” Now the New York Times offers the latest reiteration of this year’s hot meme, “Blogs Wane as the Young Drift to Sites Like Twitter“:

Like any aspiring filmmaker, Michael McDonald, a high school senior, used a blog to show off his videos. But discouraged by how few people bothered to visit, he instead started posting his clips on Facebook, where his friends were sure to see and comment on his editing skills.
“I don’t use my blog anymore,” said Mr. McDonald, who lives in San Francisco. “All the people I’m trying to reach are on Facebook.”
Blogs were once the outlet of choice for people who wanted to express themselves online. But with the rise of sites like Facebook and Twitter, they are losing their allure for many people — particularly the younger generation. . . .
Former bloggers said they were too busy to write lengthy posts and were uninspired by a lack of readers. Others said they had no interest in creating a blog because social networking did a good enough job keeping them in touch with friends and family.
Blogging started its rapid ascension about 10 years ago as services like Blogger and LiveJournal became popular. So many people began blogging — to share dieting stories, rant about politics and celebrate their love of cats — that Merriam-Webster declared “blog” the word of the year in 2004. . . .
Blogs went largely unchallenged until Facebook reshaped consumer behavior with its all-purpose hub for posting everything social. Twitter, which allows messages of no longer than 140 characters, also contributed to the upheaval. . . .
Kim Hou, a high school senior in San Francisco, said she quit blogging months ago, but acknowledged that she continued to post fashion photos on Tumblr. “It’s different from blogging because it’s easier to use,” she said. “With blogging you have to write, and this is just images. Some people write some phrases or some quotes, but that’s it.” . . .
Toni Schneider, chief executive of Automattic, the company that commercializes the WordPress blogging software, explains that WordPress is mostly for serious bloggers, not the younger novices who are defecting to social networking. . . .
“There is a lot of fragmentation,” Mr. Schneider said. “But at this point, anyone who is taking blogging seriously — they’re using several mediums to get a large amount of their traffic.”

(Via Memeorandum.) So what is being explained in this week’s “Death of Blogging” story is that people who just want to post videos or photos or whatever, for a readership composed primarily of their personal friends, are using Facebook or Twitter instead of blogging software. But casual cat-blogging and social networking (i.e., creating a personal site to tell your friends what’s going on in your life) have nothing to do with the kind of news/politics/current-events aggregation, commentary and citizen journalism that made “blog” the Word of the Year in 2004.

If blogging is dead, how come the traffic at this blog keeps steadily increasing? Shameless blogwhoring, that’s why. Schneider’s comment about “using several mediums to get a large amount of [blog] traffic” is something I’ve been doing from the get-go. This post will go out via Twitter and Facebook, and there’s a “share” function at the bottom where readers can send it to their own networks.

But I’ll also use that Web 1.0 technology, e-mail, to send the link to Instapundit, whose blog is neither dead nor on the wane.

UPDATE:Dan Riehl says:

The [New York Times] wants blogs to go away so badly, they consistently look for ways to suggest that’s the case. Having been out here for 7 years, the reality is, they are doing better than ever. The medium is simply maturing.

An analogy about “wheat” and “chaff” might come in handy here. Dan links Scott Rosenberg at WordYard, who says:

The technology press has been keen on the “blogging is dead” (or “dying”) meme for some time now, but it’s tough to find actual data or evidence supporting the notion.

As with previous iterations of this meme, a lot hinges on what you mean by the term “blog.”  The New York Times seems to be using a rather narrow, specific meaning — a personal site using blog software — when that definition doesn’t fit, for example, Red State or Hot Air. If there is less blogging about “look at these silly pictures of my kitten” because Facebook is now getting the silly-kitten-photo action, OK. But that’s not “the Death of Blogging.”

I’m looking forward to “The Death of ‘The Death of Blogging’ Articles.”

UPDATE II: Welcome, Instapundit readers! Refutation is so easy.

UPDATE III: Bruce McQuain at Q&O gives the NYT a good pimp-slapping.


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