Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Why Blogging Still Rules (and why reports about blogging having peaked are wrong)

The latest Pew survey shows that people of all demographics are using the internet more than ever. Nothing surprising, you will say. But, the survey also reports that less people are blogging.

1. Only half as many online teens work on their own blog as did in 2006, and Millennial generation adults ages 18-33 have also seen a modest decline-a development that may be related to the quickly-growing popularity of social network sites.

2. ...blogging's popularity increased among most older generations, and as a result the rate of blogging for all online adults rose slightly overall from 11% in late 2008 to 14% in 2010.

Some observations:

1. If blogging is really a preserve of old people, then that is a good thing.
They have experienced life. Writing brings catharsis. We want to share.

2. Nothing beats blogging your experience.
If you have less to say on a topic, use Twitter, which is the new blog for some. Otherwise, nothing beats blogging. (Unless you are someone like Jay Rosen, the master of Mindcasting.)

Read this story in the Guardian about why people blog about their sickness. An expert says,
"Writing is an effective way of processing and coming to terms with challenging and potentially traumatic events," he says. "But blogging is more than the mere act of writing. It also fosters senses of both control and social connection, each of which is crucial for psychological wellbeing."

3. Twittering is not about cool.
Earlier, it used to be that blogging was cool. Nerds used to blog.

People like Jason Kottke, Dave Winer, David Weinberger, Jeff Jarvis, Rebecca Blood, Andrew Sullivan, Robert Scoble, Seth Godin, Guy Kawasaki, Om Malik and even Michael Arrington made their names as breakthrough bloggers, people who could construct good pieces on writing on a regular basis about their chosen domains, generating a sizeable following and positive brand value along the way.

People created bonafied publishing empires out of blogging. Major news brands have teams of writers blogging for them. It is another matter that for various business considerations, the premier blogging empire Gawker is adopting a magazine-type look.

Other than Jay Rosen, and some funny one-liner specialists, I don't see any Twitter superstar. Correct me if I am wrong.

4. Blogging is still the only way of building your brand in your industry.
I agree that curating news links on Twitter is useful but nothing beats being able to structure your analysis about an important industry issue through a blog. Nothing beats a detailed interview about how your industry works, via a blog post. Nothing beats a weekly roundup of major news stories about your industry. Nothing beats writing about the truths about your industry. If you don't, you are chicken.

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