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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Future of Blogging on Working Lunch

Later on today I'll be live on
BBC2's Working Lunch talking about the future of blogging. Not sure if I can trust the BBC's laptop to do live blogging this time, but it's nice of them to ask me on again. Thanks to everyone on Twitter yesterday who responded to my plea to borrow a crystal ball & give me their thoughts on the future of blogging.

Johnny Rotten Butter ad on the Tube

You might have heard about the death of blogging or probably more accurately the rise of microblogging (like Twitter, videoblogs & Facebook status updating), but I think it's just mainly a case of blogging growing up and becoming mainstream. Like Johnny Rotten advertising butter, blogging's become less "subversive" or "rock n roll" and more mainstream. With the millions of people who blog now, that's bound to include people (and businesses) who blog for difference reasons and financial gain is bound to be one of them.

Ultimately that's going to get lots of early adopters or people who started blogging five or six years ago (like myself) muttering into their keyboards, saying "Ah blogging's not what it used to be" or "Blogging's rubbish these days, with companies and brands getting on board". But for me it's doesn't have to be a case of doom & gloom.

True there are now millions of blogs but readership of blogs isn't falling. What will probably happen is that numbers of blogs will continue to rise, but the lifecycle of those blogs will be much shorter.

Britain Going Blog Crazy - Metro Article

In the past to make a blog "work" (whatever that means) all you had to do was have one. But now with millions of blogs competing for attention it takes time, effort, engagement with the people who read it & evidence of some passion & interest in what you're doing. Otherwise, you'll get bored, your readers will certainly get bored, people will stop reading & linking to your blog and you might wonder why you do it. That can be said for anyone who blogs - small businesses, brands, personal blogs, celebrities or journalists.

Some blogs are influential and can touch a nerve (when I started blogging in early 2003 I never expected TfL, Tube Lines, London Transport Museum & some of the London press would pay so much attention to this blog). Some bloggers can certainly give mainstream journalists a run for their money. If blogs are written well and have interesting content, they can help companies build a good relationship with their customers, but none of this happens overnight or in isolation from other online communication.

Kevin Marks a software engineer at Google, used to work for Technorati (the major index for blogs) & wrote a post about the whole "death of blogging" debate which summed up what I'd been thinking for quite some time. "Blogging's not dead, it's becoming like air". He said: "the old blogging crew are still around, they're just blogging less than those paid to do so a dozen times a day. Not because they are less interested or engaged, but because there are now many new ways to do what we used blogs for back then."

That's my thoughts for this morning, and they could well change by the time I get to the BBC! I'll update this post later with a link to the programme. I'll be joined by Robert McIntosh who'll be talking about how Twitter has helped his business. He kindly hosted a Twitter Wine Tasting at his house last year, where tasted wine & discussed it (in 140 characters or less!) with other Twitterers in the US. Again something I certainly never expected to be doing when I started blogging!

UPDATE - Ended up talking more about Twitter - like the introduction by Declan Curry. "Apparently blogging is dead, all the clever clogs are now Twittering!" Declan's an active Twitterer, so I'm spose he would say that ;-)

It was interesting that at the end Simon Calver, Chief Exec from Lovefilm, who was also on the show, agreed with my point about companies needing to blog & use online communities to monitor what customers think about their services.

If you're in the UK you can see our appearance on BBC iPlayer.

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