Blogging as we know it is changing. Evolving. Are you ready? Do you feel confident that you know how blogging is changing so that you can best position yourself to take advantage? I’d like to share with you my personal perspective on the changes I see happening.
Blogging is becoming more than text
This first one should be pretty obvious to most of us by now. The advent of multimedia for blogs is astounding. I know the first thing you will think of is video. Without question, video blogging has officially arrived. But video isn’t all their is. Anything that can be embedded into a blog post extends the blog beyond text. And if there’s one thing programmers and creative people out there are really gunning for, it’s getting you to put their widget in your blog posts. Consider the following:
As more and more tools like these become available, blog posts will continue to be much more than text. If you’re not shooting video or enhancing your posts with multimedia, it’s time to consider it for your blog. Don’t do it without reason, but give people something more than just text to read when it helps to make more of an impression or provide further information. It’s one thing that will help your blog stand out and look fresher than other blogs in your niche.
Blogging is growing bigger
When you look at blogs like TechCrunch, Boing Boing, Engadget, and The Huffington Post, you can see how blogging is now the big time. Can your blog grow that big? Yes, it can. I can remember when TechCrunch didn’t exist and in the early days it started out with very few readers just like any blog. Of course, that didn’t last long, but that’s what great content and good connections to the industry will get you. I remember when the TreeHugger blog really was just a little WordPress blog trying to make a difference. Well, now they’ve made a difference and a bundle of cash, having been sold to the Discovery Times Newsgroup for $10 million. It was the right niche at the right time, with the right mix of content.
Blogging is growing smaller
At the same time, blogging is also growing smaller. So small, at first glance they hardly seem to be blogging at all. I’m talking about micro-blogging platforms, such as Twitter and Pownce, and I’m also talking about “tumblelogs,” which are often single-column stream-of-consciousness style blogs. Twitter, in particular, has exploded in popularity, and has aspects of a social media site, although it is described as a micro-blogging platform, due to its 140-character limit on post length.
The first tumblelog was created by Christian Neukirchen, and it’s called Anarchaia. Tumblelogging for everyone is made possible through the free, hosted service Tumblr or through single-column blog templates.
Blogging is becoming easier
Blogging is becoming easier in many ways:
- Free, hosted platforms like WordPress and Tumblr, plus social media blogging like Facebook and Twitter make blogging easier than ever for non-techies to just get going.
- More web hosting companies have one-click installs for WordPress self-hosted, giving you more freedom in some ways, but still requiring way more technical know-how than your average newbie possesses.
- The ability to share content with embed codes is getting to be more well-known and easier.
- Creating video and pictures and editing them online is getting easier.
Blogging is becoming more difficult
In some ways, blogging is becoming more difficult. The bar has been raised. The stakes are higher. The markers we look for that tell us a blog is professional and that give a blog the greatest chance for success are not easy to implement without technical knowledge. It takes more to start a professional blog now than it once did. Just getting started can be overwhelming to people, leaving room for people to make a living as blogging consultants to help people navigate blogging.
Creating original content that stands out from the sea of millions of other blogs is also becoming more difficult as the number of blogs continues to grow. Can it be done? Yes. Even the most over-saturated of niches can be dominated by a newcomer. Whoever heard of Dosh Dosh or Skelliewag a few years ago? Nobody. And yet now they are two of the most popular blogs in the make money online and meta-blogging niches.
Blogging is becoming one part of what is called social media
Finally, the big one. This is one that bothers some people who are hanging on to ideas about how blogging is writing in the older tradition of writing. Not only is blogging beyond text, as I’ve already mentioned, it’s also beyond content, period. This idea of content on a the web as static words–the pixel version on ink on paper–is evolving into something else. The intersection and synergy of blogging and social media really highlights this for me.
A big part of why some bloggers are wildly successful has less to do with the content they create on their blog than their networking activities. Social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn (more for business), and others facilitate this. Twitter is probably the most pronounced example of this stage in blogging’s evolution. Honestly, I don’t know whether to think of Twitter as a micro-blogging platform or a social media platform. It’s both, really. And you can expect further changes in this direction from other blogging and social media platforms, including WordPress.
Now that we’ve looked at some of the ways in which blogging is changing, I hope that this leaves you with a better perspective on this, and will help you make decisions about where you’re taking your blogging. I’d love to hear from you about how you see blogging changing. Please leave a comment below and let’s discuss!