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!)
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