Cathedral tombstones

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For the past couple of years, people have been asking if blogging is now dead. Now, as you read this blog post, you might expect that if I took the time to write it, I probably don't agree. And I don't. But the "blogging is dead: crowd does have a point--I just don't think the situation is as extreme as they say.

Now, I could go ahead and list all the reasons that blogging is not dead, but truthfully, that misses the point. The reason that people love to declare things dead runs deeper than some analytical look at the pros and cons. What's really happening here is simple human nature's interest in finding the answer.

We all do it at one time or another. In our need to simplify, we tend to make things a bit too simple. So we veer from, "Everyone needs a blog" to "Blogging is dead" in less time that it took to put up an averaged-sized building. Our planning horizons in marketing seem so short nowadays that we don't have a minute to put things in perspective.

So, yes, Twitter and Facebook status updates have made blogging less essential than it was just a few years ago. You no longer see blog posts that riff off someone else's post, because people just link to that post on Twitter. For people for whom blogging was too long a form to stick with, Facebook status updates are more manageable.

But blogs aren't "dead" any more than TV is dead. And TV didn't kill off radio either. As each new media form comes along, it makes all the previous forms somewhat less important, because each of us has only so much time in the day to create those forms and (more importantly) to consume them. So we probably watch less TV than before the Internet came along, and yes, we probably read fewer blogs now that we monitor Twitter.

So, now that 140-character updates are all the rage, we'll actually have to have a reason to write blog posts. We'll need reasons to read them. We won't just be doing it because it is the new new thing. We'll have to figure out what they are really good for.

So, rather than blogging being dead, I think it just emerged from adolescence, where instead of being the thing that "all the kids are doing," now we need to find the true business purpose for our blogs so they are used when needed, just like every other kind of media. Here's betting that blogs do find an important place for years to come.

If you have a business that depends on providing expertise, it's hard to beat blogging as a way to show off what you know. Contrast the impact that a blog has to influence opinion over a 140-character tweet. That will certainly keep some people (including me) blogging for the foreseeable future.

What other purposes for blogging are there? That's what we all need to figure out now. Because if your business can benefit from blogging, it makes sense to keep doing it, or to start doing it, even if blogging is no longer the flavor of the month.

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September 24, 2009





Mike is an expert in search marketing, search technology, social media, publishing, text analytics, and web metrics, who regularly makes speaking appearances.

Mike's previous appearances include Text Analytics World, Rutgers Business School, SEMRush webinar, ClickZ Live.

Mike also founded and writes for Biznology, is the co-author of Outside-In Marketing (with James Mathewson) and the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (now in its 3rd edition, and sole author of Do It Wrong Quickly, named by the Miami Herald as one of the 11 best business books of 2007.






Comments(15)

When I read the title of this blog I clicked my way in ready to start a verbal battle about how you are wrong. But just like the so overused old saying states, "Never judge a book by its cover". After reading this article I would have to say it is very well written and I totally agree.
The internet is still such an infant and so much more to go. Blogging is not dead.

Brian Dainis

I work in the direct mail industry and I keep hearing that direct mail is dead because "everyone" is online now. Statistics show this is not even close to true.

What I've found is that those who say these things generally have an agenda. I recently read a post on a blog that direct mail is dead. It was written by a guy who sells courses on writing for online clients. I posted a comment noting that direct mail is not dead, and of course the blogger never approved the post.

DVDs didn't kill movies. Computers didn't create a paperless office. And social media won't kill blogs.

I agree with you as well because blogging is still going strong and I've started to write my own blogs now and I will keep doing so. As Brian said, there is still so much more to go and blogging will keep going for a long time.

How many so called blogs are really blogs? Blogs have just moved on. They are no longer restricted to the boring ramblings of people with nothing better to do with their time. They are now a way for corporations to communicate, for ideas to spread, to conversation to take place. I guess you need to define what a blog is before deciding if it is alive or not.

Hi Jon,

I'm not sure blogs were ever restricted to boring ramblings. If they had been, they'd never have been important. But you're right to say that blogs can be used for many different purposes, just as a Web page can or a tweet.

I think it depends on your goals. If you are launching a blog just to make money it might be kind of tough but if your blog is the voice of your brand or your business than that it doesn't matter if blogging is dead or not.

I'd argue blogging is better off now than it has ever been. Facebook is brilliant from a bloggers perspective because it corrals all the inane babble from millions of users and essentially removes them from the Internet behind the Facebook wall. Instead of blathering on and on about how much they hate cleaning up after their sick cat in a blog, they have taken it to Facebook to share only with friends. All the micro-blogging sites, in aggregate, also remove similarly inane chit-chat from proper blogs and can serve as heralds for really good articles on blogs. What you are left with are blogs with some meat on them, and bloggers realize viewers expect more when they do show up to read.

On the other hand, I'm sure there are advertisers seeing declines in blog networks as people leave to go to Facebook et al. From their perspective, blogs may appear in decline...because they can't monetize babble as readily.


Excellent point, Brian, that social networks are better designed for the personal stuff that would bore the public and blogs are now reserved for more interesting topics. Well said.

Great post, I agree...blogging is a must for any business looking to make headway online with marketing and SEO. Excellent read, forwarding to friends!

Mike - Nice work. Blogging is now moving into a spot in the culture that will be better suited for it. Long form writing is difficult for many to produce and others to find time to digest while mainstream media can't figure out what it wants to be when it grows up. Blogs are a place where a voice can be heard with some level of thought but not overkill. It's a jpurnalistic "tweener" of sorts.

At the same time a good blog post is a true conversation starter like this one. Imagine the difference in response if you simply tweeted "Blogs Aren't Dead - They have just grown up and are finding their place". There would be short bursts of everything ranging from agreement to vitriol. I actually find that the Twitter and Facebook culture can be more negative because of the ability to simply disagree without needing to explain yourself. Blogs encourage more thought development.

Anyway, thanks for the thoughtful post. Keep blogging!

Thanks, Frank. I like your idea that it's a "tweener" and that makes it harder for people to categorize. You're right that the longer form isn't for everyone. just as Twitter isn't either. We each must look at our strengths and weaknesses and what our business needs and then do what seems to be working.

Excellent article!

I think blogging can only benefit businesses who want to achieve success in the long term towards SEO. 140-characters cannot replace a detailed blog entry that contains significant content, thus keywords and useful keyphrases.

Blogging is far from dead as you point out. Used in conjunction with Social marketing links, blogs offer savvy entrepreneurs an unfair advantage over their less savvy (lazy) competitors. Thanks for the blog.

Blogging will never come to dead. But the thing is the Competition is very less in blogging nowadays

I agree... blogs are definitely not dead. If anything, technology is making them easier and easier to use. Nowadays, somebody can throw a blog up in a couple of hours. It's pretty amazing when you think about it.

Cheers-
Derek

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