One of the things I have recently discussed with Andrew Regan, formerly of Bloggers4Labour, is whether blogging is dying as a medium. I thought I might reproduce the (public domain) conversation, because it certainly got me thinking.

It all started off with Andrew bringing the closure of Mashable to my attention, followed by his initial comment:

Hmm, shame, but while RSS/Atom are essential for any kind of blog subscription/reading, the mere ability to aggregate blogs is pretty small beer these days. It’s all about: finding links; smart/collaborative filtering; discovering new content; easy in, easy out, etc. GR is pretty crap at this too, but perhaps a new generation is waiting in the wings…?

It seemed to me that this touched on something deeper:

Personal view is that the blog as a medium is dying.

Comments are drying up too, largely because facebook and twitter provide instant alternative. What has happened to politics via shorter and shorter TV slots has happened to online debate i…n just 5 years.

The exception of the dying blogs claim is the big names and famous faces – comment also seems to be concentrating. IMO, once again, this kind of destroys what is positive about the medium.

I hate to be sad about progress, but I’ve come over all Burke on this one.

I think that blogs include a lot that social media doesn’t cover, but taht the conversation is moving inexorably in this direction. I myself have tweeted hundreds of times since writing my last post.

Now I should add as a caveat that some blogs are doing well – but most of them are either written by people who are verging on genius (naming no names), or people who have put a lot of resources, sometimes other people’s, besides a substantial chunk of life into their blogs. They are not necessarily very personal – one might reflexively call them ‘websites’ rather than blogs.

I think this means we shut out up-and-comers. A few years ago (on my old blog) I wrote a post celebrating the end of Top of the Pops and the subsequent de-concentration of power over popular music and the listening habits it depends upon. On a certain level this is taking place with blogs vs Twitter or facebook, but on another level there is actually a concentration taking place. I think Left Foot Forward and Liberal Conspiracy are very good, but LibCon in particular hosts a lot of people who used to have a platform as their own, and are now semi-dependent on being noticed by Sunny, or suchlike. It’s good that I like Sunny too, but I think the general underlying trend is one of power concentrating, unhealthy for any market, I think most of us would agree – especially one where a consumer is aware of no loss when they refuse to explore their full rate of options.

2 thoughts on “Is the blog dying as a medium?

  1. I must say, my interest in blogs has dwindled since Bloggers4Labour disappeared. Maybe I just did it differently from everyone else, but I tended to go to the list of posts within the previous 24 hours and greatly enjoy seeing which topics had been picked up across the blogs aggregated there, and then going to the posts on blogs which I had previously enjoyed or on new blogs if their opening caught my eye.

    There were a lot of blogs which I visited one or two times a week that way, which I now haven’t thought to read in months. Maybe social networking sites are duplicating this now, but… it seems like it has become more insular, something you can only access if you are a part of it. I have looked at Twitter, but in the absence of the lead paragraph as offered by B4L, I’m rarely inclined to read articles just because someone else found them interesting and tweeted them.

    B4L was like a digital TV channel guide, and in the absence of that I think Labour blogging has become less accessible. Maybe it’s just me.

  2. Not Mashable, Bloglines.

    Blogs will survive which report the details accurately :-). The MSM don’t, so that gives us a niche.

    Good piece. I half-agree – but I say “Not dying, but changing”. Twas ever thus.

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