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Blogging is Dead

Yes, you read that right. Blogging is dead. Over. Done. Time to move on…

Blogging is dead

What's next?

(take that deep breath, now… and then read on)

My almost-16-year-old son enjoys teasing me whenever something happens in my life with the phrase, “Oh, are you going to blog about it? Better blog about it!” Today, I thought about what his general disdain meant, aside from the normal teen angst part. It’s not that he doesn’t “get” blogging or that no one around him (other than me, natch) has a blog. It’s that he doesn’t think that way about connections. Blogging is not real time, and that’s how he connects to his life and his friends.

Think about this with me… in 10 years, he and millions of other kids who were born at the dawning of the Internet age (1995… we got our first home computer and signed up with AOL), will be the backbone of the work force. And they aren’t going to wake up in 5 or 10 years and decide they’d better blog about it. Teens don’t connect the same way adults do today for the same reasons that have been true for, well, ever. The connections of your average teen are primarily to those people who are part of said teen’s daily life. Friends from school, work, church, family and extended family, neighborhood friends. These are the people a teen is able to see on a regular basis without assistance. They’re people he or she knows personally for some reason.

Today, the primary way teens connect seems to be mobile text. They don’t email, and they don’t IM unless its through an app on their phones. They don’t like being tied to their computer for connectivity and the phone is (perceived at least) to be more private. So, what happens when their world expands in a few years, and connections to people they may not know well (or at all) personally become important? And they will, of course… digital connection is highly likely to remain a staple of business and personal networks. I asked my son what he thought. After all, it was his comment that started this train of thought. He said he enjoyed talking with his friends through his Playstation 3. When I asked why, he responded… because we’re all talking on a shared line, and we’re playing the same game at the same time. In other words, I said, it’s a shared real-time experience.

That is the “next big thing” I think. Let’s fast forward for a minute. My son wants to be a cave biologist when he grows up. Let’s follow his older, employed (please, Lord!) self on a trip to South America. Somewhere in a remote cave, he discovers a new species of cave beetle. Excited, he pings his network of subscribers that he’s on with a live feed. Everyone, everywhere who subscribes to him (because they find him relevant to their work, life, love, or interest) has the option of joining in to see his find, talk to him and to each other, and drop off the feed whenever they choose. A shared, real-time experience with a self-selected community. The community might include colleagues, friends and family, co-workers, supporters, interested persons, or, if he’s allowed it for this feed, complete strangers.

Think of your Google Reader, except the feeds are now opting-in to notifications of shared experiences happening real time, or the option to review and comment or share later on, or one-to-one. You opt in to someone’s life, in other words. Whatever portions of it they choose to share, and you choose to see or experience with them.

That all said… my son’s school is now incorporating blogging into the regular curriculum. When public education embraces a cultural movement and begins to teach it, it’s the death knell for the cool factor. So yeah, blogs like this one, and like yours… our days are numbered. But don’t stop blogging, because it’s going to take a good long while for the millenials to figure out how exactly they want to communicate with their expanding worlds, and even longer for the rest of the world to figure out how to harness the idea for business and for Google juice. Not blogging now would be like going back to 1985 and deciding that because cable TV was gaining ground, no one should advertise on broadcast TV ever again. Blogging is one of the best ways, today, for people, businesses and brands to build community, share expertise, listen, learn and connect. But tomorrow is coming, and we should already be thinking about what’s next, AB (after blogs).

What do you think… what is next? How do you see tomorrow’s connectivity happening, and how long is the horizon before we get there?

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19 Responses to “Blogging is Dead”

  1. Greg Taylor September 2, 2010 at 3:15 pm #

    If blogging is dead, creating great content is coming alive.

  2. Heidi Cool September 2, 2010 at 4:12 pm #

    I think shared real-time experiences are only one part of the communication picture. We’re also seeing a growth in time-shifting technologies.

    While e-mail is the most obvious, we’re now using Hulu to watch shows when we want instead of just when they are scheduled. Podcasts/vodcasts let us take that a step further when we download content that we can transfer to our iPods and other devices so we can listen/watch not only whenever, but also where-ever. Twitter gives us both worlds. We can post and respond to others at our leisure, or we can join in Twitter real-time chats.

    I think both real-time and time-shifting technologies are important to the way we communicate. Sometimes we need real-time for instant feedback. Other times we need to ignore the disruptive services so that we can concentrate on our other work. Then we can attend to them later as time allows.

    In other words, long live blogging!

    • Mandy Vavrinak September 2, 2010 at 4:17 pm #

      Heidi, I agree we’ll always need a way to filter for time in addition to relevance, and Hulu, etc., is a great example of how we opt in to content but control when we consume it.
      I guess I’m saying that the day is coming when blogs (in their current form) won’t be the “hub” of online content they often are now.

      And Greg, yes… Content is coming into it’s own and people are changing the way they think about everyday events & happenings.

  3. Mack Collier September 2, 2010 at 4:26 pm #

    Hi Mandy, interesting perspective! I don’t think blogging is dying, but I do think behaviors are changing, based partly on the functionality of new tools, and also on the PEOPLE using those tools.

    But at the end of the day, and more often than not, most people will follow everyone else. I remember using Prodigy in 1990 and LOVING it. The people there were amazing and incredibly friendly. The problem was, the user base was so small, everyone left to more active places like CompuServe and later AOL.

    A couple of years ago, I loved Plurk, because of the quirky functionality, but also for a few months, most of my closest network was there. When they all eventually migrated back to Twitter, I followed.

    I don’t think there will come a time when blogs will ‘die off’, at least not in the foreseeable future. Sure, they aren’t as popular now as they were in 2004-2006 when they were pretty much the only game in town. But as much as I love Twitter and other ‘short-form messaging’ tools, I can’t see a time when I won’t enjoy writing and reading blogs like this.

    • Mandy Vavrinak September 2, 2010 at 4:33 pm #

      Mack, I hope blogs don’t die off! I rather enjoy mine, and yours, for that matter! And I agree the shift, in whatever form it takes, will be driven by people. I don’t think it’s coming anytime soon, either. But I think it WILL come, because people have a need to go deeper in some areas and are beginning to pull back in others. Blogging lets me think out loud, and hear other’s thoughts and then, hopefully, at least, think some new thoughts based on the sharing. But I think it’s the sharing and thinking that is the hook and not the format. I can’t wait to see what my kid comes up with… I told him it was his job to figure it out! 😉

  4. Andy Mathis September 2, 2010 at 4:36 pm #

    I sort of see his point.

    I find myself blogging less, and sharing more on facebook and twitter. Mainly because it takes less time vs. crafting a blog post.

    I also find myself reading less blogs. Or reading the blog posts that others are sharing on twitter or facebook.

    • Mandy Vavrinak September 2, 2010 at 4:40 pm #

      Andy, why do you think you’re reading more of the posts that are shared on FB or Twitter? (curious to hear your thoughts, no agenda in this question). Relevance, and how we choose what we listen or see, is a big theme of mine. Always interested to hear how and why people filter content.

  5. David Spinks September 2, 2010 at 5:36 pm #

    I definitely don’t think blogging is dying any time soon.

    I think it’s changing, just as it always has. When I was in high school (until 2005) people were using more sites like livejournal and deadjournal. We were still playing online video games and we were obsessed with AIM.

    So both real time connections as well as broadcasting content was still happening.

    I don’t think that your son is necessarily representative of a big trend (no offense intended). We still see many kids his age blogging, some of them actually becoming very successful. In multiple formats too! We see video bloggers on youtube, we see tumblr becoming bigger and bigger.

    So yes, while the space is changing just as it always has, the concept behind blogging isn’t going anywhere.

    David, Scribnia

    • Mandy Vavrinak September 2, 2010 at 7:33 pm #

      Hey, David… thanks for reading and commenting. I agree my kid is only representative of himself (and, since he’s a teen, that isn’t even a static concept!). However, I would say that your experience and his will be different… 8 years didn’t mean that much as far as fundamental changes in how one experiences the world 20, or even 10, years ago; but now 8 years may be two or three major tech evolutions’ worth of difference. And yes, there are teens blogging and being very successful… there are standouts in any and every field of endeavor. My thoughts are that the vast majority of 15 year olds, though, aren’t blogging. And may not ever start. By the time they are ready for larger connections, how they do it will have evolved. As you say, the space is changing and will continue to do so.

      I don’t think what blogging represents — a need for deeper expression, deeper connection, more thoughtful ideas and exchanges — is going anywhere. At all. I do think, however, that what form it takes is likely to evolve sooner rather than later and that the change in how we connect will be driven by those kids learning to drive cars today.

  6. Toni Antonetti September 2, 2010 at 7:48 pm #

    I think blogging is irrelevant for teens, and it has to do with their free time, extensive peer groups that they share experiences with and their fast-paced lives. With age comes…a bit more reflection and an appreciation for a well-crafted blog post. I don’t think blogs are dead, but there will be a “culling of the herd,” as people who aren’t great bloggers anyway will shift their focus to other SM tools, like Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare and more.

    • Mandy Vavrinak September 2, 2010 at 8:01 pm #

      Toni, I agree… blogging is irrelevant for teens. I think you’re right, too, about a coming culling.

      I don’t think blogs are going away anytime soon, but I think once today’s teens reach that age of reflection, that they’ll perhaps do it in a different way or via a different platform than we do, today. It will be an interesting evolution to watch, no doubt!

      And, I guess as long as there are those of us “older folks” about who do enjoy a well-crafted post, blogs or their equivalent will be here to serve the purpose. Perhaps I need to re-title the post, “Blogs are going to change in some as yet undefined way at some point in the future” 😉

  7. Doug Stewart September 2, 2010 at 8:01 pm #

    Maybe the question is: “Will the term blog disappear?” Not too long ago a blog used to be a personal online journal. Now people use the term “blog” for any content presented using blogging software.

    • Mandy Vavrinak September 2, 2010 at 8:09 pm #

      Doug, great point. I think you are right about the changing meaning of “blog,” and that it will probably continue to evolve both in meaning and in execution.

  8. Boris Pluskowski September 3, 2010 at 1:16 pm #

    Hi Mandy – love your thought process – you make a good argument 🙂

    However, I think that what you’re noticing is an age old difference between generations – the youth for whom immediacy of communication is important, and the elders amongst us who want to reflect, refine, and influence a wider crowd. as we get older, I think we sacrifice quantity of communication (SMS) to focus on quality of communication (blogs).

    When I was 12, I was writing short stories for the school newspaper – one of the youngest to ever do so. I was, needless to say, in a minority – not because of ability, but because I had the desire to spend the time to develop stories for publishing. Did the low number of my classmates wanting to partake in this activity forecast the death of the printed medium? I think not. Does the low number of people writing books at age 15 preclude the future death of the publishing industry? Probably not.

    Simply at that age, there are always other, more preferable,and more immediate, ways to experience communication for most people. As they’ve gotten older, I’ve now noticed more of my former classmates starting blogs and embrace writing. And whilst I likewise stopped writing for many years, I’ve now found myself reengaging in the hobby with renewed enthusiasm.

    Yes – I now write a blog and not a printed story (although have done those too) – The tools change, but the behavior does not. I predict that your child will increasingly become more interested in writing as he gets older – although the way he’s able to express himself in “long format” will probably be different as tools will evolve – but whatever the equivalent of blogging will be in the future, he’ll probably embrace.

    Enjoyed the post!

    Best

    Boris Pluskowski
    http://www.completeinnovator.com

    • Mandy Vavrinak September 8, 2010 at 2:15 pm #

      I agree completely, actually. I don’t think writing as a form of expression will die. I am arguing that blogging as the channel will phase out as today’s teens get older. You, and several others who’ve commented, are right that as kids get older, they will seek deeper connections and want to express them. But I don’t think it will be via a blog. 😉
      As you noted… the tools will evolve. I am excited and intrigued by the idea of what might be beyond blogging. No one, so far, has ventured a guess.

      • Boris Pluskowski September 8, 2010 at 10:51 pm #

        and there comes an interesting alternative (watch me switching sides before your very eyes… :p ) – what if those deeper connections come in non-writing form – Vlogs for example?… (there’s a prediction for you 😉 )

        • Mandy Vavrinak September 14, 2010 at 9:32 am #

          I think writing will always be a big part of communication (at least, I hope it will!) but I wonder how the technology for delivering it will function? Same for vlogs and audio content, etc. I guess the big question isn’t how it will be delivered, but more how will we search it? Or will it search and find US? 🙂

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