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 …
Author: Chris Garrett
Chris Garrett is a content marketing and blogging coach and co-author of the Problogger Book with Darren Rowse.
According to Fast Company, one of the jobs that will no longer exist in 2016 is Blogging. I don’t even remember exactly what they said, except something about who needs “snarky” bloggers trying to overtake the news.
I could go on about “the news”, but I actually choose to address “snarky”.
In my view, it is perfectly ok to be “snarky”. But anyone who refers to themselves as “snarky” is a tool.
That is all.
Personally, I have come to the conclusion that blogs are only blogs to bloggers. Otherwise, they are and (in my opinion) will remain simply web sites to the masses. No one knew that About.com was, in essence, a blog until someone pointed out that it ran on Moveable Type and then it was probably only bloggers who got that revelation.
Weblogs, when used in what seems to be their original intent will continue to be diaries/journals. Other than that, they are what they are – easily updated web platforms. CMS if you will.
With regard to dated posts, those only exist if the blogger/webmaster decides to leave them intact. Otherwise, the various posts/articles can easily appear without date/timestamps giving the look and feel of any other site.
Hi Chris, I posted my response instead of taking up too much space in the comments.
A great question and I hope we concentrate on the answers.
The disadvantage of a Wiki is that all tagging and organizing must be done manually. But that’s not such a big deal.
Nick, from what I’ve seen so far of the Shopify app, the lines between blogs and ecommerce will be blurred even further. It looks like an interesting ecommerce solution they’re cooking up (done with Rails, surprise surprise!)
Markus, thanks for the tip on PMWiki, I’ll take a look. I’m using TXP for my new project only because I understood how it works better than WP, or any other I’ve seen. I love its simplicity and seems fairly lean and powerful. My biggest disappointment though is how it handles Categories – very inflexible and could do better. Would like to see tagging built into the core of TXP.
I go with Nick … everything is blending. For my current project I am analyzing a blog community (LifeType), a blog CMS (Textpattern) and some Wikis which also do a pretty nice job in blogging and publishing.
Right now I am really thinking of ditching Textpattern in favor of a Wiki Farm realized with PMWiki plus a blog web for users realized in a sub domain with LifeType. The reason for that is that I am feeling a little bit uncomfortable with Textpattern regarding the usability and the limitations to only have one ‘site’. And the Wikis also give you a great freedom to blog if you want to.
What I do think is that blogging created a new fresh style in spontaneous publishing. Always new, always fresh and please don’t think to much about web pages in the classical way. First publish and then think about structures if quantity has reached a critical mass. In an old school website project you would first think about the structures ‘what do we have to have’ and ‘how do we present it’. And then you would have to stick with it until the next ‘relaunch’. Blogs and Wikis made it possible to have the structure just as a second thought! This will stay if it is called blogging or whatever.
As I wrote in one of my more abstract recent blog articles (Tribal trends in professional Blogging) pro blogging must become more ‘professional publishing’ then just gossiping and recycling some content found on the Internet. Managing ads and doing affiliate marketing is not ‘bloggish’ at all. It’s work and it it’s no real fun to do it except for the money which eventually will flow.
Side note: When I started to inject affiliate marketing into my pages my writing productivity just went down because I hated to do that ‘work’.
For me the border between a personal blog and publishing a professional website is reached when you start to think in structures and publish articles which must not be really time dependent but more in-depth content. Editorial structures also offered by blogs are tags, categories and ressorts. Then there is of course a time line to follow. Fresh content must be created in certain cycles. The readers expect that like they expect it from a daily newspaper or any other scheduled publication.
I don’t see myself as a blogger but more as a content creator and presenter. The same with revenue … clients won’t pay you necessarily for blogging but they do pay you for getting them a steady attention from potential customers. To reach that goal you have to think about the appropriate tools … only one of them on the publishing workbench is called blogging!
Ecom sites come closer to blogs via comments and general “conversational awareness”, blogs come closer to ecom sites when vendors inevitably start shipping more advanced ecom modules with their software.
It will all blend, just not today.