IS BLOGGING DISAPPEARING?

Blogging Insights – New # 27

Is blogging going to disappear under a mountain of social media? I know they predicted the death of radio when television appeared, but there’s still radio though it’s different than it used to be. They predicted the end of newspapers and though they haven’t vanished, they have significantly diminished — but are reappearing as online entities. So, Dr. Tanya wants to know if blogging is disappearing.

During the COVID lockdowns, blogging became more popular and useful. Sharing experiences, knowledge, venting anxiety and remaining connected were things that made blogging fashionable. Again. What do you think?

I think the big wave of personal blogging (as opposed to marketing blogs — which aren’t blogs but businesses) — is slowing. Calling online businesses “blogs” is ridiculous. I wrote a lot on my business website, but it wasn’t a blog. It was a business. The writing helped me sell stuff. I wanted to be the J. Peterman catalogue — online and I did remarkably well. Pity about that 2008 crash, but calling it a blog is pretentious, or worse.

Most of the really good personal bloggers are retired, but that should not be a big surprise to anyone. I can’t imagine how I could have done what I’ve done while I was working. I was a writer and the majority of my work day was gathering data, writing, book design, editing, then editing it again. To then come home and write a blog would have been impossible. There weren’t enough hours in the day.

I think, to a degree, the great volume of personal blogs will diminish because the people who write them were retirees when they started and are older now. Time has a way with us, like it or not.

There’s also the endless issue of WordPress making the process of blogging increasing unpleasant. It used to be easy. Now, I have to struggle to find photographs in the mess they’ve made of the media library, the bizarre problems with login, comments, strange word spacing.

To say that they’ve taken something easy-to-use and made it pointlessly complicated is an understatement. I can beat it into submission, but why should I need to do that? The older I get, the more weary I get of trying to find creative ways to make this awful software work properly.

I’ve lost several friends online to whom I’d become close and I miss them. One of these years, I’ll be one of the missing. There’s an inevitability to life, aging, and well, death. Lately, there has been too much of that going around.

I had a fantastic first 10 years of blogging. I’m writing less frequently now. How odd that my decline coincides with the pointless complexity of WordPress’s “improved experience” software. What a coincidence! Maybe not all that coincidental, come to think of it. I love to write but having to battle the software? Not so much.

I don’t think younger people are going to take over blogging, not as we know it. It’s too time consuming, especially for people who have social lives, children, and are working. I couldn’t have done it. Sure there was an upward bump during the lockdowns — how many of them have there been? I’m losing count.

Regardless, this bump won’t last. Nothing lasts forever. I think social media, especially Facebook, will fade too. I think it has had its day and is already waning. Watch. You’ll see.

I do not think blogging will disappear. I think it will morph into something else. Similar but not quite the same. Maybe newsletters or “broadsheets.” Something more manageable timewise. Probably something you can publish weekly or bi-weekly for people with busier lives — and without lockdowns.

Things will change but somehow, they won’t change. The essence won’t change. As long as there are writers who want to communicate and there’s an internet, we will find it. We will reach out and find you, wherever you are.

Online writing will be different, yet somehow, the same. They will call it something else, but it will be the pictures and words conveying thoughts, opinions, advice, humor. It will always be there as long as people need to communicate.

And, most likely, the next generation of retirees will be writing a lot of it.

 



Categories: Anecdote, Blogging, Humor, Media, Photography, Writing

24 replies

  1. Hi Marilyn, I agree that blogging may change, but among the like-minded writing community I believe it will remain. Writers must communicate, link up and express themselves. That being said, the writing community may not write about personal matters but rather post poems, photographs, writing prompts, and book related advice. I like personal bloggers and follow a few like you, who write about life. I rarely write about my life unless it is expressed through a poem or includes pictures. I also grieve the sad losses of Mary Smith and Sue Vincent in 2021. I miss both of them a lot.

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  2. Trust you to take the broader view Marilyn, and come out tops.
    In most of the responses to this prompt personal / hobby bloggers (myself included) have ardently proclaimed that our kind of blogging will never go out of fashion.
    Yet you have taken the practical view and said that it will change eventually and morph into something that is “same but different “.
    Like I love to repeat “change is the only constant “.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think I’ve lived long enough to watch a lot of things that would never change — change. Nothing stays the same — except us. I’m sure as long as there are writers, we will find a way to communicate. The way we are blogging now was great, but it IS changing. All the new platforms are tending to “newsletters” rather than blogs. I suspect it’s because blogging really IS a massive task. Fun, yes. You make great friends. But life is busy and many people simply don’t have the time or even willingness — and right now, the ONLY blogging platform is WordPress and that is becoming increasingly unattractive not only to newcomers, but to old warriors like us.

      WP isn’t attracting new bloggers because we won’t recommend them — and I don’t think they understand how much damage they are doing. By the way, they DID add the search box back. After they said NO NO NO, they did it because taking it out was stupid. I suppose that may be MY triumph of the year!

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  3. I was very disturbed by the inability to write or understand business letters that I saw amongst the students I met when I was doing a Business Administration course. They were late teens and early twenties. I was 50. The lecturer ended up arranging for a literacy coach to come in and help as all but a handful of the students were having a hard time with the course. All the mature age students were fine. These kids also did not understand that it was not appropriate to text their friends or go on Facebook (yes teens used it then) in class time or in the workplace.
    That was nearly 15 years ago and those kids would have kids of their own now. I wonder about their literacy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wonder about the ability to have a conversation! They have had so few of them. Everything is texting and it’s all written using abbreviations that mean nothing to anyone older than they are. On the UP side, writers will find jobs easier to find!

      I wonder how they manage to have relationships. DO they have relationships? They can’t talk and they can’t write. I theorize they will work it out, somehow, but you have to wonder.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve been blogging for 12 years. It’s where I publish my writing. So, it serves my need to put my writing somewhere without getting into the submission process – which I find to be exasperating and time-wasting. WordPress stopped being easy when it instituted the “block” writing which has been a pain. It’s not clear what the intent of the improvements was but, for me, a longtime blogger, whatever hopes WordPress had don’t seem to have been realized. That said, I will hang in there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We have major investments in our blogs. I also don’t think I have the will to start over and build a new audience.

      I have NO idea what WordPress is trying to do and when I talk to them, THEY don’t know what they are doing. Mostly, I think they are keeping their jobs by continually changing the format, regardless of how it impacts their customers. If I were younger — much younger — I might try again, but i don’t think I can. So I’ll struggle along and maybe one day, it will get bad enough to make me quit. BUT not yet.

      I also gave up on publishers. I used to work for Doubleday in the 1970s. We actually READ manuscripts. Now, it’s all online and if you don’t use the right buzzwords, no one reads what you wrote — not so much as your introductory note much less your manuscript. Moreover, even if you get picked up by a publisher, other than distribution, they give you nothing. No advance, no editing. Nothing. Not worth the effort.

      BRING BACK HUMANS!

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  5. When I started my first blog in 2005, I was still working and was only able to post sporadically due to work and family commitments. After I retired, blogging became my “thing” and it still is. That said, I agree that WordPress has made blogging seem more of a task than a pleasure, and if they keep making changes to the app, I may just have to find something else to occupy my time. Maybe I’ll go write the great American novel. Or binge watch Netflix while eating Americone Dream ice cream. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

    Liked by 1 person

    • They have made it hard to write and even harder for artists and photographers — and I am positive they haven’t a CLUE what they are doing — or WHY. They keep changing things so they will stay employed, but they have no strategy and they could care less about customers.

      If they raise the prices again, that may do it for me.

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  6. Thought-provoking read, Marilyn. I would love to see some of your earlier J Peterman-style work! The generational thing is a real issue – racing off to make an impact on the newest and shiniest platform isn’t entirely the domain of the youngsters, and many self-proclaimed “influencers” aren’t spring chickens any more and fads have always come and gone. But I am concerned for disappearing bloggers who pass away. I’m also concerned for active bloggers who clearly have no life away from their blog (not you Marilyn in case that needs to be said) such as the blogger who posts hourly 24/7. Really.

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    • Blogging kept me going when I was in physically appalling shape, but I’ve been cutting back for a couple of years already. Did it ruin my stats? Yeah, it did, but I don’t much care about that anymore. Once I passed a million hits, the drive for statistics dribbled away.

      For me, it’s the “misery bloggers.” They are in constant trauma. We all complain and occasionally rant and rage, but most of us don’t do it ALL the time. For some people, life appears to be one continuous near-tragedy. Maybe they think that’s the way to generate hits?

      Mostly, I’m very happy with the group of people I know. We all have issues and we are old and getting older. But we deal l with it — mostly.

      As for WordPress — one more price rise might just finish me off. I am paying them to make blogging harder every day. What is WRONG with them?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I so totally agree with you about the ‘chronic’ misery bloggers exactly as you put it. I would also go you one further about folks who use blogging as an alternative to getting therapy. That said, I can respect that some use their blogs like a form of journaling to help them “process” things and I can be supportive to a point but only to a point. I periodically Kon-Mari my list of blogs I follow and if it doesn’t spark joy, out it goes. I hate that whole Kon-Mari fad but parts of it work. And what you said earlier about punctuation? Right on. I M guilty due to always using the mobile app. And luddite that I am, I’m on the WP.com free platform, without bells and whistles but I don’t need them.

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      • Re your great comment about the drive for hits and statistics, not that I have to worry about a million page views, I thought this from the New Yorker was interesting:
        https://www.newyorker.com/news/essay/on-the-internet-were-always-famous

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        • Interesting article. I wish the price for a year of The New Yorker were not quite so high. I kept them for two years during lockdowns because they cut prices, but they are back up again. Pity, because they are such an intelligent publication. I don’t always agree with them — especially their movie and book reviews — but even when I don’t agree, I enjoy the writing.

          I sort of agree with that piece. Parts of it, anyway. Parts of it were rather obscure for me. I did a lot of that kind of writing over the years — not fiction, but not exactly technical either. Opinion pieces paving the way to blogging. I have been a little famous — especially in Israel because back then, it was a much smaller pool and it wasn’t hard to be a little bit famous. Or notorious. I have been obscure, mostly, yet known to many people who don’t know me. All the sides of the coin, sometimes simultaneously.

          I STILL think the misery bloggers really need a shrink and when they’ve been well and truly shrunk, THEN blog. I totally hate being in the middle of other people’s issues. I PARTICULARLY loathe eavesdroppers and blackmailers when one often transmutes into the other. I feel like I’m back home with my parents, me in the middle transmitting their messages. Middle kids often get that role, but I moved to the other side of the world to escape it. I don’t like getting sucked back in again. The worst part for me is that I think these people are actually looking to solve their problems, only to eventually realize that they don’t want to solve them. Without those problems, they have nothing to talk about.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I’m not at all surprised that you’re a “little famous” and I like what you said about two sides of the coin. I agree with you that the New Yorker is intelligent – same goes for the Atlantic. I wish they could consider micro-payments if they can’t hold the line on that earlier pandemic pricing. I agree in part with that New Yorker piece although it got a bit too rambly. And you’re right the misery bloggers should come back when they’ve been shrunk. Misery does love company here on WP and I refuse to engage once I grok what is going on. Same for folks aggressively pushing “religion” (and people endangering Herons). I vote with the unfollow link.

            Liked by 1 person

  7. I agree, a lot of bloggers are older, but not all. I am only 41, and I’ve been blogging since I was 32, I know some other younger bloggers also. I agree blogging is not going to disappear. Xoxo

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    • I don’t think it will vanish but I think it is — will — change. Right now, WP owns the market, but I don’t think the mess WordPress is making of the software is going to attract a lot of young bloggers — or keep older ones. What a pity. You know, they WERE better than this. They really were.

      I do think we are going to see more “broadsheets and newsletter,” stuff that doesn’t require so much daily work and can be planned in advance.

      I’m very impressed that you manage to do this and are still a working person. I could never have done that!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Your day to say that will come. Or maybe not. My niece (31 years old) is a first grade teacher at a local ‘private’ school. She cannot spell. Punctuation? Please. I just shake my head and realize those future generations being taught by her. Are going to be worse. Apparently LANGUAGE is on the decline. The written word? As you say, it’ll survive because with the lack of communication skills those younger people have (texting or nothing apparently) an oral history is out of the question. Aw. Who knows. Maybe we won’t be around to worry about it and they’ll have to reap what they’ve sown.

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  9. I agree. Young people are neither interested in blogging nor Facebook. They do Instagram and TikTok, plus other quick video platforms. Writing paragraphs full of WORDS? Nah…

    Liked by 1 person

    • They also think we are weird because we write in complete sentences. I figure for many, a day will come when work requires reports and they will discover emojis are not quite “the thing” in the workplace. Actually, I’m already seeing it in my granddaughter. At 25, she has had to write — punctuation and EVERYTHING. I have NOT said “I told you so.” Yet.

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