Mashable reported the results of a recent Pew Internet study on the uses of the Internet in 2010. It’s a great read, be sure to check it out. I found this chart fascinating.
One of the big findings was that blogging was on the decline. I’m not surprised. Blogging is hard. It takes time. It takes effort. Blogging is not a quick and simple tool of expression. Mashable suggests one reason for the decline in blogging is the rise of Facebook and Twitter for self experssion. I think they are right. Blogging is too robust a tool for the sole use of sharing pictures or self-expression, 140 characters is a much better alternative.
When it comes to blogging, I’m more interested in who is hanging around, who is still blogging and who is choosing to blog, how much more are they blogging, what are they blogging about, why are they blogging? I don’t think blogging is declining rather than shrinking. This is a key distinction. I see blogging as consolidating. As more Internet tools come out, people have better options for what they are trying to do. Blogs were early, and therefore were a hammer, where everything social media looked like a nail. Now there are screwdrivers, saws, and drills. Interent users are becoming more savvy and choosing the tools that best work for them. It’s a utility game and there are more tools with better utility available today than there were a few years ago. I talked about this shift a while back here.
Blogging may be shrinking from a numbers perspective, but I wouldn’t be so quick to say it’s on the decline. It is still a hugely valuable tool that generates tremendous return for those who use it and use it well. I don’t look at it as the decline of blogging but rather a pruning. Like forest fires strengthen a forest by getting rid of the dead wood and fertilizing the soil, this blogging “decline” maybe exactly what blogging needs to make it stronger.