Who Knows The Future of Blogging?

There is no one I admire more than Mark W. Schaefer, and we launched on Twitter at the same time…how’s that for forever ‘raderie?

Yet, since his blog post over the summer about what’s new and exciting in blogging and his disillusion about what to expect, the blogosphere is still awash with posts, podcasts and conversation pro and con on the topic.

Last week, Jon Buscall (another dear friend and colleague I met on Mark’s blog back in the day), president of Jontus Media in Sweden, invited me to be his guest for the third time on his podcast. (He’s a phenom in podcasting, you know, and also has an amazing marketing firm in Stockholm).

I have to bring our conversation from audio to my blog and try to help Jon get a better answer. We skirted the issue very well, and Jon wrapped up the show still seeking a spot-on solution for the future of blogging. I think I let him down because my crystal ball predicts that the future of blogging depends on the blogger! That’s you and me.

So, let me try to recap what I circled with Jon about right here:

Mark’s cred is off the chain. As a leader on the Interwebz, it’s his wont to rustle feathers, be a provocateur, and toss about theory that needs proving. When someone of Mark’s caliber suggests there’s nothing new ahead for blogging and the future of blogging looks dim, what does that do for we bloggers ramping up growth plans?

Exactly…the lights go out and passions dim, too.

My Take on Blogging

  • If you listened to any of my podcasts with Jon, you may hear my encouragement and excitement about this channel, also called owned media.
  • Blogging gives each of us the opportunity to control a message, share insight, show personality, build community, influence a brand, and sell.
  • After 12 months of straight blogging three times a week, things begin to happen; trust me, I am speaking from experience. No one should derail the blogging journey unless they just want to take a break and come back, like Mark Harai and Paul Roberts (who just returned last week).
  • I’m not going to amplify my own echo chamber; I’ve written so much on blogging already…my archives are rich with passionate content about blogging.

My answer about the future of blogging is this — stay the course, put in your time, find your voice, build community, and become an expert. What your future is depends on you. Comparing yourself to another bloggers’ journey is like apple and oranges, but it bears no fruit.

46 comments
Erin F.
Erin F.

Has @craigmcbreen made an appearance here? He has a great perspective on the future of blogging.

 

I have no predictions. I'm just going to stay the course as best I can and weather whatever storms may come.

Latest blog post: Who’s in My Audience?

ExtremelyAvg
ExtremelyAvg

Blogging will remain important for the blogger if he or she wishes it to be so. I've blogged every day for the last 1008 days and during large swaths of that time I cared deeply about my blog and worked hard to make it grow. There were other times, more recently, where I have been posting without any interest if they were being read.

 

Today, however, three ladies who shall remain nameless have been hanging out and commenting. I've been at work and didn't even know about all the fun going on. When I found out, it was such a joy. Blogging is fun, especially when people comment and share their stories. As long as it is fun, I predict there will be blogging.

Latest blog post: Feeding the Blog

barrettrossie
barrettrossie

Jayme, I think blogging will grow in importance for individuals and companies, for the reasons you mention plus: As the channel matures, people will get smarter and better at it. And as they do, blogs will have more intrinsic value. 

 

If I want to learn a particular social media marketing technique, for example, I'll do a Google search. And most of the relevant and effective results will be for links to blogs. 

Hajra
Hajra

I am still struggling with the consistency part. And with college now, I find it tougher to devote time to blogging! But yes, as long as you are having fun while doing it all. the future will be just as well! :)

rdopping
rdopping

Hey Jayme, late to the party here.

 

Still on vacation and the brain has slowed to a dull roar (save your witty retort for another post....hahahaha). I like what @markwschaefer suggested but have this to observe. I agree that more and more our entry to the web is through mobile but I don't see it being the single soul source. Ever.

 

Blogging, to me, has traditionally been about engaging outside of mobile ('cause that's where it started? Duh?) and I don't personally think that will change significantly (as I sit here pounding the keys of my laptop). Having said that if bloggers want to gain some better exposure on mobile then maybe they need to create content that suits mobile - like video, images, infographics for example to augment their written content.

 

If I want to read a blog I will wait until I have a laptop in front of me but will I watch a video or look at images on mobile? All day long.

 

Anyway, this comes from 18 month in this medium so don't take my word for it. Let me test it out for you and let's see if my visits via mobile increase.

 

Great friggin' post!

HughAnderson
HughAnderson

Well this has generated a really interesting debate! I'll add a little more fuel to the fire: the majority of the people engaged here are like you - they thrive on blogging, comms/PR/marketing/social media/digital evolution is their passion, and like you, their commitment merely strengthens. For everyone like that and for communicators and writers in general, the future of blogging is bright. But there's a but. For a large number of businesses in many different other industries, I reckon there are people desperately trying to keep a blog going and they just see it as a chore. It doesn't necessarily come naturally to everyone, so, unlike Twitter, for example, where just about anyone can join in as 140 characters is no commitment at all, might blogging become a more specialised art for those that not only appreciate the benefits, but thrive off their blogs. = decreased quantity of blogs, but increased quality.

AdrienneSmith
AdrienneSmith

Hey Jayme,

 

I heard about Mark's post and glad you put your own two cents worth in here.  Personally, I don't see blogging going anywhere.  I think it's a great medium to express yourself and of course build your brand.

 

I do believe though with the advancement of technology that the way people access your blog will become more and more mobile.  Thank goodness it's not the majority rules right now even though I do have the proper plug-ins in place for mobile devices.  Now who's blog they'll access will be up to you, the blog owner.

 

Sharing great content and building those relationships will keep you in the game I believe.  If you don't "go with the times" though then those who are totally mobile for accessing information may dwindle off I think.

 

Great perspective on this subject, thanks for bringing this up.  I think the future is bright, really bright!  

 

~Adrienne

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

I think it's less to do with the "future of blogging" than it is to do with lazy bloggers that are short-changing their audience.

 

As I mentioned in a comment over at @markwschaefer 's post, there is NO reason to not be mobile for your audience today, at minimal cost. Free platforms like Blogger and Wordpress.com already offer great mobile-friendly and mobile-optimized designs, and if you're on self-hosted WordPress, plugins like WPtouch Pro offer a great solution too.

 

Yet, the best one - and very inexpensive - is a true responsive design. This adapts your site or blog to whatever browser your visitor comes in on, so it's not just optimized for mobile but for older browsers and different displays.

 

You can grab a responsive design package from the likes of Studiopress and their Genesis framework and child themes for as little as $80.

 

If you're serious about your blog and your readers, go responsive. Don't look to blogging's future as being at stake - think about you as a blogger, and your responsibility to user experience instead,

Latest blog post: Flashcards on Board

markwschaefer
markwschaefer

I did not fully articulate my concerns in that original blog post because I wanted to throw it out there to see what people had to say. But here is something to think about.  Today, about 28% of Americans access our blogs from smartphones. Have you ever tired to read a blog on a smartphone? Leave a comment? Tweet it out?  It's not easy. And by the way all this nice stuff you have surrounding your post telling people who you are and what you do disappears. So my point is that as smartphones increasingly become our first step to the Internet, the utility of our blogs is eroding day by day. Our beloved medium is becoming harder to read, harder to engage with and less useful  -- and writing better blog posts won't change that. 

 

Thanks for continuing the conversation Jayme!

jennwhinnem
jennwhinnem

Girl you just gave me an idea for a video blog series. I'm going to wear a veil and peer into a crystal ball and predict the future of social media! I don't think I'd be able to keep from laughing, though.

 

I wish you lived down the street so we could go to the local pub and get bawdy.

 

Okay - to be on topic - I'm impressed that you're not weary. I'm impressed that you still love doing this. Would love to see a blog post on how you do that. I've read that it helps to get a change of scenery in social media - what else?

 

 

New England Multimedia
New England Multimedia

You've been blogging three times a week for the past year? Now that's consistency, Jayme -- and I'll bet that's a big part of your own community-building success.

 

The future of blogging is dependent on the ability of bloggers to meet whatever goals they have. As long as bloggers can get what they want out of blogging, it's not going anywhere! 

 

I remember years ago, long before businesses used blogs, our then-elementary-school daughter's first blog was on Freeservers! She liked to write about animals and post photos of them, just for fun. My first blog was on Xanga, and was simply a place to show family and friends what we did all day while homeschooling Christa through middle and high school. My next blog was ministry-related (on Blogger, I think), and was simply a place to share my thoughts and experiences with others who worked with teens, and to create a community there.All three of those blogs met their goals! 

 

Now I blog (on Wordpress) for marketing, to drive targeted traffic to our B2B website so business owners will hire us to design their Wordpress websites, create custom Facebook apps (websites-in-Facebook), and produce videos for YouTube and DVDs! The goals are very different, and require more thought and planning.

 

You create great community here, Jayme, and as I recall, that was your goal last time you and I talked on the phone a year ago. Has that goal changed? 

 

PaulRobertsPAR
PaulRobertsPAR

Very well said as usual. You nailed it. The entire process in its purest sense is a very personal journey. The problem is that many blogs today are not blogs but individual corporate websites hidden behind the veil of a blog. 

 

That being said, I often compared myself to you and I never measured up.

 

Thanks for including me in your post, I see I came back just in time.

 

geoffliving
geoffliving

It's interesting. I think that depends a lot on what you want from the blog. So if you want to be an expert do it with a tight mission, right?  I think I see so many people not blogging in a journalistic sense or with the dedication necessary.  But I also think you need to know where you are heading. Customer centric may be small and never large, and that's OK! What more could you want?

bdorman264
bdorman264

What? You told me you admired me the most when we skyped.............why I never.............

 

My answer is your answer: stay the course, put in your time, find your voice, build community, and become an expert. What your future is depends on you.

 

You can do many things with the right community and a clear vision; I know I'll be around for awhile, regardless of who tells me it's no longer relevant. 

 

And that's a fact. 

Mark_Harai
Mark_Harai

To me, blogs/ social media are communication platforms where humans connect and communicate. They are driven by human relationships.

 

At the core, they are technologies that make communicating across the globe a reality. As long as humans communicate, blogging, social media, the social web, whatever you want to call it, will not be going away anytime soon.

 

In fact, quite the opposite will happen - there will continue to be an explosion of adoption, use and growth of the medium.

 

Not only are humans driven to communicate with each other, they also have a desire to be unique, set apart from the crowd, attention seekers.

 

Again, this is just human nature and blogs are the one social platform, as Jayme pointed out, that is "owned media,” meaning this is the only platform on the social web that you control 100%.

 

Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, et al - are not owned by individual content creators. More than that, all of the creative work invested in building a following on these platforms is owned by these social networks, not you.

 

It's possible, however not probable, that your network of hundreds or thousands of people whom you communicate with, do business with and make a living with could be gone tomorrow and you can't do anything about it.

 

They don't even pay you for your very best creative work. People labor, in some cases all day long, to build value for something they don't own.

 

Now granted, there are benefits, in some cases, huge benefits to doing this; but the savvy internet entrepreneur/ solopreneur who understands this will always establish a social platform they own lock, stock and barrel to create and share their content.

 

The best platform to own on the social web is a blog. They used to be called websites, but in today’s internet world, static websites are a thing of the past and blogs are living, breathing organism that keeps on giving :)

 

Blogging hasn't even scratched the surface yet, because technology continues to improve, thereby providing different and more effective ways to communicate globally with others.

 

For example, podcasting and video are exploding right now. It will continue to get easier to create and deliver content in this manner, which means more people creating and more people consuming content.

 

As I see it, blogging/ social media are still in shit-diapers. We have not even scratched the surface on how this technology will change the way people live and experience life on planet earth.

 

I believe there's a book out there somewhere that touts the fact that there will someday be a one world government? That in itself boggles the mind to think about, if in fact it does happen.

 

But if it does, these social media platforms are the tip of the ice berg to making all of that a very real possibility in the not so distant future.

 

I'm rambling now - thanks for the mental stimulation this morning Jayme!

 

jonbuscall
jonbuscall

This is a great follow up piece Jayme. I'm going to link to it in the show notes. 

 

I've also got Mark to agree to come along onto the show to try and push the debate further. 

 

It's difficult, isn't it, because there is so much homogeneity in the blogosphere amongst marcom folks that sometimes I wonder if we miss out on the innovation that's going on in other spaces. Maybe we out to have an "they inspire us" week from outside our own field. 

 

XX

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @Hajra  As long as you don't go dormant, Hajra...I know you can post once/week, right? Aim for 2x/week and if it goes to one, then OK...but bloggers who enjoyed a fair amount of engagement and all of a sudden drop off into nowhere are truly hurting their brand. 

Latest blog post: This Business of Breasts

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @HughAnderson Good Morning, Hugh, or is it afternoon by you? (Your "s/z" switch.) Thanks for coming over to lend a thought. I like that you mentioned bloggers in other verticals than PR/social media/marketing, etc.  I have often wondered how they fare in this channel without the innate competency my peers and I have (as you kindly observed). 

 

Perhaps that future of blogging for them becomes aligning with a good partner who is a comms person with the expertise to keep the blog fueled with content. 

 

In many discussions of late with clients, the fear of content marketing runs deep. It will be how the wheat from chaff is determined.

 

Today's post takes Mark and Danny's comments onto the main body of the blog...see if you agree that The Future of Blogging is Mobile Technology.  Thanks for being here.

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @AdrienneSmith I'm with you; I do think there's a bright future for the motivated blogger. And, one who adopts and hugs the beast called technology you do so well!  Thanks for being here! 

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @Danny Brown  @markwschaefer Both of you guys make excellent points. Thanks, Danny, for these tech tips, too. 

 

Recap: The future of blogging is oriented to how well a blogger adapts to tech/mobile platforms. 

 

Eh? 

 

THANK YOU SO MUCH for coming over. 

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @markwschaefer Like bloggers who write and publish, there is also a variety of users of content. They access sites and channels differently; including, as you said, our blogs. 

 

Who are our customers? How are they engaging? 

 

As the news today about Facebook selling more data to marketers suggests and expansion plans in Russia coming soon, we need to be more big-data oriented, don't we? 

 

Maybe that's the topic for your next book, Mark; the future of blogging is big data. (So lovely you came over to provide further insight fodder; I do appreciate it!)

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @jennwhinnem I think it's simple; it's the Type A drive. The next big thing, solving the next crisis, being overwhelmed, creating drama when things are too balanced, finding the coolest topic to write about that's original, seeking the next piece of business. These are all the things that drive me toward growth. 

 

Unlike @Gini Dietrich I'm not disciplined to awake at 5 a.m. daily to write daily or do 30 miles on the stationary bike inside. 

 

So, if I were to tell you my daily schedule, it would not be in the box; 'cuz, I sure as hell ain't!!

 

P.S. Yes, indeed, your video blog has a home right here. C'mon!

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @New England Multimedia  Well, let's see. I've been blogging 2.5  years and in the beginning I blogged daily. So the days off I've had in the last year probably even out to 3x/week for the last 2 years...maybe? 

 

My goals to be a thought leader are complete; have been awhile. That's why I need to do something else (and it's in the works). Me? Always a starter; never a finisher. That's why, knowing that, I'm going to ensure I start with a team who can help me finish. 

 

Anytime you blog, you become richer. There are so many ways to define what that means -- richness of character comes to mind first. 

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @PaulRobertsPAR OK, woah?  That second graph? That's a tall order for me, Mr. Roberts...I can't believe that in the least, and your crisis of confidence needs to stop right now, Mistah. There...now party on Garth!

 

Can't wait to see whatchugot comin' and I'm here to push, nudge, support, cajole, laugh, tease, and hug. 

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @geoffliving One thing we always say when we speak on this topic is, "What are your goals?" 

 

The sad thing is, I accomplished mine in year one, and here I sit. But, the good thing is, since becoming busier with workload, I didn't let this space die; I think it's become strengthened by commitment. 

 

Blogging is like dating; takes a ton of work but the rewards are #RockHot.

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @timbo1973 Hitch your chain to a rising star and listen, watch and learn. That's the best method for phase two and the rest of the journey will fill in with mistakes, rewards and a new understanding about where you're headed. 

 

Isn't Triberr the best for connecting everyone? I NEVER would've met you had we not ended up in the same tribe. Kewl.

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @bdorman264 Perfect; can't imagine this space without the likes of you crazying it up. There's always room for everyone...I know for a fact those guys who quit are missing us!

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @Mark_Harai OK, woah...you coulda wrote this on your own blog, but I'm happier  you did it here. You have such amazing perspective, Mark; I love it when you wax your poeticisms that are so meaningful and insightful, too.

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @jonbuscall Over at @Craig McBreen house today, he writes an excellent post (as he usually does) about inspirational bloggers and what we can take from their practice. 

 

Blogging requires continual growth and to keep it fresh, you need to be creative. I also took inspiration from @JoshuaWilner  comment on the podcast that we may be on the same journey, but our entry point is totally different. 

 

I always enjoy sharing the muckety muck with you, Jon! Thanks for coming over, and I cannot wait to listen to what you and Mark have to say!

HughAnderson
HughAnderson

 @Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing Mobile can only become increasingly important for anyone in comms. I agree with your comment - blogging, and content marketing in general, are so important that the winners in the other verticals will be those that align themselves with good partners or bring them into their own networks/organisations.

 

And it's a crisp, sunny 12 degrees in Edinburgh at 2.45pm, thanks for asking!

Mark_Harai
Mark_Harai

 @Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing I've gained bits and pieces of my perspective from the all the folks we call friends here in the community, Jayme. 

 

When you put a bunch of creative professionals on a 'thought space' on the social web, there are a bunch of small pieces of many perspectives that begin to come together.

 

The trick is getting these minds/ people together in agreement to formulate ideas that can solve problems, create jobs and provide opportunity for others. 

 

This is accomplished by building relationships with people who add to your vision and have a 'can do' attitude and back it up with action.

 

That is how you get things done in business.

 

There is always somebody behind great bodies of work who have the vision, energy, drive and credibility to lead an effort as the one described above. 

 

It's not easy, because you need to have the very best people involved to get things done and that's where ego's and greed can get in the way of good business.

 

It takes leadership skills, mutual respect, trust and a great team to impact an industry.

 

I've always looked at business a high-energy, full-contact, team sport :)

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  1. [...] posted a really interesting follow-up to our discussion on Monday October 1, 2012. Please check out Who Knows the Future of Blogging. Filed Under: Podcast About JonMarketing and Communications Consultant. Head of Jontus Media. [...]