I am trying to avoid this topic, but as a 9 year blogger, I have to admit that the declining of blog sphere has been an obvious trend, and we have to face it.
The whole Internet is involving quickly. Just like the Geocities.com cannot be hot for ever as its first few years, blogging cannot be as cool as 2001 – 2005. Comparing to the newest media, and tools, blog started to fall short in many aspects.
Real Time Web
The Internet has never been as instant as today. The whole Internet is more like a big IRC chat room by itself. When you enter some short messages, and hit enter in twitter.com or t.sina.com.cn, you are like chatting with the world like old MSN or chat room days. Your message is broadcasted to people, not only at the other side of your IM, or people in a chat room, or a IRC channel. Your message is seen by the whole Internet. That type of real time is never possible before.
Blogging has been the frontier of the Internet of real time web. Blogs have been quicker than news in early days, but now, it is slower than twitter, or weibo.
Information Fragmentation and Defragmentation
To make real time web possible, you have to cut what you are going to ship into smaller chunks. You just cannot input 500 worlds before you hit “Send” in your Instant Messager (MSN or QQ). Only information pieces, not articles, or longer paragraphs can goes fast enough, and make it easier to consume on the reader side. It is easier to combine many short 140 characters sentences into a bigger article that makes sense, than putting many paragraphs togather.
Information defragmentation involves a process of information distribution, and combination. “Follow”is a much easier action than RSS – people can learn to click a button quicker than installing a RSS reader, locating the small orange RSS icon, get the URL of XML, and add it to the reader. People like simple stuff. Always.
With the fragemented information in real time, that is huge volume of information. You have to personalize the web. Different people should see different thing on the same page. To give everyone the same thing – the last tweets from everyone – just does not make any sense. The reader will complain there is nothing interesting on the homepage of twitter, and the writer complains that their message got skip to the 100+ page in one secnd. The only solution is personalized web – everyone has its own news feed (in Facebook’s term) or time line (in twitter’s).
Blogging itself is not personalized to user. It has to be used in combination with a RSS read and manual work of many people. That is also a reason why people prefer microblogging.
The Death of Blog?
Does the evolution of Internet claim the death of blogging? Not that quick yet. Although I see significant decline in number of blog posts people write, and less readership than before, and at the mean time, the microblogging writer and readership went up dramatically, I still think blogging will survive and be a long lasting platform for people to write stuff, although not as hip or cool as before. It is still the best way to write longer articles that has long last values, instead of real time information like news, or dinner appointments.
At the end of the day, blogging or microblogging or the future stuff are just the tools of thoughts, and the only thing that matters are the thoughts behind it, and the people around it.