Where have all the bloggers gone? Long time passing. I want to know.
I miss the blogosphere.
There was a time, between 2007-2009, when everyone had a blog. It was peak blog. Blogspot and WordPress. Blog rolls and tagging. Blog awards and comments of the week.
I started feeling the decline in 2011, and in 2013 it was really apparent. Now, it’s a veritable ghost town.
Maybe I’m just getting old, but I really miss that time. Peak blog coincided with economic calamity, and the entire world was on edge (note: I don’t think there was a connection. I think.). But there was something comforting in the sense of simultaneous community and individuality, people pioneering their own space but making sure to check in on what everyone else was doing.
And sure, people are still tweeting and Facebooking and Tumblring, but there was a time when people put their thoughts out there, in detail, took the time to go around and read what other people were thinking, in detail, and left thoughtful comments. In detail.
The blogosphere certainly had its unfortunate flame wars, but it seems like the book portion Twittersphere and Tumblrverse in particular are now optimized for peak outrage, one s***show after the next, with nothing ever meaningful really seeming to come of it.
This is some uncharacteristic techno-nostalgia for me, but I think 2007-2009 was a pretty great time, (Internet-wise at least), when people were putting their thoughts on digital paper and thinking thoughtfully about what other people were writing. And making actual real-life friends! I met some of my dearest friends through my blog.
Am I missing something? Have people picked up and moved to another, better place?
What do you make of the decline of the blogosphere?
Art: Sunland Landscape by Audley Dean Nicols
Peter Dudley says
I agree, entirely. I miss it, too… mostly. What's funny is that many of my best blog buddies are now my facebook friends, and instead of getting some in-depth thoughts from them once or twice a week, I see photos of their kids and banter in near-real-time. But the blogosphere was where I met them, and I haven't made that many new online friends in a few years. Instead, my real-life friends have joined my social networks.
In fact, the only reason I saw this post tonight was that I was bored with the Netflix movie my wife picked out, and I'd caught up with twitter and facebook. So I fired up Feedly to see what I hadn't looked at in… gosh, nearly a year I'm guessing.
You say you miss blogoshere and post like once in two weeks at the same time. It seems a little bit illogically. We're running our lifes. So if we miss blogs we should revive it.
Maya Prasad says
For me, it started to feel like I'd read the same publishing information over and over again. It also became clear that I should spend more time writing, rather than reading about writing, or blogging about writing. I still sometimes blog/read blogs but my favorite communities now are less public, where we can discuss what we face without worrying what an editor or agent will think.
I miss the good old days of blogging too, Nathan. More than I can say. Still, I keep keeping on, hoping for a Renaissance. 😀
Ah yeah, I feel like nowadays so many blogs are impersonal. I remember a few years ago reading a bunch of wonderful blogs that were like taking a peak into someone's diary!
Nowadays, I notice a lot of bloggers are trying to be a brand instead of a person. I see this on social media as well, especially with authors (mostly self published). They have to handle all the promotion, so everything they put out is tinged with that, and you get nothing of the person and just this promo shell instead. It's turned me off blog reading, and has stopped me from creating a blog myself.
I keep being told I need to have one as an author to drive sales etc. It sounds so fake and gross these days to have a website and run a blog.
I tend to use Twitter more than anything, but I do miss the days when creating websites and blogs was more personal.
Also … I hate that people seem to expect photos in blogs. I hate having to take the time to stage a stupid photo that looks half decent just because people think a bunch of text will be dull. Photos are so time consuming and it takes enough time to write blog posts, forget about sticking damn pictures in there too lol.
Kathryn Peterson says
It's sort of ironic — I see what you're saying and totally get it, because I too was involved in blogging back in that golden era. But ironically, I now have an online column — not actually a blog, but a column, and it IS like a peek into someone's diary (mine! Eeek!) and I worry that it is too intimate, too much information, etc. etc. And people seem to like it and are reading it, but still, it doesn't seem to draw the community that the blogs of yore (ha) drew.
I hope that makes sense. I am a bit punchy/tired. I just wonder if it's more that whereas blogs were one form of social media back then, now we have such a proliferation of different types of media that we're all sort of all over the place.
Kathryn Peterson says
And I agree with JC that the fancier we get and the more Pintresty we get, the more we are pressured to be visually interesting/entertaining/have videos, pictures, etc. As if the text is not enough.
Kristin Noelle Wolfgang says
I imagine it was similar when magazines were first invented. Ironically, I found this post when I was checking my links from my old blog (2009-2011). I've missed you Nathan, and I'm happy you're still out here in the blogosphere. Aloha!
We're still there, and going stronger than ever. 10 years for me now. When the trend slacked off, the trendy went with it 🙂
The hardest part of blogging is keeping content fresh and moving forward with changing times. In order to do that a blogger has to step out of the proverbial box. In other words, in publishing blogs queries were fresh ten years ago. Not so much anymore…for various reasons. Even the humor has changed and evolved. And, writers have taken on a new sense of empowerment.
I think the Peter Principle could be applied to most bloggers. And there's nothing wrong with that. I'm sure I'll reach that point, too, eventually. Just not yet. I'm not ready to give up on fresh content, especially when there's so much out there 🙂
Helen Marien Lee says
I, too, am glad you're still here after all this time. The wonderful thing about blogging is that it allows the blogger to design the format, however needed or desired (with a little bit of coding knowledge) — this too, is an art form. Some blogs allow comments, others don't. Some are more about photography and others are about creating beautiful words and thoughts. Either way, because of these choices, blogs are a bit more in-depth than other shared platforms. Mine is in its 5th year and I've shared a lot of life by seeing what arrives through these hands and onto the computer keys. It's one of the most positive experiences I've had with technology and the world wide web.
Your post took me down nostalgia lane. Those were truly the best years to be active in blogland. I made many real life friends many of whom no longer write. The rest have gone commercial with sponsored posts and I no longer follow them.
A couple of weeks late for this conversation, but here's a relevant article:
The Web We Have to Save
It's by Iranian dissident Hossein Derakhshan, recently released after six years in prison. The Web that he found when he got out was nothing like the Web when he was arrested in 2008.
In 2008, "on the web, there were blogs: the best place to find alternative thoughts, news and analysis. … [Blogs] were windows into lives you’d rarely know much about; bridges that connected different lives to each other and thereby changed them. Blogs were cafes where people exchanged diverse ideas on any and every topic you could possibly be interested in."
But now, he finds, the Web has been taken over by "a philosophy that combined two of the most dominant, and most overrated, values of our times: novelty and popularity, reflected by the real world dominance of young celebrities. … the diversity of themes and opinions is less online today than it was in the past. New, different, and challenging ideas get suppressed by today’s social networks because their ranking strategies prioritize the popular and habitual."
He also wonders, "Maybe it’s that text itself is disappearing. After all, the first visitors to the web spent their time online reading web magazines. Then came blogs, then Facebook, then Twitter. Now it’s Facebook videos and Instagram and SnapChat that most people spend their time on. There’s less and less text to read on social networks, and more and more video to watch, more and more images to look at. Are we witnessing a decline of reading on the web in favor of watching and listening?"
I really miss the anonymity of the time. My favorite places to blog were VOX.com, LAST.fm, MOG.com
Rick Daley says
When Google took away the iGoogle dashboard, followed by discontinuing the Google Reader service as it was, my personal blogging (which included reading and actively commenting on blogs like this one) took a nose dive. Add in the time consuming complexities of a new day job, and a new laptop, and some prior favorite activities died an irrecoverable death. But I am still here, glad to say. Hope all is well for you, Nathan, I do miss the community I was part of in the heyday, I made many great connections through this blog, some of whom I stay in touch with via Facebook.
Really useful information, thank you!