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