Marco Arment brings it to a point:
Nobody’s really talking about it, but I suspect this is a wider trend: blogs aren’t dying, but they are significantly declining. 2015 might be a rough year.
The popularity of the personal blog reached a fever pitch when the Google search engine introduced a new way of ranking search results. This allowed the little guy to compete with any big organizations on the ‘front page of the internet’, the first results page on any search term on Google and to a lesser extend on other search engines.
One marketers figured this out, Google had to do something about the increase in ‘gaming the system’. In order to kill the ‘black hat’ and ‘white hat’ SEO guys it in turn killed the native search result.
Google seemingly decided that it was easier to take over the first 10 results of a search term by ads and internal promoted links than to try to constantly fight the ‘marketing experts’ that ran amok over the last few years by constantly tweaking their search algorithm.
Then social media came along and changed the game entirely on how people find content. Google.com is not the front page of the internet anymore. Alternate ways of searching through Siri and other input tools increasingly are eating away at the prominence of the monopolistic, yet still loved approach of ‘doing the internet thing’ from a few years ago.
Buzzfeed’s ‘listicles’ are a response to people consuming content on social media sites. Have you ever found a Buzzfeed article ranked on the first page in a search result? This approach ccompletely ignore their ranking in search engines. Listicles are the new SEO-type gaming. They are just gaming social media sites. So it should be called Social Media Optimization SMO, I suppose?
It’s weird to think of this new phase of the internet where we approach a more television-like scenarios where channels rule and one person’s interaction and consumption with content is entirely different to the next.
This is the law of the land, Marco concludes:
If we want it to get better, we need to start pushing back against the trend, modernizing blogs, and building what we want to come next.
I agree, and I haven’t even talked about mobile devices yet and their impact on our lives and how differently we consume content today.
Personal blogs flourished 15 years ago Back then the ‘blogger’ was the rockstar. A person who had access to a computer with internet. He/she was able to curate the best content for it’s readers. We envied the Kottke’s and Gruber’s of the world for having the time to dissect and find articles, and gems all over the world and present them to us in an engaging manner. Bloggers like them were the tour guides of the vast and unchartered territories of the world wide web.
Blogging was the most productive way of interacting with the flood of content a person encountered on the web. A blogger actually created something. A response, an article commenting on whatever happened today.
But as we are consuming content on the go, we are in a complete different spot to respond. On mobile the copy/paste/link to an article is cumbersome, still. Typing a 500 word article in response to something is not an option on mobile devices. (I’m writing this article on my Mac, but ready Marco’s initial article on my iPad.) We might read the article in the bathroom, on the bus, while walking the dog. We’re not in a place to respond. And if we can’t respond succinctly aside from ‘liking or having’ then the moment has past and the immediate stirring is gone.
In ‘Is blogging dying in the age of Mobile‘ I argue:
None of the star writers, the role models for the blogging community have cracked mobile. The indie magazine startups all have failed. Some of the must-read websites have added ‘responsive designed’ code to their blogs to make them more user friendly to read, but none have figured out a sustainable model for their business. No great apps have surfaced. No app engines like WordPress or TypePad for mobile app development, publishing and distribution. The indie heroes of the app generation all have created a game. TinyWings, Letterpress, Monument Valley lit up the internet for a few month and are soon after ‘played out’ and people move on. There’s no staying power for indies in the app market place.
This at the core is what’s challenging creators from keeping up their blogs.
So, what will be next? What’t the next creation and consumption tool/app/platform that will allow indie makers to engage directly with their audience again and create a living for themselves?