In an era when new technologies come and go in the blink of an eye, it is interesting to consider the longevity of blogging. I am old enough to remember a time before blogs and one of my very first assignments as a freelance writer was to discuss weblogs as they were then self-consciously called. Why are blogs still around and are they still important? (And yes, the irony is that I am posting this on a blog…is that a clue to the answer?) This question seems to come up quite frequently and there are many articles that have also looked at the question of whether blogging is still relevant. Two examples from many are:
I have highlighted some of their findings, with comments of my own:
1) Blogging as a marketing tool is still extremely important and, according to the Technobabble article above, about 43 % of US companies used blogging for this purpose in 2011 compared to 16% of companies in 2007. That’s a significant increase in only four years. Undoubtedly, blogging is still crucial for branding, marketing, advertising and driving traffic to a company’s website. These elements are just as relevant for libraries, too.
2) Another factor that both articles point out is that blogging allows for long, in-depth posts, with insightful content. You just can’t achieve the same thing with Twitter. Also, writing blog posts takes time and there are several positive aspects to this. As an individual the writing allows you to become a better writer and showcase your abilities through the content of your posts. Another benefit to longer posts is that these allow companies to really describe or demonstrate something new such as a new product, design or even describing new a new management direction.
3) Blogs create and expand communities and subcommunities within a field. Because there are literally hundreds of blogs on anything you can imagine, some of which are extremely specialized, the body of knowledge for any one subject expands and, perhaps more importantly, connections are made between all those interested in the subject through links, comments and reblogging. From a library’s perspective, multiple blogs highlighting different aspects of the collection, events, programming etc., can be very effective in reaching a broad spectrum of patrons.
On a personal level, blogs continue to be important to me for receiving all kinds of content. The personal engagement combined with in-depth or niche content keeps me reading, and the opportunity to comment, link or expand knowledge really has not been replicated in other forms. I also feel that blogs are not generation specific and perhaps this is another key to their longevity. There also doesn’t seem to be much competition in terms of format. Tumblr is probably the closest mimic but it’s a microblog and has different pros and cons. Overall, I believe blogs will continue to be important to both individuals and institutions and would hedge my bets that they’ll still be here when Facebook has long gone defunct.