Recently, I found myself engaged in a rather intellectual and even stimulating conversation with a fellow blogger about the future of blogging. Our discussion was borne from his concern that blogging has gone past its prime, or, in his words, “jumped the shark,” therefore he wasn’t sure if he wanted to continue with his blog.
I could see his point. I’ve actually thought for some time that blogging has seen better days. The excitement and enthusiasm we all had four years ago is not there like it used to be. Many people we knew back then have disappeared into the mist, or moved on to other projects. Many can be found on social networking sites like Twitter, Plurk, Jaiku and identi.ca. Others stick to the worlds of MySpace, Facebook and even Friendster.
So why are so many people abandoning the blogging platform? Is it because blogging as a platform has become so mainstream that it has practically replaced the normal website as the standard platform for relaying information? Or is it because the “big shots” of blogging have become so big that there is no more room for the “little guys” that helped start it all?
I tend to think it’s a little of both, mixed with a glut of options in the social networking world. Sites like Twitter, Plurk and Jaiku barely scratch the surface of what’s available out there today. A visit to ping.fm, a global status updater for social networking sites and IM programs, shows a list of 21 different social networking options available, as well as 8 IM/other services. That number is not even comprehensive – there are probably dozens more out there that are just starting up, or haven’t quite caught on yet.
One of these is tumblr.com. Tumblr is a tumblelog site, much like Blogger or WordPress.com, that takes blogging and shrinks it down into bite-sized posts – larger than a 140-character Twitter or Plurk post, but shorter than a typical blog post. Some people say that the future of blogging is in tumblelogging, but I can’t help but wonder if it’s not just another fad to add to the pile. While blogging has absolutely caught on as a medium and is, in my mind, here to stay; it seems that the glut of new options will eventually consume the market so much that nobody will know what to go with anymore.
Besides, keeping up with these networking sites alone gets to be more of a headache than it’s worth. At present, I have accounts on Twitter, Plurk, Jaiku, indenti.ca, MySpace, Facebook, Friendster and other services like Bebo and LinkedIn. Additionally, I have accounts at AIM, GoogleTalk, Yahoo Messenger and Windows Messenger.
And then, of course, my blog.
That’s a hell of a lot of crap to keep up with.
So is blogging truly past its prime? Or are we over-extending ourselves with options so much that we give up trying to keep up?
Maybe it’s best to just go back to the old fashioned way of journaling – with a notebook and a pen.