Andrew Keen says that blogs are dead.
Matt Mullenweg says that blogging is only getting bigger.
Of course, they are both wrong.
The ways to promote yourself online are increasing every year. Once upon a time all we had was homepages with hard to remember urls at free hosting services which plastered our pages with bright and animated ads. We used the Blink tag, lots of animated gifs and some text. The most used sentence, no doubt, was “Under Construction”.
After that we evolved and started blogging. No more blinking eyecandy but nicely designed Themes with lots of useful widgets in the sidebar. And Google ads so we could earn some money. We wrote 2 posts a day in the first week, 1 posts a day in the second week then 1 post in the next month and then we simply stopped.
Now we have Facebook, Linkedin and MySpace pofiles, a personal and business blog, Delicious and StumbleUpOn tagged links collections and a Twitter and Flickr account.
I remember when I blogged a lot on my personal blog I used to start with a simple idea (one that would probably fit in 140 characters) and sit down to write a blog post about it. I wrote an introduction, 3 examples and a conclusion. Then I added an illustration, some tags and a few hyperlinks and published. That generally took an hour.
Now I just tweet the simple idea I started out with and I’m done.
So, are blogs dead? No, of course not. Blogs are maturing and starting to follow basic economic principles where wealth (visitors, readers, audience) is unequally distributed. In the year 2000 the richest 1% of adults alone own 40% of global assets. That is how wealth is distributed in our world. When blogging started to hype the general idea was that everybody could make money from his or her blog and have an audience. Wealth (our readers) would be equally distributed.
In reality it turns out that most blogs have no more than 10 followers a month. In terms of audience these are the worlds poor. The bottom 50% of the world owns barely 1% of global wealth. Blogs are no exception to this unfortunate fact. We were hoping that the Lorenz Curve (the 80/20 rule) wouldn’t apply to blogging.
We now know it does.
On Twitter or Facebook these numbers work differently. If you have a Twitter accunt with 100 followers you might be perfectly happy with that. There is no need to make money on Twitter or get a huge following. A few interested listeners can make the whole experience worthwhile.
All of this leads to a huge shift from blogging to Twitter. Or to Microblogging in general. Matt Mullenweg told the audience at The Next Web Conference that in his experience blogging was actually growing. What he probably meant is that the top bloggers are receiving more visitors because Twitter and Facebook make sharing links easier.
I have no doubt however that a lot of people who would have started a blog 2 years ago are now building their profiles on LinkedIn and Facebook or simply sticking to Twitter.
Anyone who says that blogging is dead has little or no sense of history. New technologies never ‘kill’ their predecessors. Television didn’t kill Radio and the Internet didn’t kill the Television. They all get a share of our attention and find their own audiences.
Blogs are dead?
No, The rumors of bloggings death have been greatly exaggerated…