Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of articles that talk about blogging being dead. These are blog articles, mind you, which seems to prove the point that blogging is not dead. I don’t even know what that means: “blogging is dead.” I have a hunch it refers to long form blogging, since Twittering and Facebook status updating are short form blogging, and posting photos or videos is visual blogging. Maintaining a web log is all about making a presence on the internet, keeping a record of one’s progress or ideas or everyday life. The form the log takes is constantly changing, but the need people have to tell the world “I am here and I matter” will always find a voice.
People do seem to be losing interest in reading long form blogs. Supposedly they don’t have the attention span it takes to read five hundred or so words. Supposedly they prefer snippets of information they can scan, photos they can glance at, videos they can watch, especially if those posts are funny. The sort of thing that goes viral is not a lengthy dissertation on why blogging is dead but a short video of cats trying to figure out the meaning of a treadmill, or a humorous caption on a photo of a singing dog.
Me? I have no interest in such things. I don’t like videos — it’s much easier for me to scan an article to pick out the salient points than to watch one or two people discussing something for five minutes only to find the relevant issue buried in bantering, small talk, or hype. I don’t particularly like photos, either, partly because I am verbally rather than visually oriented, and partly because . . . (dare I admit it?) . . . I have no interest in sappy pet photos or photos of people I don’t know doing things I don’t care about.
Perhaps the sky-is-falling attitude about blogging stems from the way mobile devices are changing how people connect with others and the internet. It’s easier on a phone to send in a tweet or a comment on a Facebook status than to write a blog or even to leave a comment on a blog. (Or so people say. The only web-related activity I do on my phone is checking my email, and I want to get out of the habit of doing that.)
I started blogging as a way of promoting my books, and even after I found out how little effect blogging has on my sales, I continued. For me, blogging is a discipline, a way of writing when I don’t have the focus to write a novel, a means of helping me think. It’s possible I’d get more views if I posted silly photos, but views are not all I want. I tend to be a thinker (or maybe “brooder” would be a better description) with a need to talk about the important issues of life and death and finding a place in the world, a need to connect with people on a deeper, truer, and more fundamental way than the simple exchanges that usually take place online. And often, I do find that here in my own corner of the blogosphere.
So, is blogging dead? I don’t know, and I don’t particularly care (as long as WordPress is around, that is. If WordPress becomes defunct, then blogging really would be dead). What’s important to me is that this blog is very much alive, that it continues to satisfy my need for expression, and that sometimes people respond to what I have to say.
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+
March 9, 2013 at 2:27 pm
I hope it’s not dead because I still enjoy reading blog posts, be they humorous, thoughtful, poignant, informational..
March 9, 2013 at 2:42 pm
Definitely — I wrote this article from the standpoint of a writer, but reading blog posts gets to be addictive. It’s truly an incredible resource.
March 9, 2013 at 2:32 pm
Interesting post. I don’t believe that blogging is dead. It might be that there are now more options for perspective readers to view on the internet. Also people are in general more busy and may have a taste for shorter posts.
March 9, 2013 at 2:46 pm
Very true — so many more options. In the beginning, whole communities were built around certain blogs, and I don’t see too much of that any more, probably because that sort of communicating moved to Facebook. But other than that, blogs continue to be a popular form of expression.
March 9, 2013 at 2:32 pm
You took the words right out of my mouth! Frankly, I poo-poo’ed blogging until I started doing it myself. Now what began as a future way to reach book readers has become my weekly writing exercises, my way to connect with interesting new people … and sometimes even my therapist. I cant imagine where I would be on this writing and grief journey without it. Thanks for sharing!
March 9, 2013 at 2:49 pm
The thing that’s great about blogging is that it’s beneficial even if few people read what we write. I’m like you — I can’t imagine where I would be on this writing and grief journey without it.
March 9, 2013 at 2:38 pm
Facebook and Twitter hurt bloggers in the sense that it is just so much easier to share articles there instead of just introducing something with your own commentary on a blog. But there is no fooling good bloggers – they know when they are being lazy. Blogging is still the best self expression platform on the net, if that is what you truly want to do.
March 9, 2013 at 2:51 pm
Yes — the best self-expression platform on the net. It can even incorporate art, photos, videos, whatever you need to express yourself. And it doesn’t disappear into the ether the way twitter and facebook posts do.
March 9, 2013 at 3:10 pm
March 9, 2013 at 2:47 pm
I’ve been reading articles about blogs being passé for awhile now, and yet there seems to be no shortage of blogs. Of course, most bloggers feed off each other through reciprocal visits, so how much of our content is seen by non-blogger eyes is the question. I would imagine not much.
March 9, 2013 at 2:53 pm
Blogs have a high visibility on google, so it’s possible a lot of non-bloggers stop by. Whether they stay is another matter.
March 9, 2013 at 2:56 pm
March 9, 2013 at 3:03 pm
I never understood what “blogging” was. It didn’t occur to me that this was a “blog” regardless of the word being in the email and title. I’ve always found it easier to write how I feel or think because I’m extremely shy and reticent to make my thoughts known. I believe that because you’re dealing with a topic, death…particularly the death of a spouse, people just don’t want to think about it. That is until it hits them personally. Then, you can’t get any real answers. I’ve read the steps of the grieving process and can’t find where the heck I fit on the scale. Reading your thoughts and feelings has helped me identify so many truths about this painful life event. I can’t say it helps me feel better, but you are able to capture the stuff that is happening in my head when I can only feel confused and sad. You have the ability to put into words the workings of the mind of one who is grieving, deeply grieving.
After our son died, I wanted desperately to know where he was. I know, that sounds ridiculous, but I started reading books on death and dying. That was in 1974. I must have studied the topic a year, maybe more. The more information I found, the more I became aware of my own mortality (I was 27 at the time.). After that, I never had a fear of dying. My concern was that I would be there to rear my children. I didn’t want them going through what I’m going through now. Now I know why.
Pat, perhaps you should change from “blog” to “fog lifter”; because in your words you strip away the façade that plagues this nation about death and dying. For those of us intimately familiar with that life event, it does help a fog lift. At least it works that way for me. Anyway, thanks for swimming upstream and not giving up.
March 10, 2013 at 4:03 pm
Fog lifter is as good as calling this a blog, a column (like a newspaper column), a soapbox, or a series of essays — basically it’s all the same. It’s just a place for me to expound and try to make sense of life and death and grief and writing and my place in the world. It’s helped me tremendously, not just to put what I’ve been feeling into words, but also to connect with others who are in the same situation.
The stages of grief were originally an observation of how people come to terms with their own dying. They really have little to do with the way grief for a long time mate actually manifests itself.
And no, it doesn’t sound ridiculous to want to find out where your son is and to read books to find out more. It’s what grievers do. I used to go out in the desert and scream, “Where are you?”
I’ll continue to swim upstream.
March 9, 2013 at 3:13 pm
If blogging were dead or dying, I wouldn’t be talking to you now. My blog has brought me numerous oppurtunities, which is why I still blog to this day. Though I’m having trouble coming up with a new article these days!
March 9, 2013 at 5:36 pm
Blogging is still so young. Maybe it just has the measles. In a few weeks it will be up and at ’em again and out playing with the other internet resources. Seriously though, I haven’t seen a slow down of blogging at all.
March 10, 2013 at 2:38 pm
That’s cute — blogging has the measles. Sounds good to me!
March 10, 2013 at 11:22 am
I read a few blogs but that’s only because I found out about the writers from other means. For example, I read Charlie Pierce’s book, Idiot America, (which is about how the media has produced a nation of nonthinkers) and then found out he has a blog. My own blog gets a few hits but people don’t comment which completely takes away the fun. Half the hits I get on my blog seem to be from spam machines, at least it seems like that to me, although they don’t leave comments, it’s like some computer somewhere is scanning for something to prey on.
March 10, 2013 at 3:54 pm
I checked out Pierce’s book. He sure has that right! In a society where opinion has as much value as fact, there’s no need for intelligence.
May 19, 2013 at 2:56 am
“Me? I have no interest in such things. I don’t like videos — it’s much easier for me to scan an article to pick out the salient points than to watch one or two people discussing something for five minutes only to find the relevant issue buried in bantering, small talk, or hype. I don’t particularly like photos, either, partly because I am verbally rather than visually oriented, and partly because . . . (dare I admit it?) . . . I have no interest in sappy pet photos or photos of people I don’t know doing things I don’t care about.”
I don’t mind youtube videos, so long as they are from a source that I know does meaningful discussion. I also tend to do a lot of long-form blogging (500+ words) but do splice it with pictures to illustrate the point and retain reader attention. For shorter snippets and thought fragments I use twitter, the bulk of my arguments go onto blogger (which I can link to through twitter).