I read with great interest this piece on Chicago Business that lays out reasons why bloggers are quitting–a phenomena first noted in a Pew Internet research poll last year. It’s something that I expected would happen eventually, and would have occurred even without the advent of Facebook and Twitter, but those platforms have fractured the pool of willing bloggers.
The article gives several examples of why people quit blogging, which boil down to:
- It’s more time consuming to develop content and build an audience than they expected;
- It hasn’t translated into the “big break” they hoped for (book deal, etc.);
- They ran out of stuff to say;
- They aren’t comfortable sharing personal details on such a public platform (and Facebook presents a comfy alternative);
- They don’t have time to invest in long-form writing (and Twitter presents an ideal substitute for that).
All of these reasons are logical, and in my opinion thoroughly predictable responses. Like acting, professional sports, music, or any other highly visible industries, hitting that big break in blogging is going to look far easier than it is. It involves a combination of talent, timing, and sheer luck. At some point, you realize you aren’t going to hit it big with your ’80s cover band act and you either put away the guitar pick or you play on weekends for the sheer pleasure of it, not because you anticipate fame or fortune are coming your way.
So, is blogging “dead”? (I put that in quotes because I loathe the “__________ is dead” meme.) No, it’s not dead. Blogs will continue albeit not at the breakneck increase pace we had been seeing them formed, and that’s not a bad thing, particularly from a monitoring perspective. The cream, as it were, will rise to the top. Blogs continue to have a significant impact in a variety of areas, including customer service, brand reputation, and the dissemination of news. Public affairs in particular will continue to need to pay close attention to blogs, as they play a substantial role in forming or solidifying public opinion on issues.
What does this mean for businesses from a monitoring perspective? It means that you need a well-rounded monitoring program. Most realize that simply monitoring mainstream media leaves a significant gap in coverage, and could put a firm’s reputation at risk. Just monitoring blogs makes no sense either, as many are providing links and commentary on stories first covered in the mainstream media. If you are just monitoring blogs or social media, you’re coming in at the mid-point on many issues, and not identifying the story at the point of origination. You’ll lose precious response time if you aren’t monitoring both mainstream and social media–including blogs, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook.
Blogging isn’t dead. It’s just growing up.