A recent article in The Economist, The evolving blogosphere, clarified for me how blogs have changed over the past five years and where they now sit amongst the panoply of social media applications. Not so long ago it was thought, almost assumed, that everyone would ultimately run their own blog – it was just a question of time before we all found something to say, gathered up the courage and started spouting off our opinions to those two billion or so internet users out there. It hasn’t happened, and for several very good reasons:
- Early adoption of blogs was dominated by simple status updates, published for the benefit of friends and family. This functionality is just as popular now and even more widespread but has shifted almost entirely to social networking sites such as Facebook and microblogging sites like Twitter.
- Those who wanted to express themselves in more depth on a topic soon discovered that (a) this was hard work requiring a fair amount of commitment, and that (b) you will be in competition for readers with many others around the world who may have more to say and more eloquent ways of saying it than you.
Blogging is a specialist form of journalism, typically but not always aimed at a niche audience, and usually a voluntary, unpaid additon to the day job. A blog is essentially a regular column, with the added advantage that it can generate responses and a degree of dialogue. That may not be all that blogging thought it could become but it’s still a very valuable addition to our online existence.