Thursday, January 4, 2018

Blogging is Not Dead

Is blogging dead?
Caution: reflective navel-gazing ahead.

Is blogging still relevant?  It is a subject much on my mind lately as I've been in discussion with a friend who is contemplating starting a new blog of her own.  She has my full support in her new endeavor and it never crossed my mind to suggest to her that blogging might be dead.  But, is it?

Consider this article by Gina Bianchini dated June 1, 2017 and titled "Starting a Blog in 2017? Don't."  Ms. Bianchini advocates something called "deep interest networks" over blogging primarily because she says there are just too many blogs as it is and a deep interest network is the best way to connect with like-minded people and share your content.  It is basically an email newsletter, it seems to me, but maybe I'm missing something.

Last month, Farah Mohammed posted this article about the proliferation and influence of blogs in 2007 but, like Bianchini, also contends that blogs are dead.  Ms. Mohammed suggests that we are more likely to get our news from Facebook and Twitter than from a blog. 

Okay so given the fact that both of these ladies say blogging is dead, why are we still here - why are you still here? 

And here comes the navel-gazing.

My first blog post was August 1, 2008.  I look back at those early posts and they are rather embarrassingly naive, but I leave them there.  Nothing that I wrote about in those early months was relevant or important, but it was a creative outlet for me, and a chance to grow and to hone my writing skills.  I'm not sure how much honing has occurred, but the blog itself has certainly evolved through the years.

After I moved on from blogging about raspberry tea and my dog, the blog evolved into one that was strictly political.  I had some success there and was even linked by Michelle Malkin a time or two which was pretty exciting for the old SiteMeter.  I was linked by Instapundit a few times, The Dead Pelican and other big bloggers, but I never hit the big leagues like those guys did.  On the other hand, I made some really good friends, and "met" some great fellow bloggers like Stacy McCain and William Jacobson.  I still have a weekly post at DaTechGuy blog. 

These days the blog is mostly state and local politics, animal issues, education issues, and otherwise things that interest me. 

And this is why I do not discourage my friend from starting her new blog.  I've done some work here I'm really proud of.  Oddly, the posts that I'm most proud of are not my highest viewed posts: this one on the Confederate monument situation in NOLA got 137,013 views and is my highest ranked post.  The post I'm probably most proud of is this one about the Braveheart trial.  I attended the entire trial and when it was over I sat down and typed this article out without stopping.  I had taken no notes and so I wanted everything fresh from memory.  Braveheart has lots of followers from all around the country and I wanted them to feel like they were at the trial with us. 

The majority of my traffic comes from Facebook and from Google: not surprising.

Going back to the posts by Ms. Mohammed and Ms. Bianchini, I agree that the heyday for blogging began in 2007 and I'd say ran until about 2010.  Maybe a little longer.  But I think there is still a place for blogs on the internet.  Just because WordPress has 75 million blogs does not mean they are still all active.  Look at my sidebar and see how many blogs are no longer updated regularly, and I cull that list pretty regularly.  There are a few on there that I keep for various reasons, even though they aren't updated any longer.

Every now and then I think about getting back into political blogging but it seems like an echo chamber to me now.  I spent a lot of time blogging about the trepidation I felt and dangers I saw in Barack Obama and I don't think I changed one single mind or made one bit of a difference there.  I stayed in a bad mood all the time.  I got snarky, ugly comments from people sometimes - which in and of itself was fine - but just contributed to my overall bad mood.  I decided it just wasn't worth it, and so, now I just write about whatever I want to. 

Sometimes it's about an issue that needs attention and sometimes it's just about a day trip.

I never check my stats any more.  If I hit the million hits club, I don't care. 

For me, blogging was really always a place to be creative and to record the journey.  My favorite posts are not the political ones.  Does that mean I won't ever do a political post?  Nope.  I'm certain I will, but it will be because it's an issue I care about, not because it will drive traffic or get me linked somewhere.

The point is, again, that there is still plenty of room and influence left in the blogosphere; I don't agree that blogging is dead.  It's evolved, but it hasn't died.  In the heydey of blogging, the reason we were writing what we were writing politically is because the mainstream media wasn't doing it and someone needed to.  We were at ground-level, so to speak, blogging the Tea Party movement and covering local protests or issues that major media would not touch.  But still today there is nobody doing finer work on politics than Stacy McCain, William Jacobson, Peter Ingemi, Michelle Malkin and Glenn Reynolds.  Nobody. 

If you're going to start a blog, find your niche, find your passion, develop a thick skin, and go.  There will always be that member of the grammar police there to nitpick your work, or the person who disagrees with you.  But in the end, you have to carve out your own spot on the internet, and write what matters to you.  In the end, it's really your passion that matters.

From time to time I've though about turning off the lights here, but I can't see it happening. 

I love it too much.  I love the contacts I've made and the opportunity to interact with people.

Thanks for still being here.

1 comment:

Diogenes Sarcastica™ said...
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