Is Blogging On the Way Up or Down?

Is blogging dying? Lately, I’ve read a couple of posts that have discussed this issue. At the same time, I’ve also read posts that claim the number of people blogging has increased.

So which is it—is blogging on the way up or down?

While no one really has a definitive answer to the question, I’ve begun pondering the issue for myself.

Here’s what I’ve finally decided: Yes, there are indeed some changes effecting blogging partly having to do with the growing popularity of Twitter. But I have also noticed that for many people blogging tends to be cyclical.

The Twitter Effect: As more and more bloggers have started using Twitter, we’ve found we can stay connected with each other in a faster, easier, and less time-consuming way. There’s a growing trend of leaving fewer comments on blogs, and instead retweeting posts that are helpful. There may even be a new trend of discussing posts on twitter (versus the comment section).

And while the Twitter Effect may have something to do with the changing nature of blogging, I also believe that the cyclical nature of blogging has more to do with the ebb and flow.

The Cyclical Blogging Effect:

New Phase: We start out blogging with lots of energy and excitement. We try to do all the right things—visit other blogs, leave comments, interact with those coming to our blogs. We’re having fun meeting new people. And we find incredible satisfaction in connecting with others through the written words of our posts.

Reality Phase: The newness fades. We realize coming up with interesting and creative posts is hard work, visiting all those other blogs is time-consuming, and growing our blog requires a lot of dedication. We may even struggle to find our blogging voice.

Cut-Back Phase: We’ve dedicated time and effort to our blog. But we see that other things (like our writing time or family) are suffering because of the energy we’re putting into our blog. We begin to question whether blogging is really going to help us develop a platform. So, we decide to post less frequently and concentrate on other things.

Burn-Out Phase: We’ve been blogging for a while. Perhaps we’ve made solid connections and the numbers of followers has steadily increased. But the pressure to keep going day after day is just wearing on us. Maybe we don’t feel like we have anything to say anymore. Perhaps we’ve even begun to feel like blogging is a weight around our necks pulling us under.

Longevity Phase: We’ve weathered the other phases. We’ve determined to put our heads down and keep blogging. In fact, we realize the longer we’ve been doing it, the easier it’s become to write our posts. We’ve lost our fear of having to be perfect. And we understand that our blog has become something bigger than ourselves.

One by one, bloggers drop out of blogging land. Some only make it through one or two of the phases. Others stick with it until they’re burned out. And even fewer hang around for the long haul.

How do certain bloggers make it through all the phases and end up blogging long term? That’s fodder for another post on another day.

Today, I want to go back to the question I raised at the beginning: Is blogging dying?

My conclusion: Within social media, things will always be changing. New forums will pop up. Old ones will pass away. As writers, we need to be flexible and savvy.

But I don’t think blogging is dying just yet. Rather, it's cyclical. Individual bloggers come and go. New blogs burst bright and flaming on the horizon just as others are fading away.

I miss the “old-timers” who used to haunt my blog, those who’ve fallen away. But I continually see fresh faces, new bloggers who are excited about what lies ahead. I'm convinced blogging is still a viable way for writers to build a platform.

What do you think? First, do you agree with my conclusions about the nature of blogging—that while it might be changing (due to Twitter), it’s not necessarily dying but rather a cyclical fading in and out? And secondly, what blogging phase are you in? (And you can make up your own if none of mine describes you!)


  1. That's a tough question. Anything kind of ebbs a bit and then settles down. I think that's natural. I've only been blogging about a year, so I'm in the - who am I and trying to exert that along with my style of writing into blog posts.

    Of course, if I'm going through a phase of discouragement with my writing - that shows through in blog post - or at least it seems it.

  2. I think an interesting historical timeline can be made of social communication just in our own lifetime. I've seen letter-writing (snail mail) replaced by phone calls, replaced by email, blogging, twitter, texting, and on it goes. If I were to identify a pattern in this, it would be that Western culture continually strives to increase efficiency and decrease consumption of time. We thus find it appealing to reach more people with fewer words and less time.

    Having said that, I think we eventually fall back to whatever form matches the way we're wired. For me, it takes me awhile to formulate my thoughts, so I still find "slower" methods like letter-writing, personal emails, and well-thought-out blog posts appealing. I am also one of those who jumps on the bandwagon well after others have already jumped off, so we're just starting our blogging journey. I sure hope we stay here for awhile, Jody! Perhaps you might want to visit us there soon, just in case?:-)

    ~ Betsy

  3. I don't think blogging is dying.

    I think....or at least I hope...that I'm in the long haul phase. I've definitely gone through the others and I'm still posting. But like you's cyclical. I think even when we're in the long haul phase, we can cycle back into the others.

    But man...writing books is cyclical too. We have moments when we're super pumped and excited, then reality sets in, then we struggle with how to balance our passion with our other commitments, then we either burn out and quit or write through it. And usually the cycle starts all over again.

  4. I'm still learning how to balance writing deadlines and keeping up with a blog, but I definitely believe it's worth the time and effort.

  5. I'm on the brink of the cut-back phase. That cycle fits me very well. I'm not sure Twitter has much impact - it seems people mostly do both or neither, and the same goes for Facebook.
    For me, blogging is a way to consciously explore my writer's progress and to share what I learn on the way. I'm strict about what time I devote to blogging and I think that will be the key to me hanging in for the long haul.

  6. I'm still waiting for the burn-out stage after two years and 400 posts (not a single repost).

    I really wasn't kidding when I said I love to write.

    Interesting question. Hope it's not dying. And I miss some of the "old-timers" too.

    Have you ever noticed certain season seem to bring in more bloggers?

    ~ Wendy

  7. Jody, Hey there, I hope I'm not among the old-timers you mentioned. :) I'm in it for the long haul, but as demands change my reading patterns have changed, so I haven't disappeared, but I have had to change certain things about how and where I appear out there. But you remain a special blogging pal and I love that we also talk off the blog from time to time. Whenever I come here, I always know I'll get a quality post. Blessings!

  8. I've only been blogging for two years and I agree with all you said. It is cyclical.

    I tried to do it 7 days, then went to 5, now I'm on 3 and that seems to work for me. I also learned that taking a hiatus from time to time, not only to work on my writing, but just to get away from all the 'noise' really helps me to fire myself up again.

    Great post.

  9. I guess the tweets have to point people to something and that could still be blogs. Hopefully, they will be around for a while more. :O)

  10. I've gone thru all the phases you mention here, Jody, and I agree that it's cyclical. At least it is for me. I never got the hang of Twitter, unfortunately, so I let go of my account there. But I love blogging, even if it isn't as effective from a writing career perspective. It's like having my own little column.

  11. Jody,

    I love your idea, and totally agree, that blogging is cyclical. I fluctuate between the cut-back and the burn-out phases, but whichever I'm in, I can't imagine shutting down the blog. I find it's a critical piece to my writing process, not just to my platform.

    Wonderful post!

  12. This post is 100% accurate! I've been through all the phases too...and God help me, somehow I keep coming back. I watch other bloggers spike and drop off and miss them when they go. It's important though, to make sure a blog is doing something for you the blog author. My blog keeps me writing. Sometimes it's all I write for a long time...but I'm still writing and that is what matters to me. If a blog becomes nothing more than a proverbial ball and chain, then perhaps it's time to reassess the value.

  13. Good Morning Jody and All,
    I'm no expert and have no answers but heartily agree with your statement: "Within social media, things will always be changing."

    But even as they do change and each of us decide what we should do, I think it's still a platform for those of us breaking in to publishing and getting our names and books out there.

    It seems that even though there may not be as many comments left on blogs that people are still reading them and may also retweet. Everyone's time is valuable so frequent comments may be on the way out but I don't think blogging or reading blogs is on the way out.

    I think I've hit the longevity phase and it does get easier, I'm just not sure how long you have to blog to hit this phase.:) If I do get burnt out I think I'll still try to blog once a week minimum.

  14. I remember when your blog had about 100 followers. :-)

    Well, I think it depends on the blogger. And each blogger can decide how much time to put towards blogging. But yes, it can be very labor intensive.

    I find that blogging is flexible. I go through periods when I can put more time towards it and times when I have to back off. The blog is still there, through it all. And other people do understand that LIFE HAPPENS and we have to adapt.

  15. It strikes me that there is too much poor content out there. If there will be change in the blogosphere it won't come from the bloggers, it'll come from the readers.

    As a writer there are so many bloggers telling you how to be a good writer. You couldn't possibly read them all and it they are all so great why aren't they rich yet? No offence and all that but you don't see that many household names telling you how to write or how to blog. It's a bit like the blind leading the blind.

    The bloggers that have the massive readerships are the ones that have a massive fan base. The fans want more about the writer, news of further work and some ownership of the writer that non blog reading fans don't have. They want some personal interaction with their heroes.

    If we continue to put out advice to each other then we will all die, or the spirit within our writing will die with the same result.

    Without planning to I've got three pet subjects on my blog.

    1) About the writing process, but nobody is interested unless they are already a fan. So strike that from the list of successful strategies. I'm only really continuing this in case publishing industry insiders stumble across me.

    2) About the pagan life because my core fiction audience are pagans, although I have just as many non pagan readers having defined myself as an urban fantasy writer.

    3) About politics, because I'm passionate and sometimes angry about what happens in the world. It seems this is where I get most readers but this is furthest from the sort of people I want to reach.

    I'm not going to give advice on writing or blogging because I'm still trying to figure it out for myself. All this advice is circular. Perhaps in the land of the blind the one eyed man is king so a few bloggers with large readerships will show the others how to open one eye, but where is that leading?

    If blogging is going to survive (in the publishing sector at least) we need to write content that readers want, not content about content.

    But who am I to say, I've only got half a dozen followers?

  16. I've been blogging for over 5 years. After my first few months of posting sporadically, I've been doing 4-6 posts a week. Week after week after week. I love it and don't see quitting (or even scaling back) anytime soon. God has used my blog in more ways than I could ever, ever count (or even know).

  17. I find certain days in the week busier than others and sometimes there's one week in the month that people take off.

    I hope blogging doesn't stop, I like it a lot better than twitter

  18. Good morning everyone!! I love all of the different perspectives you're offering this morning to the blogging issue. Thank you for adding your input!!

    And Wendy asked: Have you ever noticed certain season seem to bring in more bloggers?

    My response: I haven't noticed any particular fluctuations with seasons. But that's just me with my blog. Of course, around holidays, the numbers of bloggers diminishes. But that's to be expected, and that's one of the reasons why I take off a week at Christmas and a day or two at other holidays. Plus, as Anne G. mentioned, it's always good to take a mini-break, so I usually structure mine around the holidays.

  19. I started following your blog because I am homeschooling my teenage daughter, and her goal is to be a the Sci-fi, fantasy & adventure genre. So I thought your blog might provide helpful information in reaching that goal. We've been somewhat overwhelmed this year (her first year of high school) with all her other school work, and so, while I wanted to have her read your blog posts, I just haven't gotten around to that yet. But I still plan I believe you share a lot of great info that will help her, hopefully become successful!

    In the meantime, I would also consider myself a writer - although I'm not particularly interested in being "published" or writing a book or anything - blogging is my preferred writing outlet!

  20. I went through all those phases! I'm in the longevity phase now. I'm definitely not afraid to be imperfect anymore or have a lackluster post every now and then. It happens to us all.

    I haven't gotten the impression that blogging is dying out. But the blogosphere does seem less active in summer and during the holidays, so maybe that's why some people think it's dying out.

  21. Okay, so I'm not blogging at all right now but I think I'm really at the cut-back phase because I'm thinking about how to go back--hopefully into the longevity phase.

    But as for my opinion on blogging: if more people are blogging are more people actually READING these blogs? Suppose there are 1000 people interested in reading about the writing process and about 100 active bloggers blogging about it. Then 200 aspiring authors decide to start blogging (maybe because they think they're supposed to) some of those were already in the reader base so now you have 300 bloggers writing about something 1100 people are interested in reading. My guess is most or all of those 1100 people don't want to read 300 blogs. I'm sure my numbers are seriously off, but it makes my point, right?

    Even if more people reading blogs now, there are more blogs than people want to read & that's in addition to competing with Facebook, Twitter, TV, magazines, etc. The more people blog the more you're going to have to have a good hook/voice to really find an audience.

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  23. Great post. I've been reading blogs for over 2 or 3 years now. I've had my own profile for about 1 year and have been posting on other blogs. Recently, I have started my own blog. The first week, I was so excited and thought I could post 2 or 3 times a week. After two weeks, I realized that with family, job, my novel and article writing, and just plain time to rest, that for now, I only have time for one post a week. My posting could always change in the future, but for now, I don't want to burnout.

  24. The blog offers us a unique opportunity to be heard and share information, so I don't think the blog is going away any time soon. I hope not. Yes, it is time consuming. What I learn from connecting with other writers is invaluable though.

    I love the beautiful speed of Twitter, too. They seem to go together nice - one a time s**k, the other not. :)

  25. Great discussion. I think I'm in the cut-back phase. I started out blogging 3-4 times a week about anything and everything, with little focus. I think I ran out of topics and energy within six months.

    This year I decided to stick to a strict Thursdays-only schedule, with an emphasis on YA novels and the writing process, which has really helped. That way I don't feel pressure to update constantly, but when I do update, I have a point.

  26. I've been blogging for the past 5 years. I still love blogs and blogging. When I've read the posts for the day, I'm done whereas with social media, it's a neverending stream of content. I do find I have to work harder to have things to say. Maybe it's time to reposition the blog or focus on something related but new rather than book reviews, author interviews and posts about my writing journey. Not sure yet.

  27. Sometimes I close my blogging- shutters in order to write. Like the last couple of weeks I've been working on a revision and just needed the concentrated time to keep the momentum going.

  28. Wow -- I feel like I've been through all of these cycles already, and I've only been blogging for 9 months! I definitely leave fewer comments than I used to even though I'm still reading more than ever. I think there are always new bloggers to take the place of the ones that fade away.

    Very interesting discussion.

  29. Jody, you have the stages of blogging pegged. So true. I'm a fairly new blogger, and I'm loving it. While Twitter gives you a plethora of on-the-spot links, I prefer a "themed" blog post with a collection of relevant links. I believe blogging is here to stay. I believe the key to staying in the blogosphere is to develop a system of posting and commenting that works for you.

  30. I agree 100% with this post. Last year when I started out, I would get comments almost immediately after posting. It was always the same people, too. Now there's only a couple people of those people who still leave comment on my blog, and I often have a post that goes without any comments. My interaction with others hasn't decreased, so it's not anything on my end that has faded.

    Yes, Blogging is changing. And some of this has to do with Twitter. But it isn't completely "dead", just changing, fading in and out, as you mentioned.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  31. Blogging will always be my first love:) Social media seems to add new vehicles to the system everyday, but the writer in me love seeing thoughts take shape, and blog posts help do that.

    I've come to really appreciate sites like Twitter, and I'm glad that I joined. It is a faster way to make contact and be a part of the growing family of writers.

  32. I resisted starting a blog for a long time because of the cycle you describe. So when I did it, I decided to do it my way--one post a week. That's really all I can manage with my real writing job. This has kept it fun and not overwhelming for almost three years.

  33. You know it's funny that I see this post after this week. I was just in this discussion with my creative writing class. My professor asked the same question "Is blogging dying?" and I was the only one in my class that said "No."

    Everyone looked at me funny, too, because I was the only one who disagreed with the professor. But I think people are mistaking CHANGING for DYING. Like publishing (thought that's a debate for a different time).

  34. Yes, I think it is changing too, not dying. I think places like blogger need to make changes to keep up with the trends and quick paced world. Blogging makes a more significant connection. We get to really know (or kind of know) the person. That doesn’t happen on twitter.

  35. I think your assessment is right on. For me, blogging has been cyclical. I'm in longevity (five years), but between the reciprocal nature of blogging and social media, I'm feeling tugged in too many directions and I'm not getting my work done.

    I'm getting ready to take a month long hiatus so I can finish some projects. I know that posting no content and not commenting on blogs is a sure fire way to kill a blog (I've killed and resurrected twice), but it's a chance I'll have to take because my lack of self-discipline is driving me crazy. I hate not finishing things.

    Thanks for this post. It's good to get the different perspectives from all your commenters.

  36. Wow - you described me in a nutshell! Started out psyched, worked hard at it, felt as if I was neglecting other things (still do), but have gotten back - just not at the rate I was. I think it is important to find your place in the blogging world - not everyone is the same or is looking for the same. Problem is with the time off I took tending to other things such as family and work, my blog has definitely suffered. I guess it is all in the way you look at it.

  37. Good post! Those phases are quite accurate, at least in my experience. :) I'm somewhere between the Cut-Back Phase and the Burn-Out Phase...but I'm pressing on. :)

  38. I don't know if it's dying so much as evolving. Twitter and Facebook allow us to say things more quickly but they don't give us the depth. Tumblr is a mix of blogging and scrapbooking - I think we'll soon evolve into a space that combines the best of both worlds, the fast replies of social media and the thoughtful text of blogging.

  39. I do agree with what you're saying and I think it's why those of us that are in it for the long haul have to constantly be aware of those patterns in order to stay relevant in an evolving world.

    I've also found that, while my comments seem to taper off at intervals, a lot of people are still reading. They just aren't as likely to make themselves known anymore.

  40. It's interesting that so many of you have noticed a dying off of comments. I think there are several reasons why. Under a time crunch, one of the first things bloggers cut out is the commenting on other blogs. And as I mentioned, I've seen a growing trend toward talking about posts on twitter. I also think there has to be a really strong question or strong reaction to the post to ellict a response.

  41. Hi Jody -

    My blog will celebrate its third year in May. I still love connecting with other bloggers, but it is time consuming.

    I'm still not on Twitter, but my posts show up on Facebook. A lot of my new readers come from there. Also, some people will comment on Facebook rather than come to the blog.

    I think blogging will survive as we discover new ways to promote on other social media.

    Susan :)

  42. I absolutely think you're right about blogging changing b/c of Twitter. It seems like there is a get-in, get-out mentality rather than browse around a bit. No one wants to miss the next tweet with another great link.

    I can see how there can be cycles in blogging. I am in the reality phase. For a little while I was having a hard time coming up with new ideas but then I just realized I needed to use my every day life to give me topics. The hard thing for me right now is trying to gauge my audience and figure out what they like. I don't think it is dying but has ebbs and flows.

    As bloggers, we just have to be able to ride the wave and keep our eyes focused to our blogging goals.

    Great post for reflection, Jody!

    Hope all is well! XO

  43. I'm always amazed at your ability to come up with relevant and interesting topics, Jody! I'm currently in cut-back phase with my sister's health and all my family responsibilities. But I always view my cut-back phases as temporary stops on my way to the longevity phase. :)

    Hope you're having a great weekend!

  44. Until recently I had no idea how many wonderful writing blogs are out in the universe (and wonderful people to connect with)! Each blog introduced me to someone else, as has Twitter, and I've been off and running, making new friends, and learning so much! I certainly understand needing to take breaks. Maybe blogging is, at least to some degree, like the circle of friendship. Sometimes a person or an activity is just for a season. Or maybe, as Lisa suggested, bloggers need to step back and take a sabbatical. I actually do not know how you mothers of young children do all that you do (and know you must have some wonderful and supportive husbands. Kudos to them)!! Thank you to all of you who so generously share of your knowledge! It is a sacrifice that is duly noted!!

  45. Hi Jody, I've noticed some people who were all over the net, not blogging at all or tweeting and wondering what they are up to. It's such a up and down game. I'm right at a point where I don't want the gimmicks, the competitions, the constant passing along of blog awards, but I might just start trying out some blog fests. At least you are honing your skills a bit and you have more reason to browse other blogs and read good writing. It is interesting to wonder how things might change in future.

  46. From what I'm seeing in the blogosphere, your cycles are bang on, although I don't seem to fit into the pattern. I think one factor contributing to the cycles is the blogger's goals. Some people use blogs like personal journals, some use them to interact socially, while others use them to market or instruct. If the response meets their needs, it's easy to continue, but if they feel they're broadcasting into a vacuum, it eventually loses its appeal.

    Careann's Musings has been running for three years and continues to be very fulfilling. Its format has evolved but I still find about three posts a week works for me. I guess I'm in your Longevity Phase as I don't see an end happening anytime soon. I hope that's true for you, too, Jody, as I love visiting here and exploring your thoughts.

  47. I'm in the "Return to Blogging" phase. After going through all phases, I found twitter and Facebook replaced much of my blogging. But I'm determined to give it one more go with a new focus and hopefully new and old readers. I'm easing back into it slowly and not obsessing about the number of readers. Even though I know numbers are important to publishers, I need to trust that what I share will reach those who need to hear and hopefully not stress about the rest!

  48. Your post caught my attention but not in a way you'd intended. I kept reading- cynical and not cyclical. I thought- I'm not cynical about it, are the majority of bloggers really so cynical? Granted- it's 11pm :) So, now that I've read the post more carefully I can say, yes! I think blogging, like most things in life is cyclical.

    Personally, I'm in a mindful cut-back stage. I realized I was making NO progress on my novel and that too many writerly activities (ye ol' social networks: blogging, twitter, facebook) were taking up enormous chunks of time (didn't you just write a post on that?), so for March, I'm cutting way back and posting once a week on pre-determined topics.

    I am a little unnerved by all these references to dwindling comments. Since my average # of comments tends to be 1-3 comments (really big days are 9-11), I'm a little scared about them disappearing altogether. And, unlike your posts (which I see tweeted a lot), I don't think mine are ending up on twitter. :)

    Another great post, dear Jody. I'm glad you're around for the long haul of blogging. Maybe someday I can claim that phase, too.

  49. This is something that's been running circles in my mind as well. It's tough to blog with so many other responsibilities in life. I think tiwtter has something to do with it. It's so much easier and it feels a little more intimate. I think blogging is important and I don't think we'll see mass blogs going dark anytime soon, but for certain I believe we'll see a slow down in output.

  50. This is a very interesting topic that I've wondered about as well. I've learned a great deal from other blogs. I hope it's here to stay. Time will only tell.

  51. I do think twitter has changed the way I blog. I tend to reciprocate comments still, but I find more blog posts via twitter than I do by checking my RSS reader daily.

    I bounce around in the last 3 stages you mentioned, but I feel a lot less pressure now. I blog when I want to, but make sure it's at least once a week. When I'm feeling inspired, that goes up to 3, but I no longer let blogging keep me from writing.

  52. I was pointed toward this post by a Twitter follower, @Jolina_Joy, and I followed the link because she describes herself in her Twitter profile as a Spontaneous Buckdancer. And who's not going to take a hint from a Spontaneous Buckdancer?

    But the post itself is worth taking the time to comment. Thank you, Jody. It's all true---uncannily so---even though a lot of it surprised me. I knew it, but I didn't know. That's good writing!

    Truly, your life is your first priority. Blogging is wonderful so long as it meets the needs of your life, but keep your priorities straight. I think one of the reasons blogging appears to be 'dying' is that a lot of people who got into it without knowing what it would add to their lives are now getting back out because it didn't add enough. Those are smart people. And at the same time, hordes of new bloggers are joining the field to answer that question for themselves.

    Ebb and flow is exactly what this is. Beautiful metaphor!

  53. Great analysis, Jody. I think blogging will always be the platform of choice for folks like me who prefer a slower pace and the space to be more meaty and deep. I have definitely cycled through all these phases. After two years, I find I ping pong among the last three pretty regularly.

  54. Wonderful points! I believe I'm in the reality phase. I'm starting to realize it takes time to blog, to comment, and to have interactions in the blogosphere. The fact remains blogging is a fun past time and that's what matters most.


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