Thursday, 2 July 2009

Long Tail Blogging is Dying?

Just read an article in the Guardian The long tail of blogging is dying (Found via Donald Clark). 

But recently – over the past six months – a new trend: fewer blogs with links, and fewer with any contextual comment. Some weeks, apart from the splogs, there would be hardly anything. I didn't think we'd suddenly become dull.

He points to backup evidence of this from a NYT article and based on

Technorati's 2008 survey of the state of the blogosphere, which found that only 7.4m out of the 133m blogs it tracks had been updated in the past 120 days. As the New York Times put it, "that translates to 95% of blogs being essentially abandoned".

I don't doubt that a lot of blogs are started and abandoned.  People change their focus.  Lives get busy.  Blogging definitely takes work.

I have a limited view of blogging, but I do get to see quite a bit because of Browse My Stuff.

What about eLearning blogs?

Because of eLearning Learning, I track eLearning blogs closely.

When I go back and look at: More eLearning Bloggers – many of the new bloggers stopped blogging soon after.  They had the experience and then stopped.  This somewhat supports the Technorati numbers.

While there are these abandoned blogs, overall I believe there's been a nice growth of eLearning blogs from a wider variety of sources over the past few years. 

When I first started blogging in 2006, it seemed like all the bloggers were exactly the same people who spoke at conferences.  Now, there are more practitioner blogs .  And there are more good quality vendor blogs.  I remember asking Product Vendor Blogs - Where are They? Now I find quite a few on eLearning Learning.  And the analysts have joined in (Brandon Hall and Bersin have blogs).

I'm sure that this will continue to change, but I would question the notion that long tail blogging is dying.

Possible Reasons for the Guardian Drop Off

Over the past three years, I've certainly noticed that while I read (actually skim dive skim) through a lot of blogs, I find I spend less and less time on mainstream publications.  They simply are too general in most cases.  I used to read the Guardian all the time.  Now, I only saw this article because of Donald Clark's mention. 

I do think that some of the limited kinds of blog posts that are essentially – here's an interesting article – has moved to twitter or other status updates.  It's not worth a blog post if that's all you are going to say.

And, honestly, I'd much rather engage in a discussion with a blogger than with a mainstream publication that will never engage back.

Twitter Not a Good Substitute

I personally don't think that Twitter is a good replacement for blogging as learning tool.   It's great for quick sharing.  And quick, limited conversations.  Deeper discussion requires blogging. 

You can find a lot more thoughts around blogging via my post:

Top Ten Reasons To Blog and Top Ten Not to Blog

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