New York Times recently posted a short analysis that concluded that the number of bloggers between the ages of 12 and 17 has been steadily declining. The study then takes this statistics and argues if that means that blogging as a whole is losing ground and popularity among the Internet users and whether it is on its way to a quick, miserable death.
Here we go again… Another study that takes a small sample of Internet users and proclaims the death. In this case, the death of blogging. But seriously, what does it actually mean to the Internet as a communication tool, that kids do not feel like blogging anymore? And what about the other age groups? Shouldn’t you include other age groups into the study too? Well, let’s look at the corpse while it is still warm.
The very first thing that needs to be realized is that blogging is form of a communication. In fact, along with forums, blogging is the original Web 2.0 platform, that enables authors and readers to get their views heard. And the way people communicate and get social is evolving, and blogging is evolving too.
The simple truth is that people in the age group the study followed are simply migrating over to other social media like Facebook and Twitter. But Facebook let’s the author – as well as members of the author’s community – write notes which can easily double as blogs and gives the user control over who can see what he or she writes. The same, but in less number of characters, can be said about Twitter.
Given the fact, that adults are simply much more likely to develop their own web “real estate” than kids, who instead tend to take bigger advantage of open social platforms, to express their views. Still, short blog post and short wall post on the Facebook have a lot of similarities.
And let’s not forget, that blogging is hard work, if you want to do so consistently. So it is only to be expected, than young kids will not feel like putting too much effort into something, that can almost feel like another homework. On the other hand, for more mature writers, blogging can easily be seen as a form of relax, just like gardening. It’s still a work, it is dirty, and many times the results are not as expected, but it just does not have much resemblance to one’s 9-5 job routine. You put up the work, you get to enjoy the results (or not).
And then there’s the always present issue of originality. Kids typically just re-post whatever interesting they came across, or what their friends talk about right now. However, mature blogger looks at the blogging as a form of art – the art of expressing one’s views in a way, that will be interesting for other readers. And in many cases, a potential financial gain from blogging is also taking into account, thus turning the blogger from an average Joe who just writes stuff on the Internet, into a cautious businessman, who wants to deliver content, that would not only be read, but that could also bring in some cash.
The truth is, that whether you want to make money blogging, or just write about what compels you (or combine the two), blogging is alive and well. No doubt, that the current boom in social networking competes for the readers attention, and a lot of content is being distributed via those media. But unlike those media, a blog is a personal property, in the real sense of the word. It is something, that each blogger develops and shapes according his or her own vision and desires. And that makes them as viable platform, as ever. In the world of 140 characters, reading an original content can be very refreshing indeed.