The declining importance of blogs

A year or two ago blogs were at the centre of citizen journalism – fast forward to 2008 and you can see two trends which are undermining that position.

Firstly, the initial flush of enthusiasm for the medium has gone and some people are getting bored of blogging. I think there are a number of contributory factors here:

  • Services like Twitter, Tumblr and to a lesser extent social networks are alternative outlets for self expression which require lower effort and have more immediacy than blogs – a point made by Fred Wilson here
  • The best blogs are now content companies in a way that is little different to newspaper companies in that they focus on scoops and driving readership – a point made by Fred here. The corporatisation of the biggest blogs has a trickle down effect which takes some of the magic out for the rest of us.

Secondly, blogs are becoming less important as a source of traffic for other blogs. As Louis Gray chronicles in detail in his post The Importance of Blog Linking Seems to Be Declining Google driven traffic is far more important and in addition aggregation services like Techmeme and FriendFeed now deliver much more inbound traffic than top blogs like Techcrunch and GigaOM.

I’m not sure yet what this means for me as a small to medium sized blogger. At the end of the day I don’t think it changes much, as long as blogging remains a useful way for me to capture, organise and disucss my thoughts and to engage with all of you dear readers, then I will carry on. That said, one thing I will start doing is publishing to more social media sites.