We’ve talked about blogging’s premature death announcement way back in 2008, and it’s interesting for me to read how I felt back then about the future of blogging as I set here in the present. Back in 2008 I said:
Clearly, in the age of Facebook and Twitter, who needs a blog to get your ideas across, right? [but] blogging has evolved as a medium, as all media do. I don’t think this evolution will affect the old workhorses of the so-called “blogosphere,” the ones who started blogs back in 2002 or earlier, who now blog out of habit, or because they have something new and creative to share, or they have an audience of friends and acquaintances and random people who read regularly.”
In some ways i was pretty wrong and Paul Boutin, who wrote the original “Blogging is Dead” article for Wired was more spot-on than I ever thought. Long gone are the days when having “blogger” on your resume was a mark of shame. Check out the reports from Technorati’s 2009 “State of the Blogosphere“ Thousands of professional and semi professional bloggers are making a living through their blogs in ways unheard of back in 2002. Meanwhile, hobbyist bloggers have updated less and less, moving to microblogs like Twitter and Tumblr to express themselves.
This evolution has fundamentally changed what it means to be a blogger, with new bloggers jumping into the fray with the intent of making it a career direction, rather than something to do for fun or as a hobby. Which is fine, I am personally thrilled there are opportunities for individuals to create careers from their passion.
On the other hand, those bloggers that have no interest in monetizing their blog, and simply want to create a platform for their own creativity are now the outliers. Expression and inspiration threatens to take a back seat to SEO strategy and personal branding. Again, not a bad thing for professional blogs, but it is a bit sad to see the end of an era, where anyone with an original voice and a personal passion could build an audience through serendipity.
Still, I disagree that old school bloggers should hang up their hats, or that new bloggers shouldn’t bother. There is still room for original voices and new ideas in the blogosphere; it just means that hobbyist bloggers may have to work a lot harder for an audience.