The Imminent Death Of Blogs Has Been Prematurely Announced

Jeff Utecht via Stephen Downes says:

It was a good discussion that talked about how the conversation is changing. That at a point in time we use to actually take time to read and leave comments on blog posts. Now we read, and retweet blog posts. We talked about how Twitter is the new aggregator and is replacing RSS as a way people are getting their information. On this blog for example, I have more readers that come via Twitter then I do via the RSS feed. Because of Twitters live constant scrolling feed, we also talked about how the “life span” of a blog post is shrinking. I use to get comments on a blog post lasting weeks. Now I post a blog, it gets a comment or maybe two in a the first 10 minutes, gets retweeted for about 20 minutes and then it’s old news.

To me, it sounds a bit like Jeff is seeing the end of blogs as a dominant Web 2.0 technology and I'm sure he speaks for no one but himself in his assessment of where things seem to be going. I don't disagree that connected conversation is changing but I'm not ready to write off blogs as a major platform for communication just yet. So, I'm using this "dated" technology (tongue firmly planted in cheek) to provide a alternative perspective to Jeff's statements here in the sort of slow type-out-loud way that I personally find hard to express in 140 characters or less.

...at a point in time we use to actually take time to read and leave comments on blog posts.

Well, I don't comment as much as I used to but I'm personally still reading as much as I ever have. There are some bloggers in my aggregator who have slowed down but new voices are there, ready to mix into the daily flow of connection. For me, there is still something exciting about opening up the Reader and looking into my Must Reads folder to see if anyone has posted since I last looked. I'd rather read about Dean Groom's experiences in the US in my aggregator than the hit'n'miss tweet possibilities. Twitter doesn't get you inside some one's mind like a blog post can.

We talked about how Twitter is the new aggregator and is replacing RSS as a way people are getting their information. On this blog for example, I have more readers that come via Twitter then I do via the RSS feed.

I'm not a big fan of checking out blog posts as they are tweeted. I'd much rather wait until I browse my reader - the tweet that announces a new blog post is a bit like the mobile phone ring tone when you're engrossed in a task but its urgent tone doesn't mean that it is more important than what you are currently focussed on. Obviously I'm not "people" but it could be just that I find Twitter to be much harder work than blogs for tracking, initiating and participating in conversation.

Because of Twitters live constant scrolling feed, we also talked about how the “life span” of a blog post is shrinking. I use to get comments on a blog post lasting weeks. Now I post a blog, it gets a comment or maybe two in a the first 10 minutes, gets retweeted for about 20 minutes and then it’s old news.

I'm not convinced. I think it tells a story about Jeff's readership in particular but it is a bit of a sweeping generalisation overall. In my case, comments can't be influenced by Twitter because I'm not broadcasting there. So maybe this blog attracts readers who operate in a similar fashion to myself or my content isn't based on breaking "new stuff" so it really can't get old, so to speak.

Some of this gets down to the purpose of the chosen tool. My blog is a personal opinion piece, a repository of my classroom and professional practice, a creative outlet, an idea clearinghouse and whatever takes my fancy. I like the fact it is my piece of cyberturf, a bit like staying home instead of going to hang out with others at the pub. If my blog posts have a shorter life expectancy, so what? The people who I'm interested in communictaing and connecting with will still take the time to leave me a comment or a pingback, especially in a personal network where edtech heads are not the only nodes. If you're too busy tweeting or plurking, and can't see that different technologies serve different purposes, adding to the array of communication choices not replacing them, then I guess I'll leave you to your #hashtags, your DM's and RT's, and your twitpics. And just in case I get mistaken for a Twitter basher, I use Twitter but probably in the same way someone like Jeff will. For me, it is an information stream that I dip into from time to time, and even more occasionally throw a bit into as well. For me, it just a lot of hard work to get to the level of power user, when other avenues are still extremely rewarding for me.

Hmmm... maybe I should tweet this blog post out to see if it does make a difference. Just kidding.

Cartoon from Geek And Poke.

Print Friendly

7 thoughts on “The Imminent Death Of Blogs Has Been Prematurely Announced

  1. Dragon09

    Even though I am the first to comment here it has nothing to do with Twitter.

    You post and my reading time just happened to align, like planets every thousand years or something.

    I really don’t think blogging is going away anytime soon. Sure some folk my come and some folk may go but blogging is hear to stay, certainly for a while yet.

    I truly believe that Educators along with many other professions can really share and reflect upon their experiences in the classroom, recieve comments to encourage, challenge and support them in their practise.

    Reply
  2. Graham Wegner

    Simon, I think it is about the right tool for the right job. I have yet to work out how to effectively use Twitter as a tool for reflection which I think is one of the biggest benefits of a blog. I like Twitter as my way of seeing what’s happening in people’s professional lives, their new discoveries and a bit of an always-on help desk. So when Jeff says the conversation is changing, I think the change is more of a fragmentation than a shift from one platform to another. Of course, the more avenues you have for connectedness, the more divided your time and attention is as an individual learner but the choices open up as well.

    Reply
  3. Jeff Utecht

    Hi Graham,

    We had a great discussion at NECC about this. No, I do not think that blogging is dead or that it is dying…if anything it is growing in popularity as newspapers and the rest of mainstream media try and catch up. The title “Is Blogging Dead” was just that a title to get people to come and discuss blogging.

    We did have a great 90 minute discussion at the EduBloggerCon about this and about how the conversation is changing. A lot of us agreed that the “Life span” of a blog post is getting smaller, yet search is getting better. So even though my blog post that use to be “new” for a couple days is now only new for a couple of minutes, that information is searchable faster and more accurate then ever before. Over 50% of the traffic to my blog comes from search engines, Twitter is second and RSS is third. I’ve just seen how my blog is being accessed change over the years and many at EduBloggerCon have seen similar trends. How about you? Where and how are people accessing your content?

    It was a great session that allowed us to explore what blogging is becoming. I personally will not be giving up blogging any time too soon as I use to to reflect more for my own learning than for anything else.

    Reply
  4. Graham Wegner

    Thanks for dropping by, Jeff. In the same way that your post was not aimed at denigrating blogs, I hope you realise that I’m having a crack at Twitter users. Actually I do think that Twitter’s rise can be linked to the increased capabilities of mobile technologies where a Tweet can be easily sent from just about anywhere. Blogging is painful to do in this format – tapping out this comment on my iPod Touch is a bit on the tedious side and the inclusion of links and embedded multimedia is something best done on a fuller sized computer or laptop. As for where traffic is coming from on my blog, I really don’t know. To get traffic via Twitter, I would have to be Tweeting each new blog post which I don’t do very much at all.

    I would go so far as to say that to be a productive Twitted user takes as much effort as maintaining a blog – there are those who happily take from others but sharing means pushing ideas and fresh resources in equal proportion to gleefully benefitting from the wisdom of your network.

    Reply
  5. Penny Ryder

    Great conversation happening here, guys. I’ve noticed a decline in comments at my blog in the last couple of months, but I’m not sure what it really amounts to! Maybe I’ve written enough posts now that people think of me as an ‘it’ rather than another person that they can connect with. Maybe it’s the Twitter factor. I don’t tweet every post, but I am aware that my visits spike for the ones that I do.

    Blogging (writing and reading blogs) for me is a way I keep in touch with what’s going on in the EdTech world and throw my own thoughts into the discussion. Twitter? I can’t keep up with all the updates that stream through, but I’ll drop in from time to time for a quick glimpse of what’s going on.

    It will be interesting to watch the changes over the next couple of years… 🙂

    Reply
  6. Paul Wilkinson

    Graham I love reading your posts. You are in my reader list and are one who I frequently take the time to stop and read. I have very definitely slowed down on my own posting though. When I worked as an ICT facilitator I had time to reflect and blog about things I was learning about. Now I am back in the classroom I rarely get time to think let alone blog about it. The only reason I am taking the time now is that I really do value your contributions so I’m encouraging you to keep it up. (the other reason is it is the school holidays and I have time to sit and read)

    Cheers
    Paul

    Reply
  7. Graham Wegner

    @Penny. Your approach sounds very similar to mine. Maybe one effect of Twitter is that there is less potential audience for people with young blogs as educators who discovered Twitter before blogs continue leveraging the conversation.

    @Paul. I am flattered by your kind words. I agree that being in the classroom is a massive drain on your energy and when I’m in that mode I spend more time on the specific demands of that group of kids than pondering the bigger and broader issues needed to lead my colleagues further in their thinking and practice.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *