Thursday, July 3, 2014

If blogs are dead, this one's still remarkably frisky . . .

Once again it's being claimed that blogs are dead.

A decade ago, everyone was talking about blogs. Bloggers claimed they were going to make the mainstream media obsolete. The mainstream media dismissed bloggers as losers writing in their mom's basement in their pajamas — while simultaneously starting their own blogs and hiring some of the best bloggers. Now, the distinction between "blogs" and everything else on the Web has all but disappeared.

The New York Times is phasing out or consolidating "almost half" of its blogs. Times assistant managing editor Ian Fisher tells Poynter's Andrew Beaujon, "We're going to continue to provide bloggy content with a more conversational tone. We're just not going to do them as much in standard reverse-chronological blogs."

While the decision partly had to do with technical issues, Fisher explains that, "It was very hard to understand the difference between some of the general sections and the blogs themselves." Moreover, even the small blogs "required an enormous amount of resources, because a blog is an animal that is always famished."

Having blogged almost daily since January 2003, I can attest to that. There's simultaneously always something else to write about and yet often nothing one feels inspired to write about. Yet the pressure to crank out the content to keep the page fresh and the traffic coming never lets up.

. . .

Over the years, my own blogging production has dwindled, from an average of 13 pieces a day to fewer than that a week. Partly, I've tired of feeding the famished animal and of much of the domestic political debate. Partly, I'm doing more of my writing for an outside audience. Mostly, though, blogging has evolved from being a game with traffic and links as the way to keep score to a conversation with a core readership.

There's more at the link.

I disagree strongly that blogs are dead - in fact, I think good blogs are undergoing something of a rebirth and a resurrection in popularity.  I think Ann Althouse put it well in a recent article.

Blogging is a writing format, and it can be mobilized in service of different ends. I'm pleased at the failure of blogging as a means to the end of increasing traffic to a mainstream media website. I have long believed in blogging as a format for independent, individualized personal expression.

You've got to be the blog, not regard it as a pesky Other, always whining for more.

Again, more at the link.

This blog is basically my main contact with my readers, both of my blog and of my books.  I post a lot of things that I've found interesting, in the hope that you will too;  I respond to issues of the day (most recently the brouhaha over the so-called 'rape culture', which appears to exist only in the minds of its obsessed proponents);  and I have used, and continue to use, it to hone my writing skills and enhance my ability to express myself.  All of that makes for better books for you to enjoy.  Sarah Hoyt does likewise on her blog, as does Larry Correia, John Scalzi and many other authors.

I think blogs are far from dead for those who enjoy the craft of writing.  What do you think, dear readers?  Please let us know your views in Comments.  I think it would be good to examine this from as many perspectives as possible.



Anonymous said...

Peter, I hope that you do not give up blogging entirely.
I can understand that you want to spend more time on your writing but if there is a blog with a wider range of topics than yours, I have not stumbled across it yet.

I have read all of your archived articles on the church and many of your military articles.

I especially like your "around the blogs" articles.

I usually stop by at least once a day to keep up with your blog.


Peter said...

@JD: Don't worry - I have no intention of giving up blogging! I enjoy it, and as I said, it's my primary day-to-day connection with my readers.

Morris said...

If the *very* long list of blogs in my RSS feed list is anything to go by, blogs are FAR from dead.

Phil said...

The numbers do not lie.
Look at some of the Stat Counters on the blogs you visit.

I have been Blogging since 2006, have two archived Blogs and the one I started in April of last year.
That one recently went past a quarter of a million hits.

I'm sure there are plenty of folks out there who would love to see Blogging go away.

Just ask Harry Reid what he thinks about Bloggers.......

Francis W. Porretto said...

Geez, if blogs are dead, I’ve been spending a lot of time on a brace of remarkably lively corpses.

Blogging has gone through a number of stages, from novelty to craze to established medium, and now to “yesterday’s news.” But a blog has always been a means to a widely pursued end: to express oneself where interested others can see. If expressing oneself is dead, how is it that Amazon sells so many books and recordings? How is it that there are so many talk-radio shows?

The blog adds a degree of multimedia capability to the “base” ability to express oneself in prose. In that, it’s a modest advance on other forms of self-expression. Yet it remains a means. As long as the end it serves doesn’t cease to interest people, it will persist.

(Use only as directed. Do not use for purposes or in manner inconsistent with its labeling. Tell your doctor about any other blogs you may be visiting. Do not drink heavily while reading. Avoid driving or operating heavy machinery until you know its effects on you. No...well, very few blogs were harmed in the making of this comment, and anyway, they deserved it. We are an Equal Opportunity Blogger.)

Inconsiderate Bastard said...

Althouse has it exactly right - one has to be the blog. Who among us is surprised that the New York Times is, once again, out of phase with the rest of America? Life must be pretty darn difficult inside that bubble.

Peter, you are my #2 stop each AM, between Insty and Uncle, and I hit another 60-80 blogs during the course of the day, including "rabbit hole" links (my vocation keeps me in front of a computer much of the day, so cruising the blogs is an easy task).

I get a tremendous amount of info from blogs, routinely well ahead of mainstream sources, and of much, much greater breadth and depth; and, comments on blogs are just as valuable as the blogs themselves, because the commenters bring their expertise and perspective. Computer security issues on Borepatch, radio stuff on Silicon Graybeard, philosophical understanding from Francis, news and happenings at Theo's, your "around the blogs" tours, the list goes on and on.

I've noticed that much of what I read on blogs today tells me what will be on Limbaugh's radio show tomorrow and the day after. And he claims to be "on the cutting edge." Maybe for mainstream users, he is.

The NYT is on a pretty long list of those who don't "get it." Who would have guessed?

MrGarabaldi said...

Hey Peter,

I started blogging after I was "banned" on FB for hate speech over 2 years ago.. by the time they finally investigated and discovered the allegation was false..."like 3 weeks later dude", I had started blogging. It is my form of self expression, the stuff I like I post...I keep it clean because my kid reads it. Bloggers have broken some of the scandals that have dogged the Obungler White House, because unlike the established media, we "Ain't beholdin" to somebody else so the truth comes out. I will continue to blog, for I find it therapeutic and a reassurance that I am not alone in my belief structure.

Anonymous said...

I blog. I read blogs. I don't think that blogs are dead. I think poorly written blogs die, and that some bloggers hit fallow periods or have life changes that lead them to go on hiatus or retire, but the blog will be with us for a good long while.


dan said...

I read many a blog each day, Peter.
None make me feel as comfortable
as yours....not that I'm comparing you to old well-worn slippers atthe end of a hard day on my feet,lol....
but it's always good to visit.

Well Seasoned Fool said...

I like to bitch, and blogging gives me a way to annoy more people.

Your blog is eductional, and thought provoking. Please keep writing.

Glenn B said...

Blogging is not dead nor is it dying. What is happening with a thousand bloggers today is akin to what happens when a thousand kids get a new pet that they had lots of ideas about before getting it. They dreamed their pet would show them the most affection because they dreamed they would feed it, walk it or otherwise care for it, keep it and its habitat clean, and so on. Then after a week for some, maybe months for others and a few times a couple of years for yet some more - they lost interest. Only the rare kid among them kept up a lifelong interest and dedication. Same with bloggers - no doubt.

Eccentric Cowboy said...

I think that bad blogs are going extinct, but that others are simply booming by the very virtue that they have lots of interesting opinions to offer and lots of cool information. I sometimes find blogs that are absolute treasure troves of information while simultaneously giving fun perspectives.

I started my blog for similar reasons that many authors do: To establish a home base for their subject matters and readers.

But it's also just so much fun to write your own honest to goodness opinions where people can see them without overhead sneering at any controversial things you might put down.

Quality work always survives, so let those other gents say what they will. The rest of us know that guys like LawDog aren't about to vanish anytime soon. ;)

Chris Carmichael said...

paraphrase Spam O'Lot:

"You're not dead YET!"

Cedar said...

Since I startedblogging daily about a year ago - and you were a part of my inspiration to do so, Peter - I have really come to enjoy the process. Sure, there are mornings I sit here staring at the screen, coffee in hand and mind blank. But far more often I come up with several things, days in advance, and I have so much fun writing them out. The feedback is great, too. My fiction writing is one thing, the blog writing is another. It feeds me. I've no claim to greatness as a blogger, but I'm not going away any time soon.

Thank you! I always enjoy coming here, you make me reflect on my blessings. That, and it was so good to see you and Dot at LC.

JaneofVirginia said...

I agree with you completely.
I read a number of blogs daily, and occasionally I comment.
It took me some time to get into the unique style of writing that is blogging. Eventually I found that I needed a few blogs in order to divide my interests so that my blogs would be better focused on perhaps fewer subjects. Now that I have, my own numbers have never been higher.
I think perhaps the masses have set aside blogging in favor of tweets and other contributions to social media. Perhaps then, blogging is simply coming into its own.

Old NFO said...

I guess I'm averaging about 1300 corpses a day then... :-) And 'some' do want blogs to die, that way they get control back of what is being said and talked about...

Differ said...

Likewise...I need to write to hone my writing skills(mediocre at best) and what better format...and what better audience? Plus I've met likeminded folk I would not have oherwise.....