Is Blogging Really Dead?
With the news last week that the Wall Street Journal was shutting down eight blogs, it’s time to examine the question of the relevance of blogging. Do online readers read longer stories now (think blogs from news sources), or do they prefer to get news in snippets from social? Or have news stories become a recognized vs. having to visit another site for corporate news and information?
Are blogs going the way of Friendster?
It’s part of a class that I teach at Johns Hopkins University, but we spend an entire week talking about the declining relevance of blogs. Back in 2008 – 2011, I was probably blogging at least once a day. There were really smart people in the space like Jason Falls, Geoff Livingston, Ike Piggot and David Armano who were must-reads in the morning. I am pretty sure that’s when the term “cewebrity” came about; people gained notoriety from what they wrote in their blogs (just ask Robert Scoble).
In 2012, I went overseas to work for a couple of years (in a country in which the Internet was heavily censored), so I dialed back both blogging and social media use. When I returned to the U.S. to work in 2013, my first thought was to re-build my .rss feed with my favorite bloggers. The problem was that I could not – because many of my “must-reads” abandoned blogging.
Fewer Fortune 500 companies are blogging
The chart below is from a 2016 UMass Dartmouth study that tracks the number of Fortune 500 companies who have or had a corporate blog between 2009 and 2015. The numbers do not lie; blogging increased and peaked in in 2013, but in 2015, corporate blogs were at their lowest level since UMass Dartmouth began tracking them in 2009.
The eyeballs are going from blogs to social
Online usage continues to increase in the United States and in many other places in the world, so people who get news and information online are going somewhere. And that “somewhere” is social media. Again, using UMass Dartmouth data, it’s clear that use of the “business” social media platforms (LinkedIn, Glassdoor and Instagram – yes, many large brands are using Instagram) began to increase dramatically as blogs declined.
The quick takeaway
Companies don’t need a corporate blog anymore. They can post on Facebook, LinkedIn, even Medium and still get the same (or better) results in their attempts to reach their target audiences (and cross-promote their posts). Why spend money, time and resources to build a platform that you could have up and running on Medium (and import a viewership from your Twitter account) in minutes?
I miss blogging every day but I still see the irony of telling the world that blogs are dying…by blogging about it. But you can be sure of one thing, though: I am going to cross post this on my LinkedIn and Medium accounts as well.
Because blogs are dying.