Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Blogging is Dead

Maybe I'm in the minority, but it seems that blogging has taken a sharp nose dive in terms of frequency. I monitor a bunch of Oracle-related and other blogs, and the traffic is definitely down. There were also few blog re-caps of ODTUG - which is in stark contrast to years past, where the coverage has been extensive. The few blogs that were updated were brief and light on real content.

So, the question must be asked: is blogging a thing of the past?

First of all, maintaining a blog is not easy. You have to select a topic that you want to blog about, hoping that it is of interest to not just you but your readers. Then, you may have to do some research on that topic, maybe create an example if its a technical blog, and then find the time to actually compose your thoughts. Sounds too much like school to me!

Using Twitter is easy. Many of the people that I follow "re-tweet" other people's Tweets that they find interesting. To translate for the non-Tweeters out there - you just re-send someone else's post. That's it. You can do it in literally seconds.

Some of the people that I follow do share some original interesting thoughts or ideas. Some are guises for corporate marketing. Others share trivial day-to-day events that won't change my life in the least. While others are, well, just uninteresting. It definitely takes some time sifting through the noise that Twitter can generate. There's a lot of "popular" Tweeters that flood the Internet with largely boring or useless information. There's also quite a few that are useful and interesting. It's like anything else - some are good, some, not so much.

I think that many bloggers started a blog because they felt that they had to. They never enjoyed writing, and had little interest in it before blogging became popular. But feeling left out, they created a Blogger account, posted their "Hey, this is my first post, I have so many things to blog about" post, and probably never signed in again.

We're not all cut out to be writers. Or painters. Or musicians. And that's just fine. Writing is a talent that few people have. This is why major news outlets don't employ everyone, but only a select few. Those few produce content, we read it. It's that simple. Blogging opened things up for anyone, but really just exposed just how many bad writers are out there.

Despite this, we can and have been consumers of information that other people author for some time. For example: If you read a good article on say, Internet Security, you may e-mail a group of friends and share the link to the article. Typically, you'll preface the link with a sentence or two, highlighting your favorite part of the article.

Twitter is just that; a new way for non-authors to share content with other non-authors and authors alike, and potentially comment on it. Its just that simple.

It's not a new medium, but rather a new distribution channel. It allows us to share information or content with others that we share interests with. You can easily click on a link, see the title of a document, and determine if you want to read more based on the topic, author, or a combination thereof. You only read what you want to read. At most, you're investing the time it takes to read 140 characters or less and clicking a single link. Even that may be a lot for our attention spans these days...

Is Twitter a fad that will be gone in a couple of years? Probably. But maybe not. I think that Twitter will represent the foundation of a new content delivery mechanism that the Internet and Internet-enabled devices adapt to. It's like any other version 1.0 technology - we're only seeing parts of it working, as the other parts have not been defined yet, despite the hype. It's clearly caught the attention of the global community, and will definitely be interesting to see how it shapes up over the next few years.

FYI: You can follow me on Twitter: @sspendol

16 comments:

oraclenerd said...

Scott,

I'm not sure if it's dead, but the initial rush may be. It's like that Anatomy class in college (university for my non-american friends), it serves as a mechanism to weed the un-motivated out.

For me, it's become more than just sharing (my original intent), it's now about:
1. Becoming a better writer/communicator
2. Creating my own knowledge base (hey, I did that before, I wonder if I wrote it down?)

I can't say I'll always keep up the pace (10-15 a month), but I'd like to as long as possible.

I still encourage others to start one...someone, somewhere will find value in it.

On the other point (less frequent posts by certain Oracle bloggers), I would agree. Personally, I miss Mr. Kyte's postings. I don't blame him though...I'm still trying to figure out how he does his job AND AskTom.

Plus, I don't see enough of the original APEX developers posting enough any more. <ahem>

chet

Scott said...

That's exactly my point. I do it so that I can refine my skills, and at the same time share and document thoughts and tips. Not everyone is cut out to do this, especially when you have to structure your thoughts as sentences. Wonder why "list" blogging never took off...

- Scott -

oraclenerd said...

I do like your point about twitter (forgot about that in my original response). It's been a great deal, both in the community aspects and the learning. I posted an OBIEE problem once and got a very detailed note from Christian Berg. How cool is that?

Dan Norris said...

I remember seeing a lot of "looks like everyone got facebook for Christmas" earlier this year. Based on several friends that seem addicted, maybe bloggers have become FB addicts instead?

Scott said...

Facebook for me is 100% personal. I rarely share a link or comment that has anything to do with Oracle or even technology there. I suppose that a good deal of blogging time has been sucked up by FB, but would think that it would only be a temporary loss.

- Scott -

Marco Gralike said...

Some of my "blogging" decrease is due to the "big economic crises", aka I am sometimes just worn out in the evening and have no energy left...another one is that testing the new db release is also eating up a lot of "hobby time", time that isn't spend on blogging...

;-)

LewisC said...

After 4 /1/2 years of blogging, my urge comes and goes. I have no free time at the moment and twitter gives me an outlet for the cool stuff I want to share even when I have no time. I'll be back to blogging though, I enjoy writing the longer articles way too much to give up.

I do think 95% of the bloggers who start never get past 3 months.

I also think twitter is here to stay. It's like TCP is better than UDP but UDP is still around. ;-)

LewisC

Dave said...

Personally I blog for a couple of reasons, the main one is to create a knowledge base of problems I have encountered. The second is to help me learn more about a given topic. I find it helps if I 'try' to explain it to someone else. If my blog articles help someone, its a great side affect but not the main purpose.

Funny story, a coworker IM'd me one day with a problem but I was away from my desk. When I touched base with them they said they had found the solution. I asked what it was and they cut and paste a URL into the chat session. It was my blogs URL. No wonder it worked, I had hit the same issue a couple of years back. ;)

As for twitter, its like it has turned into an instant messaging system. People aren't using it anymore to answer the question, "What are you doing?" There have been a few people I was interested in following but after looking at their updates it was like listening to a one sided telephone conversation.

Arave said...

Interesting statement "Blogging is Dead". It may be less popular then it has in the past. There could be several reasons for this. A few I can think of.
(1) So many blogs are from persons doing self promotion. If the blogger is not trying to sell a product or service they are showing everyone how smart they are. That can be a turn off.
(2) Expansion of other social networking sights competing against blogging.
(3) Information Technologies are maturing. So many blogs about technology subjects have already been written. Some bloggers may not post because they feel they have no original content.

Todd

Byte64 said...

Hi Scott!
I definitely enjoy writing, but that doesn't necessarily mean that others appreciate my efforts.
I tend to avoid topics that may easily lead to endless discussions (i.e. what will happen to MySQL in two years time?)
Writing allows me "to pin" problems in my memory, may be i don't remember how to do that at a later time, but i do remember where to get the information: my own blog!
I don't think twitter is really going to replace blogging, can sms replace newspapers?
I don't think so, indeed one of the most useful features of twitter is to quickly share an article or a link with others, which means that blogs (or printed articles) should theoretically benefit from it.
So, for me saying "blogging is dead" is a bit too radical for the time being.

Ciao!
Flavio

Sue said...

I think the blogs are invaluable. I have a few posts that are revisited a lot. My snag is that there are so many things to talk about and so little time to write. Right now I have a long list of topics that I think would be useful to folk out there. It's just getting started again. Maybe this is how a dieter or a smoker feels. "Tomorrow is always a good day to start..." but maybe I'll start now.
(I'm ye olde worlde girl - don't like twitter or facebook)
Sue

Scott said...

It seems that some of the consensus is that blogging is not "dead", but it's just harder to find the time and energy to keep it alive.

Also, we're now competing for blog time with Facebook & Twitter - which are much easier to use, as we only have to enter a witty phrase or point to someone else's content.

I also agree that if it weren't for blogs, it would be much harder to learn and share new ideas and techniques. I have never doubted the validity of blogs; I just noticed that the frequency of updates has plummeted since the advent of these other social media technologies.

And Sue - it made me chuckle that your idea of "old world" is blogging. :)

- Scott -

Leland said...

IMO Blogging started out as another way for LiveJournal users to talk about what went on in their day. The IT community has taken a different perspective on it with Tech journals and how-tos, etc. but content is an issue. Using Google Reader, I usually get duplicate articles (especially in music and video game categories) and filtering it can become an unneeded chore.

You're correct on the not being easy part. I don't see how people who work all day, have families, etc have time to manage a blog. I started one but it's not worth while and I rarely post on it. If blogs were used to demonstrate/advertise something new they would be better.

Again IMO, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. should only be used for personal use for only people you know. However that's not becoming the case with Facebook turning into another MySpace (which is another service I have but rarely use).

That's another problem, every 6 to 12 months, a new fad networking site comes out and people swarm to register, get obsessed and then forget about it until they check their email and have 492 emails asking for friends to be added or notifying of some new message, which turns out to be spam.

I don't see the real use in Twitter other than for News Stations to report breaking news and companies to post teaser information - but wasn't that the point of blogs? I really won't lose sleep if I don't know that some guy/girl I went to high school with is drinking at the Chimes.

Sorry for the long post.

Anonymous said...

I was about to agree totally with this post, and to post a link to it ( a blog post) on my blog.. but then i thought how ironic would that be?

Scott said...

Very ironic. :)

- Scott -

Melanie said...

very informative