I miss blogs

December 31st, 2012 in mozilla, PlanetGNOME, Weblogs

The number of long form blog post have been declining for years. Most speculate that it’s because most of us spend more time microblogging on Twitter and Facebook. Certainly, when I started blogging in 2004, I blogged a lot of things that I would only tweet now. In November 2010, Jeff Bercovici wrote on Forbes:

53 percent of hobbyist bloggers say they update their blogs either somewhat less or a lot less than they have in the past. [...]

Those who say they’re blogging less often were then asked to say why. While the most popular answer was “work/family commitments,” the next two most common choices were “I am devoting more time to microblogging (eg. Twitter)” and “I am devoting more time to social networks.”

I think it took a bit longer for that trend to happen in open source software and my technology blogs, but it has come. I found myself really missing good blog posts by independent individuals and decided to see if it was my imagination, or if I really was reading less blog posts than I used to and here’s what I found on my two favorite planets: (Numbers not 100% accurate.)

BlogPostFrequency

While I didn’t have a good way to measure microblogging numbers by the same authors as were in Planet, I do know that most of the people whose blog posts I miss are regularly posting on Facebook or Twitter.

The thing is, I miss reading all those blog posts. I’ve tried looking for more blogs to follow but not been really successful at finding new ones. I’ve tried reading more nonfiction books but books don’t provide the same type of thought food or blog ideas as blog posts do. Neither do tweets or Facebook posts.

At the same time, I have to admit my own blogging has gone down drastically from an average of 6 blog posts a month in early 2011 to an average of maybe 1 a month now.

It’s possible that microblogging is a better medium for the 5 blog posts a month that I now tweet instead of writing. And that the one post a month I write is the only one that should have been in long form to begin with. But I don’t think so. I think I am just sharing less well thought out ideas.

What do you think? Do you miss blogging? Have you noticed the decline of blog posts? Do you miss them?

11 Responses to “I miss blogs”

  1. Luis says:

    I agree completely, both because I miss reading them, and because I miss the sense of there being a central place to get the pulse of the community. The post-planet fragmentation I see in GNOME and Mozilla is not very healthy for either, I fear. But maybe because of where I stand now I’m simply not seeing the new centers yet.

    stormy Reply:
    January 1st, 2013 at 11:13 am

    I don’t think there is one new center. I think they are more fragmented now which means some conversations are harder to find.

  2. Juanjo says:

    Definitely, I miss blogging (reading them, and I should write more!).

    I started blogging around 2003 and I used to follow two dozens of very interesting blogs that sooner or later stopped posting.

    I feel you pain, I had myself a hard time finding new blogs to follow, to the point that planets are the only way of getting a reasonable dose of information our of mainstream media and news aggregators (see Digg and alike, that apparently suffer from the blog decline… where blogs used to be a first class source of information now are almost front-page extinct).

    What killed the blog star? Social media? I’m not that sure. I think it was Google and ads (monetizing the content). First the blogroll disappeared, then “no follow” and outgoing links, then RSS was considered harmful. Disconnected blogs was the beginning of the end :(

    Btw, happy new year!

    stormy Reply:
    January 1st, 2013 at 11:14 am

    That’s an interesting thought. I think the blogroll disappeared as more and more people blogged. The list couldn’t grow in the way a followers list could.

    I really miss the Share option in Google Reader. (Which I think disappeared in favor of Google+.) I had a good group of people I shared interesting news with. I haven’t been able to replicate that anywhere.

    stormy Reply:
    January 1st, 2013 at 11:15 am

    Happy New Year, Juanjo!

  3. Benjamin Otte says:

    I’ve thought about this, too. And one thing I feel is true for me is that I skim planets a lot more than I did 5 years ago. I could blame that on lack of interesting blog posts, but I suspect it’s because I don’t find the stuff that people put into blog posts as interesting anymore as I used to.

    stormy Reply:
    January 1st, 2013 at 11:15 am

    I have to admit that I’ve always skimmed them but I usually found a post or two a day that was really interesting.

    Luis Reply:
    January 1st, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    Well, it used to be a mix of the personal and project (at least for gnome) which made it a lot more “fun” in some sense- that has all gone to twitter and facebook, which has made planets very dry. Shame, really.

    Stormy Reply:
    January 1st, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    Mozilla has pretty much said planet is for project stuff not personal. I agree this at makes them dry.

    kev Reply:
    January 2nd, 2013 at 7:23 am

    Maybe we should advocate for going back, then. I feel like a big part of why the org takes a “project” approach is because of some of the polarizing positions some people take on non-project issues. I’m actually ok with that content being there, even though I wish people would think a little more about the effects of hitting the publish trigger sometimes. That said, the follow-on conversations (minus the vitriol from a small percentage) on the two posts I can think of were pretty great.

    Planet has always been presented to me as the voice of the community, not the organization/corporation, and I’d like to see that voice re-assert itself.

  4. David Tenser says:

    I share your thoughts completely and I’ve definitely noticed the same decline in my own blogging frequency over the years, even though I’m now actively working on bringing it back to the old high frequency.

    Part of it is social media, like you say. We now have seemingly better places to post a quick status update or an opinion. I use the word “seemingly” because it’s actually a drawback in disguise: if you write shorter texts, you don’t force yourself to think hard about what you’re writing, and therefore you risk missing the opportunity to crystallize your thoughts as clearly as possible.

    The other reason I’ve used myself is that I don’t have time to blog. Writing takes time and you often feel like there are more important things you need to do. The reality is that blogging is far from a waste of time — quite the opposite.

    As I’ve began to pick up my blogging again, I’ve realized just how much it helps me articulate my thoughts and ideas more clearly than I’m able to if I’m just socializing them in a conversation or in my own thought process in my busy head. By putting my thoughts on print, and then reading those thoughts and rewriting them, my ideas and visions crystallize.

    So for me, although it does take a shift in priorities and discipline, it’s definitely worth it for me to blog more often. I actually end up saving time in the end because my ideas and plans simply get better as a result of the more intense thought process you need to put in to write things down.