Friends are also telling me that nobody blogs anymore. Some of their sound bites goes like this:
“Blogs are dumb. They’re long, boring, and clumsy to read on smartphones.”
“People aren’t reading these days. They’re scanning information in bite-sized pieces.”
“Everybody is on Facebook. That’s where you need to be.”
“The era of blogs is over. We’re now living in a world of mobile apps on Android and iOS platforms.”
Are Blogs Old School?
Admittedly, I do feel a little stupid at times. After all, it isn’t easy churning out blog post after blog post every couple of days or so, come hell or high water.
(Plus, I do have a very busy and fulfilling career which entails producing lots of content too!)
For sure, blogs have somewhat lost their lustre when it comes to generating conversations. Much of the engagement and discussions online have migrated to social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus.
Like forums, people consider blogs to be somewhat “old school”.
Limitations of Blogs (and Websites with Blogs)
Comments are not that visible on blogs. Responses often lag compared to the “real time” action on the newer networks. What’s more, you can’t “like” a comment on a blog (well at least those on older platforms).
Social networks like Facebook, Flickr, Google + and Instagram are also superior to blogs for photographs. With their ability to push pictures right up front, these networks are a boon for photography enthusiasts (which is like almost.. err.. everybody).
These platforms also allow you to tag, share, and organise your pictures into galleries quickly and efficiently, without having to tangle with the HTML re-sizing, cutting and pasting on blogs.
More recently, social networks have started introducing short video stories and live video streaming capabilities. Now trying doing that on a blog!
With so much stacked against blogs, why are people still blogging? More specifically, why am I still blogging?
For a start, I do enjoy the flexibility of blogs in accommodating a wide range of content in any shape or size. I love the ability to write in a fairly largish empty white space, spilling digital ink on a fairly empty electronic canvas.
I also relish how I can embellish my blog post with photos, videos and other content as and when I like. While other social platforms may excel in inculcating interaction, blogs are unparalleled in providing a richer content experience.
Superior Archival and Search Functions
Blogs are also far easier to search and to archive old content. I can locate an old blog post fairly easily based on keywords and dates.
Try doing that with a Facebook photo or a tweet that you’ve shared 2 years ago!
Blogs are Great for SEO
Fortunately for social media old fogeys like me, Google still loves blogs.
Unlike other more static online properties, a website with a blog tends to get updated more frequently due to the ease of doing so. This sends the right signals to Google and other search engines that the website is active.
Beyond that, longer blog articles (like those which are 1,500 words and above) tend to rank better when it comes to search.
While Facebook is the most heavily used social network, it is still a walled garden (albeit a humungously ginormous one).
(More on writing content for SEO purposes here.)
Your Own Piece of Digital Real Estate
Finally, and most importantly, my blog is a piece of digital real estate that I can truly call my own – especially now that I’ve upgraded my blog into a full-fledged website.
While LinkedIn does a brilliant job in connecting me to other professionals and in documenting my career achievements over the years, it isn’t meant to serve as a content platform.
Ditto for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube or other social networks.
No, Blogs are Far from Dead
To answer the question in the headline then, I would say that blogs aren’t dead. Not by a long shot.
While some of their shine may have been dimmed by newer, shinier, and brighter objects, I believe that blogs will still be a solid anchor of the social media landscape.
These days, blogs have also evolved to become more like magazines. Similarly, what used to be called a “blog post” is now labelled as “articles”.
In a way, this mirrors the evolution of media – from printed publications, radio, television, website, blogs, social networks, apps and other content platforms.
Each successive generation of content platform will diminish the one before. However, I do not see them sounding the death knell of previous platforms so long as these continue to offer value to consumers in their own unique ways.
Do you agree with me?
PS – I actually blogged about the death of blogging almost 6 years ago following a post by Steve Rubel in 2007. The fact that both of us are still actively blogging shows that we’re both wrong!