Social Networks Killed the Blog Star?

Written on
Feb 21, 2011 
Gavin Dunaway  |

funeral_small.jpgADOTAS – Blogging is so 2003, The New York Times reports – I mean, when was the last time someone someone suggested checking out his/her blog?

Need proof? You’re so old-fashioned: The Google Blogger platform’s U.S. monthly uniques fell 2% year over year in December 2010 to 58.6 million (global uniques, however, were up 9% to 323 million). Pew Research Center and the Internet and American Life Project found last year that only 14% of 12 to 17-year-olds blog, which has fallen by half since 2006.

But the youngens aren’t into email either — what’s the matter with these kids today?

You see, writing blog posts takes so long and nobody reads them — NYTimes finds that many people who kept up blogs to keep family and friends informed of their goings on have discovered it’s easier to do that with Facebook.

But blogging isn’t dead, as Technocrati’s annual State of the Blogosphere received 7.200 responses to its survey, the highest feedback level yet. The largest group responding were hobbyists (64%), followed by self-employeds (21%), who blog full time or occasionally for their own company or organization. Corporate bloggers represented 1% of those queried and, interestingly, were the most likely to have traditional media experience.

“Bloggers’ use of and engagement with various social media tools is expanding, and the lines between blogs, micro-blogs, and social networks are disappearing,” Jon Sobel summarized at Technorati.

It’s hard to call a blog a blog anymore. It’s arguable that the best blogs and blog-like entities have turned into actual journalism outlets — perhaps you’ve heard of Business Insider or TechCrunch? On the business side, the blog has become a tool for spreading news and opinion, with firms charging marketing employees to manage the publishing or owners and executives taking control themselves.

It’s interesting that three-quarters of the 65% of bloggers that consider themselves hobbyists measure success based on personal satisfaction. It will be curious to see how this group changes with the growing prominence of niche/interest-based social networks. These seem to be the evolution of news groups/forums, and they could steal from the blogging world as the NYTimes piece notes that LiveJournal is now emphasizing communities.

So with the domination of Facebook and social networks, blogs haven’t withered but transformed — grown up if you will. The pajama-wearing blogger inserting his/her two cents on whatever whenever has moved to Facebook, while more serious blogs (craving serious advertising revenue) have become journalism outlets. It’s not surprising that 40% of Technorati’s respondents have a declining trust in mainstream media.

Still, amateur hobbyists make up a majority of bloggers, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a shift to interest-based social networks in the near future. And many advertisers have found the best way to reach this group is through engaging them via the social network.

Gavin Dunaway is Editor, U.S. at AdMonsters, a leading trade publication, event producer and service provider for the online advertising industry. Previously, he had been Senior Editor of Adotas, where he arrived after years of ping-ponging around various industry publications. This Washington, D.C. native and George Mason University graduate also enjoys playing electric guitar so loud that the walls shake.

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