Is Blogging Dead?

There has been a lot of scuttlebutt in the blogosphere * over the past year that BLOGGING IS DEAD.   In fact if you Google the words “blogging is dead” you will find over 60 pages filled (ironically) with blog posts using the exact same, hyperbolic, attention grabbing, headline I chose  for this post.

*Disclosure: I don’t actually know what (or where?) the blogosphere really is.  I just thought it would be fun to use the words scuttlebutt and blogosphere in the same sentence.

So, is this true?  Is blogging really dead?  Cause if so, well that kind of sucks, man!  I mean I just started this damn blog a year ago and now I find out that the whole industry is dead.  Double Turds!!!!

Sadly, for me and my stupid blog filled with words, the data seems to back up this apocalyptic prognostication.  Today’s blogger is no longer writing long form blogs in WordPress (or god forbid Typepad or Blogspot).  Instead, they’re using blog-lite websites like Tumblr to share interesting photos with snarky captions.   In fact, Mashable recently posted that by the end of 2012 the word Tumblr will actually overtake the word blog in Google searches.

The reason Tumblr is spanking long-form blogs is pretty simple.   Tumblr = pictures.  Blogs = words.  Pictures > Words.  :. Tumblr Wins.  End of Story.

 

 

 

I just have to look at my own blog analytics on Startups and Burritos to see that this is true.  For example.  The longest post I’ve written (Why Weird is Good) is 1241 words. It got a whopping 102 views. The shortest post I’ve written (Best Job Interview Follow Up Ever) is 56 words but includes a funny video. It had over 3261 views.  The post with the video did 32 times better.  Was the content really 32 times better? Perhaps it was, but more likely the reason the video post did so much better is because people simply prefer to consume information through video rather than long, boring prose.

Okay, so if blogs are in fact dying, what does this actually mean?

Truthfully, the growing distaste for written blogs is merely a symptom of a bigger trend.  As we become ever more addicted to the constant fire hose of information that is social media, most people (myself included) sadly don’t have the attention span anymore to read anything that requires more than 20 seconds of brain power.  In other words, the death of blogs is probably just the canary in the coal mine.

Instead of words, we want pictures. Lots of them.

MORE PICTURES.  LESS WORDS.  This is the trend  –> Instagram: $1 Billion exit //  Encyclopedia Britannica: out of print

Take for example, these two e-commerce sites, Sears and FAB.com. Which one do you think will still be around in 20 years.  I’ll give you a hint.  It doesn’t rhyme with beers.

 

So here’s my takeaway to my fellow Startuppers:

Your content needs to be visual or it will perish!!!

This trend isn’t just with blogs. It’s your website, your mobile app, your emails, your monthly newsletters, your everything.  Visual is the way of the web in 2012 and I don’t think we’ll see a reversal anytime soon. The trend towards a more visual web has been upon us for years, and the growth of mobile devices, whose small screen sizes mandate we use even fewer words, will only accelerate the visual web’s dominance. if you’re is not moving towards a more visual content delivery system, you’re dead in the water.

 

 

* Holy mackerel! This non-visual blog post is whopping 564words.  And yes, in case you were wondering, it would probably generate a lot more more traffic if I simply replaced 560 of these words with an awesome animated GIF of keyboard cat.

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14 thoughts on “Is Blogging Dead?

  1. cboardway says:

    Not the best news for someone who literally just decided to start blogging.

    So where does that leave people who are trying to write good content to try and establish credibility and relevance in their field?

    • ethanaustin1 says:

      To be fair, I think there will ALWAYS be room for people who are writing good content within a narrow vertical. I don’t think that type of blogging is going away. In fact, I think it’s probably one of the smartest and most cost effective ways of advertising.

      On the other hand, I do think long form personal blogging (i.e. keeping a diary about your cat) is dying or at least these personal diaries are migrating to other platforms (e.g. Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr) where the posts are shorter, pic-friendly and more manageable for the reader.

    • Great Post Ethan, and @cboardway there is still plenty of room, but it all depends on why you are blogging. I started my blog 9 months ago (mostly long form), and it has helped me tremendously in many ways.

      I definitely agree with Ethan though that there are many Tumblr like blogs with animated gifs that will most likely get more traffic than your personal blog.

      For me it was consistency of blogging (almost every day), and finding your voice. Once you do that, then the traffic will come.

      • ethanaustin1 says:

        Thanks Robbie

        @cbroadway – I agree with Robbie 100% here. Actually have another blog post in draft mode right now that lists out several reasons why blogging is still a good idea. For me one of the biggest benefits of blogging is that it helps to clarifies my thinking. The same way writing a business plan may get someone to fully flesh out their business ideas, writing thoughtfully about a concept in a blog does the same for me.

  2. R.G. Riles says:

    Ethan, I just about had a coronary when I first read this. After-all, my business relies largely on helping startups getting their blog, social media, and websites working in concert with each other – and I am the primary content creator. Primarily, my content goes out in the form of long-form blogs (well, I stick with a strict 1 photo per 500 words) as well as email marketing campaigns. I stopped panicking, however, when I realized the real point here. It’s not that blogging is dead. Rather, it’s that everything is becoming more visual and we need to provide the same great content with more of an emphasis on multi-media and visual appeal. Great post. Thanks. -RG

    • ethanaustin1 says:

      R.G. Yes, main point is that everything is becoming more visual including blogging, but I don’t think good written will ever go away. The platform through which we share content might be a bit different but the format will largely remain the same. People typically consume media for three reasons: to laugh; to learn; and to be inspired. As long as people continue teaching and inspiring others through good content, blog’s are not in any danger of ending up in the deadpool.

      For the record, I think business style blogging will stick around for a while. I prob should have titled the post, “Is personal blogging dead?”

  3. I think the big question here is, “is writing dead?” The answer of course is no, but it certainly is taking a big back-seat to visual imagery.

    You’re spot on that the flood of information is preventing many of us from sitting down to read. And if no one is there to read, why write? Well there will always a be a minority that loves to write for the sake of writing, but most of us just want attention and connectivity.

    Whatever path we take as a culture (written, visual, holographic, telephathic, etc) I just hope there’s always a copious amount of quality content.

    My recent thoughts on the subject: http://www.wwtid.com/2012/09/25/connectivity-isnt-the-problem-you-are/

  4. Thanks for clarifying that you weren’t necessarily referring to business blogging! I agree that visual is where it’s at and a picture speaks a thousand words, but it’s easier said than done when your blog focuses on a topic that would be considered a little ‘dry’ and difficult to communicate in a video or picture. Maybe you can write a post on how to come up with creative video ideas for those of us working in B2B, which isn’t always as ‘sexy’ as B2C blogs.

  5. What a GREAT blog title! Once I read the title, I KNEW I had to read the article. I agree with some of the other comments that there will (hopefully) be a place for ‘good content.’

  6. […] dat zilele trecute peste un articol interesant despre viitorul blogging-ului. O fi si viitorul cartilor intr-o anume […]

  7. The website without proper content marketing is in the cow pasture.

    Two key elements are required to succeed in inbound (content)
    marketing. It is the act of communicating what
    your offering is all about – in such a way that it convinces a potential customer to
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