Blog On

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:

http://technobabble2dot0.wordpress.com/2011/02/15/is-a-blog-still-important-in-2011/

and  http://blogs.computerworld.com/educationtraining/20987/why-blogging-still-important

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.

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5 thoughts on “Blog On

  1. kathysbookmark

    Deborah,
    I too have seen blogs grow from the “early” days and hope they will be around for the long haul. They fill such a need for individuals and corporations to express themselves and show who they are or at least who they want to be seen as.

    However, one thing I find a little disturbing is how small blogs have become the new way that businesses try to sell to us. Many “little” blogs that I read are being approached by advertisers so they can “giveaway” and advertise their products on these little blogs because they see a niche market for their products. It’s a little off putting that big business is invading these small blogs and some times it changes the content of the blog so much that I don’t enjoy reading the blog anymore because they start pandering to the businesses instead of staying true to their original voice.

    Kathy

    Reply
  2. jaidenwilliams

    Hey Kathy,
    First let me say that I found this post to be very interesting. This semester has gotten me thinking a lot about Blogs, as it seems all of my classes are requiring me to Blogs in some form– whether it be through WordPress or discussion boards. It has made me realize the value and importance of this type of writing. What I like most about writing and even reading this type of media is how casual it is. It is so much easier to ingest concepts when written in blog form, because of the lack of necessity to be technical. They give people the opportunity to be creative and really express themselves.
    -Jaiden

    Reply
  3. Lori

    Deborah!
    Thanks for such an insightful look at blogs. I think part of their charm is that they were the first solid replacement for having to know HTML code to create a website. They put many web designers of the time out of work. 😀 They empowered regular people — no longer needing to be part of the Geek Squad (yes, it was a phrase before someone trademarked it! the same way rug rats was what we called the bratty kids we babysat before Nickledeon scoffed it up!)
    I appreciate the simplicity, the flexibility, and the great personalize stories and information blogs can provide.
    Unlike texting or Facebook, I do expect a level of decorum – and proper use of the English (or other native) language without inappropriate slang or slanderous words.
    I agree that they have longevity…and hope they continue to support the average Joe (without being taken hostage with the use of advertising).

    Reply
  4. J. Andrews

    A couple of years ago I read a book called “Who Let the Blogs Out?” by Biz Stone. It included a history of blogging which I found quite interesting. I was actively on the Internet at the time, but still, there was this whole history which I previously knew very little about. I’m a little sad that it’s no longer in our library collection. In general, computer books get outdated in 3 years or less, but this one would’ve stood up to time. (It also had an intro by Wil Wheaton, which can’t hurt!)

    Reply

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