Friday, March 1, 2013

Is it true? Is this the future of blogging?

In the December 4, 2012 issue of Shelf Awareness, in an article on YA authors and their social media platforms, Andrea Cremer (author of Nightshade and its sequels) admits she started out with a blog, but "now finds that medium too slow and relies primarily on Facebook and Twitter." 

She also says her "social media activity takes up three to four hours of her day." And that's without blogging!

Further evidence that blogging is losing its appeal: several of the authors I follow have essentially stopped blogging. The last time Maureen Johnson (Name of the Star) posted to her blog was five months ago. Yet you can find the Queen of Teen on Twitter nearly every waking hour of the day.  Laurie Halse Anderson also hasn't blogged for five months. Mike Jung (Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities) is another author with a Twitter empire. His last blog post was Feb 23, certainly recent enough. Yet the one before that was Oct 7, 2012!

What does this mean?

I think it means the future of blogging is Twitter and Facebook! The internet is changing our brains and the way we process information. People simply don't have the patience to read long blog posts anymore (Go on, admit it, you've skimmed more than one of my longer posts -- and yes, I've probably skimmed one or more of some other blogger's posts. Not yours! No!).  And it's possible that LinkedIn, Google+, Tumblr and especially Pinterest also vie for a portion of your allotted social media time. When does anyone have time to write or read books?

Wait until Facebook buys out Twitter and they'll be the same thing.  Then it will be one looming tower of babble.

What do you think?


52 comments:

  1. Ugh, this scares me. I love the blog world because it created the opportunity to share meaningful ideas with each other. I have a Twitter account, though I've never tweeted anything, and it seems that Twitter fills a very different role: information sharing, humor, and snippets of inspiration, but it's never produced anything to make me think.
    And it's scary that as authors we're almost expected to spend so much of our time keeping up with these instant-gratification types of social media. Um...when are we supposed to write??
    All right, I'll stop being all antediluvian here...but I do hope blogs survive. :)

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    1. Hi Faith! I love the blogging world too. I've "met" all these wonderful people through blogging, not through Twitter. And I use facebook more for my family and friends outside the writing world.

      That's a good point about Twitter's role and that it doesn't make you think. One helpful thing about Twitter, though, is #kidlitchat and #YAlitchat (etc), which are weekly discussion groups, although I admit I rarely have time to go on there. And I rarely tweet.

      I realize there's one fallacy about starting this discussion on my blog: of course only active bloggers are going to respond!

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  2. I do see blogger fatigue and people disappearing on their own blogs and stop following. But I think it's a mistake. I agree with Faith that you can share more meaningfully.

    I have a lot of friends on Facebook who post a lot and I don't have time to get to all the things being said. In fact, if I want to be sure not to miss my daughter's posts, I go to her page because they get lost in the chatter.

    I'm not on Twitter yet, but I think it'll be the same. And if I follow hundreds of people, I can't read their tweets everyday. So I think there's a good chance I'll miss important info. Plus you can't say much on these forums. I can scroll down my blog roll quickly and find the important news I want to read. And share more on my blog. I think blogs are the best way to share our good news and promote our books when we get published. But that's just my humble opinion.

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    1. Blogger fatigue is a great term for it, Natalie. I can't keep up with Facebook posts either, since I only go on once a week. Getting lost in the chatter is the main problem, isn't it?

      I still find Twitter hard to handle. Good luck with it when you do join. It can be confusing. Facebook is more user-friendly.

      But don't you think people are having trouble keeping up with their blogrolls? I keep following more and more people and then realizing I don't have time to read all those posts. I need to write, read, and sleep too!

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    2. Fatigue, yes. It is really hard to maintain a blog and blog relationships. I admit it, I skim, too. But some posts drag me in and surprise me. I really do like FB, but am upset about this whole paid post issue, as now only 20% of my FB page followers are getting informed. What to do?

      I think blogging is the ultimate tool for writers, but there's just too much out there to pay attention to and, as you say, read, write, and sleep.

      I think I agree with Kim below, though, that people will simply gravitate to what works for them.

      danika

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    3. Yeah, that FB sponsored post thing bothers me too. FB is always looking for ways to make money out of us. That's their right, of course, as a thriving business. But most people think of it as a social gathering place, not someplace you have to pay to visit.

      But I hadn't heard that only 20% of our FB followers are getting our posts. Is this true?? Ack!

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  3. Blogging isn't dead just because because faster-paced online alternatives for sharing have emerged, just like physical paper books aren't dead just because ebooks have come into being. How and where people choose to spend their online time depends on personal preference, and on how/what/why they want to interact or share.

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    1. Excellent point, Kim! I hope paper books will still be around for a while. I'll be the last person to buy a Kindle or Nook.

      And I hope blogging isn't dead, because I intend to keep blogging! Hope you do too.

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    2. I have an e-reader, and I also have more than my fair share of paper books. I tend to buy more paper books than ebooks. But I enjoy each form, buying what suits me best at the time. I guess you could say I am an equal opportunity bibliophile.

      And absolutely I'll keep blogging, no matter where the trends go. If people visit, I am pleased - especially when I get comments from people (both kids and adults) who say the information helped them. But if they don't visit, that's OK, too, because I truly enjoy what I do. But I only post about once a month now, so that I have time for the other things I want or need to do, too. And my blog roll is very small, on purpose, so that I have time to read them.

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    3. Kim, I applaud you for keeping your blogroll small on purpose. I think that was my original goal...

      And posting once a month is certainly something we could all do. Group blogs are another idea!

      I know quite a few people who own e-readers and still prefer paper books. Although that might change in another generation.

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  4. I agree with all this, yet I continue to blog. I love having a place to work through ideas, share thoughts, and maybe bring about discussion...whether people are reading or not.

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    1. Yay for you, Caroline! And I enjoy your blog. Your posts are thoughtful (and usually quite short!). I'll continue to blog too. But definitely less often. And I may aim for shorter posts to snag those people with shorter attention spans.

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    2. My thoughts exactly! I just joined Twitter recently, but I can't see how it can replace blog posts. It is hard to follow a conversation.

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    3. Hi Andrea! I've been on Twitter for years and I STILL find it hard to follow.

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  5. For months I've felt blogging is on the decline (I think we actually talked about this after Kate's launch, no?). People are posting less often, and followers don't seem to stop in as much as they used to. I think other social media outlets are growing, and I also think people are running out of things to say. Let's be honest; how many new blog posts are left at this point? I'd like to see blogging come back, perhaps with some new trends to make things more interesting again. I know for me, my blog has become more like a web page. I post when I have something to say, but overall, it just serves as a place for people to get info. on myself and my work.

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    1. Yes, we did, Paul. I don't think I mentioned the Shelf Awareness article at the time, but we talked about fewer comments on blogs and we definitely mentioned Twitter that night.

      I'm certainly posting less often than I did when I started blogging, so I agree with most of what you're saying.

      But I don't think people are running out of things to say! People can always find things to talk about. For me, there will always be books to review. I've never been one of those bloggers who posts helpful writing advice, because I feel like a newbie compared to some (even though I've been writing seriously since 2007). But with the publishing industry changing rapidly, there's plenty of discussion left.

      I'm intrigued by your idea of new trends in blogging. What sort of new trends would you hope to see?

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  6. I've been reading about the decline of blogging for some time now. We continue to post 3 times/week on our TeachingAuthors blog, but I have to agree that the comments are less common--even when we're hosting giveaways, like today. I, too, am curious about Paul's comments related to "new trends in blogging."

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    1. Welcome, Carmela! Thanks for stopping by. I'll have to check out your blog next.

      It's hard to get people to comment when they're pulled in so many directions at once. I certainly don't have time to visit on a regular basis every one of the hundreds of blogs I follow. And of my 199 followers, I'd say only about 20 are regulars.

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  7. I think what works and what's current changes. And I think that's okay. Blogging does take a lot of time, as does visiting and commenting on blogs. Each social media platform has a different strong point, and keeping current with what that strong point is, is important. Especially if you're trying to reach a certain audience--because kids and teens usually aren't reading blogs.

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    1. Hi Barbara! Yes, blogging certainly does take up time, more so from visiting and commenting on other blogs. That's why I usually reserve a chunk of time on Mondays and visit as many blogs as I can in that time period. It's unusual, these days, for me to post (or visit) on a Friday.

      That's an important point about audience. Very few kids read blogs. But I don't think they're on Twitter either.

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    2. Kids/teens will visit a blog, depending on what they're looking for. I agree, they don't seem to be regular readers of blogs for the sake of reading blogs. Any regular readers I have are adults, as far as I can tell. But, if you have posted content that kids/teens can use to help them with a school assignment or project, they'll find you via a web search, and they will visit. I have quite a number of kids/teens who visit my blog and sometimes even comment. The majority come to the book reviews and author spotlights, presumably due to a book or author-related assignment.

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    3. That's great that you've created content kids will find via web searches. I do book reviews, but very few kids have ever commented on them. Too many of us post book reviews, I suspect. But your author spotlights would help kids with reports to write. And your little-known holidays feature must attract a lot of pageviews.

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    4. I've had some kids at my school reading my blog for book reviews (MMGM). But I think kids using blogs and Twitter will increase as schools begin to use more and more technology. For example, my school is just starting Bring Your Own Device and our school board has opened up its permissions to allow kids to access Facebook and YouTube.

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    5. Wow, Andrea! I'm impressed that your school is allowing kids to use facebook and youtube. And that's kind of cool that some of the students in your school read your blog for book reviews.

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  8. I prefer to read blogs and don't spend as much time reading facebook or twitter. I do participate in them- but twitter is too short for me and I don't enjoy the newer timeline on facebook. I like to read blogs and find out a bit more information. I definitely prefer to read posts that are on one subject or that are a bit shorter. Sometimes posts that are a couple of pages long are too hard for me to comment on because there is just so much to say. :) Without a doubt I comment more on blogs than I do on twitter of fb. Maybe I am behind the times! Interesting post!

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    1. Hi DMS (is this Jess?), I hear you about shorter posts. And I don't think you're behind the times at all.

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  9. I think you can't read a full article on Facebook or Twitter. I think FB and Twitter are good to post links to send people to the articles on blogs.

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    1. This is true, Erik. Good thinking. My blogger account is set up to automatically send these posts to my FB account. But not many people seem to click on that link to come back here!

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  10. I have been thinking about this a lot lately, Joanne. I like blogging and I enjoy reading blogs-- but like many other commenters I have had to pull back on both. I try to visit and read the posts of people who frequent my blog and comment. I think I struggle with having a web presence that is unique. But I wouldn't trade it for the friendships that have developed from blogging (including yours!).

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    1. Hi Kat! I'm not the only one who's posted about this recently, either. And that's so true -- we all hope to have a unique web presence but it's tough with so many blogs out there. Yours seems to be pretty unusual and striking.

      I can't keep up with as many blogs as I would like to. And I agree that the friendships (like yours!) that have blossomed from blogging are worth all the struggles. How else would we have found each other?

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  11. Joanne...not wanting to sound negative or contrary...but the authors who stops blogging (and I know a few), just don't get it and probably never did. I'm not saying how I approached blogging wouldn't change if I ever did become published, but I would never quit. :)

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    1. Hi Don! That's a valid point and I'm glad you brought it up. (I'm also glad you would never quit!) I've noticed many author blogs changing when the authors got published. Maybe they post less often or they change the purpose or direction of the blog, but the ones I love continue to post about anything and everything, instead of just advertising their book.

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  12. All very interesting! I think each has its own merits, depending on what you're looking for. But with ways to connect them all, I don't think blogging will ever end. Loved the post and reading through the comments! :)

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    1. Thanks, Jennifer! I wasn't sure how people would react when I first posted this. Glad you're positive about the future of blogging.

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  13. You definitely struck a nerve with this one! For me, April will mark a full four years of blogging, and I've gone through stages of blogger fatigue. Right now, I've become a lot happier with blogging simply by lessening the pressure on myself to produce content 2-3 times/week. By aiming to post once per week, it's prevented me from falling into the "filler" content trap and to increase the quality and variety of what I post. Basically, I'm letting inspiration dictate my content, which makes it fun again!

    As a reader, I find myself reading a much more limited list of blogs with a greater variety of content, and they're split between funny, brief tumblrs and more lengthy, informative traditional blogs. I don't think longform blogging/articles are dying anytime soon, and I do feel there's a symbiotic relationship with twitter/facebook/tumblr, because that's how people discover and share this content.

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    1. Wow, Donna! Congrats on the upcoming four-year anniversary! It'll be four years for me in August (and, uh, I have a lot fewer followers than you - but you also have a group blog). Once a week is a fine goal. That's about all I've been managing. So glad it's become fun again for you.

      Thanks for stopping by. :)

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  14. I hope Facebook NEVER buys out Twitter. I am seriously annoyed with them trying to take over the social media world. >:(
    I did notice some authors leaving their blogs for tumblr and others and that made me sad because it means I have to seriously think about tumblr now too.
    I still love my blog and will continue using it.
    Talking about blogs, aside from author interviews I tend to shy from posting or reading very long ones. lol

    Very good post Joanne. :)

    ~Akoss

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    1. Why, thank you, Akoss! Yeah, facebook does seem like a greedy corporation at times.

      So glad you're going to continue to use your blog. And I like your blog too! :)

      Thanks for your honesty. I feel guilty if I skim over someone's long post. And I'm going to try to keep my own posts short from now on.

      I wish I had time to read every blog I've ever discovered, but keeping up with blogs that post daily is really hard for me. I try to avoid social media much of the week, so I can get some writing done!

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  15. Blogging does take up a lot of time and I find people seem to comment less and less. Since I've been writing more, I don't post half as much as I used to, I just don't have the time. But, I will continue to do it.

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    1. Hi Janet! Yes, this seems to be what's happening everywhere. I've been writing more too, and therefore posting less frequently, which also means visiting less frequently. But I still make an effort.

      Glad you'll continue to blog!

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  16. This is an interesting idea -- I've also heard that blogs are largely going Tumblr, which is a whole other layer :)

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    1. Hi Gina! Who knows where all this will lead? Guess we can only wait to find out. Are you on Tumblr?

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  17. BTW, Joanne, I did a little bit of a *test* on my blog to see how many people were skimming and who was actually reading. From of the 8 or 10 comments to the post, I only detected one person who read it thoroughly. Which didn't surprise me.

    danika

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    1. Wow! That was ingenious of you, Danika. Hope I wasn't one of the ones skimming... My apologies if I did. I'm going to make an effort not to do that anymore, even if it means visiting fewer blogs on any given day.

      And I'm also going to try to write shorter posts, myself.

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  18. Judging from the number of comments on this post, your blog survives! The Baby Book Nook needs more than 140 characters to share and teach, though sometimes not much more. I now write with a smart phone/tablet space allocation in mind. Less is more, though less takes more (time) to write.

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    1. Hi Linda! It's been a while. Did you know the bookstore closed?

      Yeah, I really didn't expect this many comments. Obviously, I'm not the only one feeling the pinch.

      Wise of you to write with a smart phone or tablet in mind. I know a lot of people (especially those younger than I) who use only a smart phone for email, blogs, FB, Twitter. So if it's a nice short post, they might actually read it!

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  19. Hi Joanne! A very interesting subject. I admit blogging is exhausting, and it seems to be the same group who actively visit each other. As much as I resist Facebook, it's blowing up wit activity. I find Twitter much more fun and quick, but you're right--these are the places we need to be if we want to grow our platform. I attended a webinar the other day where the professional mentioned we should only blog twice a month and spend time doing other things. Even so, I think we shouldn't underestimate the power behind blogging. It still serves as a huge platform in many ways!

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    1. Good point about the same group. I've thought of that, especially with MMGM. Blog twice a month, eh? Now there's a thought. I'm down to about three to four times a month already.

      And yes, I don't think blogging is going away anytime soon.

      Thanks for stopping by, Pk!

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  20. I still love blogging and will continue it for as long as I can, but I think there's a point when you're published that it's no longer necessary. Though if you're not going to blog, you still need to use other social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. I increased my use of the other two when I cut back to blogging only twice a week.

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    1. Hope you do continue blogging, Stina. Your blog is unique.

      Since I'm nowhere near published yet, I can't worry about that now! I do enjoy reading published author's blogs, though (like A.S. King, K.M. Walton, and Beth Kephart) because it humanizes them. Authors are so much more accessible than they were before the internet. If FB and Twitter are where they hang out, that's fine too. But Twitter still confuses me.

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  21. I've noticed some bloggers stopped coming by, but I gain new followers who fill in the gap. I think people are leaving, but new people come in and the appeal is there. Blogging can be exhausting, but I love it. Twitter is second for me. I'm not much of a Facebook person.

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    1. That's happened with this blog too, Medeia. Blogging is constantly changing, and so are the followers and commenters. When I look back at my archives, an entirely different set of people commented back then!

      And I'm sure I'm following different blogs than I was four years ago. I wish I could keep up with them all, but it's impossible, unless I want to spend every waking moment visiting blogs. I can't even spend every moment on Twitter. I'd never do any writing.

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