Free Markets, Free People

NYT: Blogs “wane” as young set moves to sites like Twitter

In another example of how little the NYT knows about blogging (but fervently wishes for the day they’d just go away and the Times could get back to the good old days of deciding what is news or just flat making it up), it reports today that blogs are on the “wane”.  Check out this paragraph:

Like any aspiring filmmaker, Michael McDonald, a high school senior, used a blog to show off his videos. But discouraged by how few people bothered to visit, he instead started posting his clips on Facebook, where his friends were sure to see and comment on his editing skills.

“I don’t use my blog anymore,” said Mr. McDonald, who lives in San Francisco. “All the people I’m trying to reach are on Facebook.”

This is the lead for the story.  It is clueless.

Some 17 year old who likes to make videos doesn’t use his blog to show them off anymore, but instead uses Facebook – and that sounds the death knell of blogs?

What this youngster wanted to do was show his vids off to a few (tens? hundreds?) friends at most.  Facebook is a much better venue for that.  In fact, it’s an even better venue than YouTube because your friends have to go to YouTube to find your vids vs. having them delivered to their Facebook page via your posting.  It. Makes. Perfect. Sense. 

But … it says more about the misapplication of blogging (for what the young man wanted to accomplish) than the demise of blogging.

Twitter – same thing.  For some things it’s perfect.  For others, a blog is perfect.   Depends on what you want to do.   Like say anything  that takes more than 142 characters. Blogs, Twitter and Facebook are all networking tools that provide an application that helps accomplish what the user wants to accomplish.

The case the NYT is trying to make is blogs will die out as the younger demographic moves to different venues:

The Internet and American Life Project at the Pew Research Center found that from 2006 to 2009, blogging among children ages 12 to 17 fell by half; now 14 percent of children those ages who use the Internet have blogs. Among 18-to-33-year-olds, the project said in a report last year, blogging dropped two percentage points in 2010 from two years earlier.

Well here’s a news flash – I don’t read “children” or their blogs and they most likely don’t read mine.  But note the next demo – 18-to-33 year olds – suffered a whole 2% decline from two years earlier.

As of Feb. 16th, 2011, according to Wikipedia, there were 156 million blogs in existence.  A two percent drop in two years is simply statistically insignificant.  And, blogs aren’t just for “social networking” as the Times would like you to believe.  Nor do they require writing “lengthy posts” unless you want too. 

Blogs went largely unchallenged until Facebook reshaped consumer behavior with its all-purpose hub for posting everything social. Twitter, which allows messages of no longer than 140 characters, also contributed to the upheaval.

No longer did Internet users need a blog to connect with the world. They could instead post quick updates to complain about the weather, link to articles that infuriated them, comment on news events, share photos or promote some cause — all the things a blog was intended to do.

Phenomenal – I never had to blog to “connect with the world”. Nor was any blog I was a part of “intended” for comments on the weather or to just share photos. 

I hadn’t waited on blogs to “connect with the world” – that had been available for years via email, first through bulletin board systems, then through Usenet and Google Groups.  Blogs are just another method of doing so and may someday be supplanted by something else.  But on the wane because of Facebook and Twitter? 

All I can say is if Twitter is now the first choice of someone who was once blogging, they were never a serious blogger to begin with.  And, if Facebook is now the choice of a blogger, they’ve greatly narrowed their outreach to only those who subscribe to them.  The fact that they’re on Facebook, even with an open page, doesn’t mean anyone is going to read them any more than when they had a blog.

Obviously things are going to change and evolve in the online media and social networking world, but as much as the NYT would love to declare the blog dead and gone, it’s not even close.

And a little note for the editors and publishers of the Times – when blogs have finally gone the way of the dodo bird, the NYT will most likely have predeceased them by a substantial amount of time.  My guess is Hot Air has as many or more readers than the Times does.    HuffPo just went for 300 plus million to AOL.  Point me toward the last major newspaper that sold for that much.



16 Responses to NYT: Blogs “wane” as young set moves to sites like Twitter

  • I guess this is one of those “finger in the air” type of problems.
    When your regulars stop commenting, you won’t need the Times to tell you it’s over.

  • When QandO moves to a Twitter only format, please be sure to let me know, I’d hate to miss out  🙂

  • Markets will innovate.  That is what they do.  People will go where they will, and dinosaurs will parish (unless government unnaturally prolongs their lives).
    But the NYT is wishfully thinking of the demise of its nemesis in this case.  Tweets will NOT replace the more deliberate and elaborative forum of blogs.
    But we CAN…with certainty…predict that something, some day, will displace the blog.  I cannot wait!  Tomorrow will be WONDERFUL!

  • Just when blogs are on the wane, we get … Professional “sock-puppetry”

    The US government is offering private intelligence companies contracts to create software to manage “fake people” on social media sites and create the illusion of consensus on controversial issues. The contract calls for the development of “Persona Management Software” which would help the user create and manage a variety of distinct fake profiles online. The job listing was discussed in recently leaked emails from the private security firm HBGary after an attack by internet activist last week.

    … let me guess .. a copy will somehow get “five finger discounted” to somebody at Organizing For America

    • Dude, I’ve known about THAT for the LONGEST…  You get where you can spot them by sentence structure and word choices.

      • This seems to a day for bad government software …

        The software he patented — which he claimed, among other things, could find terrorist plots hidden in broadcasts of the Arab network Al Jazeera; identify terrorists from Predator drone videos; and detect noise from hostile submarines — prompted an international false alarm that led President George W. Bush to order airliners to turn around over the Atlantic Ocean in 2003. The software led to dead ends in connection with a 2006 terrorism plot in Britain. And they were used by counterterrorism officials to respond to a bogus Somali terrorism plot on the day of President Obama’s inauguration, according to previously undisclosed documents.

        DOJ seems to be covering this fraud up.

  • Yep.  Basically some people were using Blogs for what Twitter or Facebook does more easily for them.
    In fact, Facebook to me seems more like a blog-website hybrid with a fixed template and better member connectivity.  So I wouldn’t really count those switching to facebook as all leaving behind blogs.  They are switching to a highly tailored and standardized community blog that suits their needs better.

    • Facebook and Twitter killed LiveJournal and it’s clones. They also killed MySpace, but that’s okay. I’d say that some blog hosting sites are losing users to Facebook too.

      Livejournal was around for years and it was great way of gathering a community of friends who could read your journal/blog entries. Serious bloggers wouldn’t use LJ, for the most part. It’s still around, but I’d say the majority of the users are hold-outs from the US (like myself) and a whole bunch of Russians.

      Facebook is not nearly anonymous enough. Someone could stumble upon your Facebook postings and immediately know who you are since FaceBook requires your real name. LiveJournal at least offers anonymity.

  • Comment hijack: with Kadaffy’s regime falling, one wonders if the British dipspits who let Abdelbaset al-Megrahi go back to Libya because he was sure to die within 3 months (he’s still going, 18 months later) will think that the oil deal they got in return was worth the flak.  I doubt the deal will be worth anything in a few weeks (or days).

    • Something bad could happen to the poor, sick murderer during all this unrest…

      • Except the people likely to be doing any killing are more than likely going to consider the guy a hero.
        Unless you mean some sort of Tom Clancy fantasy, which ain’t gonna happen.

        • Well, until some bright spot colonel decides it’s time for a new ruler, who, by coincidence, happens to be him.

  • Blogs – expect them to pick up again some when 2012 rolls around and people want to vent.
    One of my favorites – Blamebush, died out when Bush left office.  Pity, the guy could be hilarious.   It had some brilliant sarcasm on it, I think my favorite was the time he blamed Bush for the fan belt breaking on his mother’s Jeep wrangler (and made it sound as logical as any other progressive argument I’ve ever heard).

  • I use my blog for myself. It’s great if other people read it, but I am documenting my chess growth there for myself.
    Another datapoint for those who like to label libertarians as selfish.