Monday, November 4, 2013

Has Social Media Killed Blogging?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Back about eight or nine years ago when I started this blog, blogs were exploding all over the place. There were celebrity blogs, food blogs, movie blogs, sports blogs, mommy bogs, humor blogs—you name it, there was a blog associated with it.  There were even blogs about blogs. Talk about standing in a hallway full of mirrors!

I got a charge out of writing my blog, Bill of the Birds. So much of the writing I do is very assignment- or info-delivery-driven that I had kind of forgotten how enjoyable it was to sit down and give yourself over to writing about something you were feeling or thinking or anticipating. I look back at some of the stuff I was writing about on BOTB and I see now that most similar things are being shared (by me and others) in the much more instantly gratifying social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and others. 

It's hard to keep up with everything online. Just ask my friend Bill.

This is perfectly understandable. After all, writing a blog post takes time. Posting to a social media channel takes almost no time at all, which is probably why there are daily news stories about social media faux pas. You barely have to think about it. Just click, tap a few words, and post. It's as easy as falling off a blog.

Blogging on the other hand seems to require more thought, deeper content, and images or links or something to augment the screen full of words. It takes time to create a blog post.
I'd like a clone who could help me keep up with my blog.

Thus it's no surprise that so many blogs are not getting the volume of consistent posts that they once did. Some bloggers are bucking this trend, of course. They are the folks who devote the time necessary to create meaty content, usually around a theme. And these bloggers are reaping the rewards of a larger audience hungry for solid content.

Has social media killed blogging? Yes and no. It's certainly killed off the blogs of the folks who think in quips and short, punchy posts. Those folks do better and gain a wider audience on Facebook and Twitter. And so their blogs are mothballed or cob-webbed or closed. On the other hand, social media has served to be an excellent audience builder, as a tool to point readers/surfers to longer-form content that interests them.

An old blog post from 2006!

For me (a self-admitted quipster) Facebook has stolen my mojo for blogging every day. I'm also a lot busier at work and at home than I've ever been (do you feel that way, too?) and most days the notion of writing a post for my blog is simply lost in the hailstorm of other, more pressing tasks.

But I miss writing for my blog! I miss the way my thoughts would form and shape-shift as I typed sentence after sentence while creating a post. Sometimes I'd get to the end and realize I needed to start all over! Other times I'd get going and, when I reached the end, I'd see that I needed to break this massive post up into several shorter ones. Yes I miss it.

Araçaris in silhouette. Shadows in the sunset.
I wish there were a way to tag all of your favorite Facebook posts over a period of a few weeks, to create a single massive blog post. I'm sure some plug-in or app for that exists. But I haven't got time to search for it—I've got to upload some Instagram photos of my fabulous lunch today (just kidding!).

Before I bemoan the death of the blog, I'm going to attempt to find the time to write for my blog more often. And I'll be sure to announce on Facebook and Twitter when I've got a new post up, since that is where all the readers are these days! People have such short attention sp...HEY LOOK A CHICKEN!

I'll see you out there with the blogs!



On November 4, 2013 at 4:24 PM OpposableChums said...

Glad to hear that you're going to take this baby around the track a few more times before you decide to put her up on blocks.

On November 4, 2013 at 7:04 PM robin andrea said...

I am so happy to read that you are going to keep this blog going. Roger and I have tried to keep ours up and running. I'm finding it a bit easier now that I have pretty much given up on Facebook. Blogging plays such a different role in our lives. It is our online journal, and it has been incredibly useful in trying to piece memories back together.

On November 4, 2013 at 7:29 PM cyberthrush said...

I think blogs and "social media" serve rather different purposes, and blogs are declining more due simply to their own over-abundance and saturation at this point than competition from the latter (but then I thoroughly despise Facebook).
I suspect the total actual traffic to bird blogs is probably greater now than ever, but the traffic to any given blog may well be down with so many to choose from.

On November 4, 2013 at 8:38 PM Myer Bornstein said...

Social media is good for fast items blogs give you more information and make you think

On November 4, 2013 at 9:35 PM Mary said...

My thoughts on blogging and social media are right here, Bill. I miss blogging. Those few years were the best of years.

On November 4, 2013 at 9:35 PM Julie Zickefoose said...

Thanks for the linky shout-out, Will. Love "easy as falling off a blog." I agree with Robin Andrea and Roger that blogging is worth doing if only for having a fabulous online journal to which you can refer when you forget things, which I seem to do with greater regularity. I love it for writing inspiration. When I'm called upon to write for an issue of BWD coming up four months in the future, I usually go to my blog archives for, say, April, and there's always something there I can grab for inspiration. It's hard to write about April in November.
As for social media killing blogging, not for me. Social media, as far as I'm concerned, is life support for my now 8-year-old blog. People seem to like to be handed a blogpost with their morning news feed, and I think they're much more likely to click on a link out of curiosity in the course of Facebooking than to go search out my blog because they like it. What was that URL again? Oh look. Here's the link.
I badgered Floridacracker for YEARS to get on Facebook for just that reason. He writes a boffo blog and I wanted more people to know about it. I think it's working for him.
As for you, I would love to see you have more time to put into blogging. You're really good at it.

On November 4, 2013 at 10:02 PM MoreThanBirds said...

"...easy as falling off a blog."

That is a prime example of why we need you to keep blogging. Yes, I think every day is a bit demanding (as evidenced by my own attempts at blogging) when you have a life away from the Internet. Don't know how Zick does it!

Now more than ever, we need your clever turn of a phrase and your unique perspective on the world.

If you try to keep your blog going, I will, too. LIKE!

On November 4, 2013 at 10:05 PM Carl D said...

Interesting read. I'm sure though, a lot of writers for magazines, etc, said the same thing about blogging killing off "real writing", the stuff with fact checking, etc. :) It is much easier to knock out a blog than write a "real" editorial. Such is as things go.



On November 5, 2013 at 7:26 AM Suzanne said...

Well, I read this because Paula Lozano posted it on Facebook....

On November 5, 2013 at 11:52 AM Steve said...

I find that the two media cross pollinate a bit. Like others, I followed the social media trail of bread crumbs to your more substantial blog posting. Fortunately, nobody tried to shove me in an oven. From my end as media consumer, I usually prefer longer postings. I feel like I've made a connection rather than just seen somebody in passing who muttered a perfunctory "How's it goin?" without really wanting an answer.

On November 7, 2013 at 8:40 PM Marilyn Kircus said...

I blog mostly for me. Since I'm a ADHD vagabond, trying to keep a paper journal is really hard. And since I have a really terrible memory, being able to go back and read them makes almost another new adventure.

But blogging is much easier than keeping up with paper, and I love to be able to add links. And since a few other people do read it, I'm more likely to stick to a schedule. And I sometimes do research and get more self knowledge in the process of blogging.

I do use Facebook but that is mostly for one-liners.