A trolling title, because “the death of x” has become an overused trope. And of course N.E.R.D.
My blog isn’t dead but it is less frequently updated – going from around twice-weekly to fortnightly to now around bi-monthly. I’m not alone, with many of the blogs I bookmark or subscribe to having become far less active. If I’d retained the same energy in blogging as I had several years ago I’d refresh my blogroll. But…
Is Clay Shirky’s utopian vision of cognitive surplus channelled not into consumption but in creation less likely to come true? It depends on definitions – creation is easier than ever. We can automate actions or post photos from our phone. Why expend more effort, when there is much media to be consumed. It is almost perverse not to want to consume media, given the surfeit of options available. I didn’t blog at all in August, because I felt my personal time was better spent catching up with box sets, reading epic fantasy novels, listening to re-formed bands, playing computer games and getting caught up in the craze of sporting events, among many other media choices. My interests are unique to me, but I found more than enough things to occupy my attention.
Some of the reasons for my blogging less frequently are particular to me – such as an internal-facing job restricting the amount of interesting work-related things I can talk about. But there also seems to be broader trends that has reduced the prominence of blogging:
- Alternatives: Online participation is getting simpler and quicker – why construct a detailed blog when you can quickly update via Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest
- Aggregators: RSS never really took off (though I still use Google Reader) and Twitter links can get swallowed by the stream. In short, it is difficult for individual blogs to surface – instead it is far easier to write a column on a widely read website, whether it be Buzzfeed, Huffington Post or a more niche site.
- Tighter corporate policies: Corporations are now savvier to social media. They will have policies, and encourage employees to channel their energies into official destinations rather than personal ones. I don’t think it is coincidental that most of the blogs I read that remain vibrant are those written by either consultants or business owners.
- No more novelty: A blog is initially filled with things people have been waiting to say for ages. Eventually, we run out of things to say. And once the novelty wears off, we try less hard to think of something to say.
- The hive mind: We gravitate towards people who have similar interests or opinions to ourselves. In blogging, that means certain topics can become a flavour of the month, and it can become difficult to add to existing noise regarding a certain topic. I referenced Cognitive Surplus earlier. I’ve never read it. Nor have I read Predictably Irrational, Groundswell, How We Decide, Thinking Fast & Slow etc. I’ve never needed to – I’ve absorbed all of the key points multiple times over from blogs on the subjects.
Blogging won’t die, and this blog won’t die. As this post proves, occasionally there is the need to write something more considered or more verbose than a tweet. But the gaps between these needs arising are becoming longer.
A few years ago I purchased a URL and some storage, with the intention of self-hosting a personal website. I never got around to transferring this blog. Sadly, it appears like I never will…
Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/helico/1568566210