Blogging is a relatively new thing. More and more people are joining in all the time but it is far from mainstream. In fact it isn’t yet even on the vast majority of web users radar. What should we do about that, and does it even matter?
It’s easy to forget how unimportant this blogging stuff is to the wider world. Sometimes we get so earnest about all the issues we care about as bloggers that we miss how trivial it might seem to the ordinary Joe on the street. Just now I was discussing blogs and blogging and we were talking about how few people outside of our online friends know what a blog is.
While you could point to your traffic and say “well thousands of people visit my blog so someone out there knows” in fact surveys, even surveys actually served from blogs, show that your ordinary Mr and Miss Joe Public just see blogs as websites, they make no distinction. They are “surfing the web”, it doesn’t make much difference to them if it is a website, a blog, a wiki, just as long as they get the information they want.
So what about the things we care about as bloggers? What about splogs, comment spam, copy theft, ethics ..
Outside of the blogging echo chamber they are just not issues. Beyond “good website” and “bad website” it seems the general web user does not make a distinction. And you know what? I am not sure they should care.
“Blogs” came from “Web Logs”, which were a kind of online diary. I am not sure when people started to make a distinction between “my website” and “my blog”.
What is a blog after all to the end user/reader?
- A website
- Descending date order index page
- Conversational writing style
- Sometimes mention “RSS” and other confusing jargon stuff
- Can sometimes comment though not always sure how
Recently blogs seem to be leaking into the media a little more, newspapers and TV news mention them on occasion or have bloggers as part of discussion panels. Apparently blogs were mentioned on the new “Invasion” television series. These small occasions aside, it seems even after quite a few years blogs are not about to become bursting into common awareness. Perhaps we are going about it the wrong way?
The future of blogging is an important factor in the lives of people who want to be professional bloggers, our livelihoods might depend on getting this stuff right. Perhaps as pro bloggers we need to consciously educate our readers. Rather than expect our readers to know about this blogging stuff. Should we educate our readers or make it so easy there is nothing to learn. Should they be aware they are visiting a blog or is it not important? If this is the case, though what future is there in “blogging”?
Over to you, what do you think? Does blogging have a future, if so what is it? Will blogs just re-merge back into being just another type of website or will they further diverge into something unique and separate. Please give us your thoughts in the comments …