About a week ago, a New York Times article titled “Blogs Wane as the Young Drift to Sites Like Twitter” painted a bleak picture for blogging by making pronouncements like “blogs were once the outlet of choice for people who wanted to express themselves online.” The article then goes on to suggest that Twitter and Facebook are the culprits stealing blogs’ thunder.
While some prominent bloggers came to the defense and proved these pronouncements to be inaccurate or at least misleading, there were still some thoughts in this article that really resonated with me. For instance:
“Former bloggers said they were too busy to write lengthy posts and were uninspired by a lack of readers.”
Yup. That’s true for me. I haven’t blogged for six months before this post, and why? Well, it takes times and effort. And the payoff is unpredictable (I characterize “payoff” as discussion and readers). Most times hardly anyone comes to say anything. And other times, it’s a ghost town.
That is, unless you blog frequently enough (and are insightful frequently enough) that you have folks stopping by regularly. But the blog equivalent of “friending” or “following” is mostly dead (it’s called RSS). So you can’t count on people to stick around or come back unless you really stick with it and/or are consistently interesting.
Compare that now to Twitter or Facebook. Neither take much time nor effort, and it’s really not hard to say something that will get read and/or start a discussion. While in the blogging world, you might track visitors and traffic, in the Facebook/Twitter world, you don’t care about that (nor can you really figure it out). It’s been replaced by even better gratification in the form of “retweets” or “likes” plus replies/comments.
This probably comes across cynically, in the sense that I’m suggesting indirectly that blogging/Facebook/Twitter are all done primarily for self-gratification purposes. There’s probably a better way to say that, but connecting/interacting/sharing with others is something most humans enjoy immensely. And Facebook & Twitter make it so easy! Whereas blogging…
Perhaps the conversations don’t run as deep or the discussions aren’t as stimulating, but Twitter and Facebook have a certain “good enough” feel to them. Let me put it this way:
If I told you that you can get in really good shape by walking and that you’d notice results on day one, you’d totally do it, right? But then if I told you, you know what, you might be able to get into slightly better shape (than the first option) if you exercise regularly. But you won’t notice results for at least two months.
Which would you choose?
I think most would (and will continue) to choose walking if it means most of the payoff but none of the hassle / hard work. (Incidentally, I think we’d all love it if only short walks really did get us most of the payoff of regular, more intense exercise.)
By the way, I’m back and ready to blog more (well, at least, more than every six months).