Thursday, July 18, 2019

Blogs Are Back? “For the Love of God, Please Don’t Start Another Podcast.”

"Yikes, what is the function of this blog anymore?
~ Tavi Gevinson, 2016 

"It would be nice if we could get back to the point where blogging was popular... Preferred social media methods these days leave a lot to be desired."
 ~ Dave Lucas, 2018

The rise of Facebook, twitter, sina-weibo, WeChat and Instagram is generally reagrded as "the beginning of the end of blogs." Not so fast! While indeed it is true that many great blogs have either disapperared*, suspended publishing or lie fallow - hibernating literary giants.

Bloggers played an important role in the early structuring and shaping of what would come to be known as social media. Bloggers were de facto newspaper or magazine editors, chronicling life not to the beat of a daily or monthly deadline, but at whim. The thrill of "instant publishing" everyone is now so familiar with began with the blog.

Have We Hit Peak Podcast?
If you are able to jump the paywall, The New York Times is evaluating the future of podcasts.
Read "Have We Hit Peak Podcast? If past experience (cough, blogs) is any indication, a shakeout is nigh." Here's an excerpt or two:
"...the frequency with which podcasts start (and then end, or “podfade,” as it’s coming to be known in the trade) has produced a degree of cultural exhaustion. We’re not necessarily sick of listening to interesting programs; but we’re definitely tired of hearing from every friend, relative and co-worker who thinks they’re just an iPhone recording away from creating the next 'Serial.'"
Unlike blog metrics, "...whether anybody finds that podcast or listens to it and the bounce rate — who knows?”

Webloggers' humble beginnings can be traced back to 1994 and Swarthmore College student Justin Hall, who for 11 years documented his life online to the tune of 4800+ pages from nearly a decade of constant writing, which he posted on his site, which is still up and active at The term "weblog" was coined by Jorn Barger on 17 December 1997.

Many bloggers of note (including yours truly and Xiaxue) employed Blogger, a free weblog-publishing service which began in 1999 that allows multi-user blogs with time-stamped entries. It was developed by Pyra Labs, which was purchased by Google in 2003. By December 2004, Merriam-Webster declared “blog” its “Word of the Year.” The blogosphere was studied, analyzed, dissected and scrutinized. Much ado was made regarding popular blogs and ethical blogging. Fast-forward to the age of facebook and twitter, and it no longer mattered. Poof! Just like that, the craze factor of blogging ended. Yet there are still a bunch of blogs and bloggers that press on.

While CEO of,
Deborah Sweeney appears to have aimed her excellent article featured below toward those involved in the monetary aspect of blogging, the advice is absolutely good for all.

But consider this: If you are thinking of starting a blog, you don't have to have a monetization plan ready to roll. You can choose to develop one over time, if you decide that's the direction you want to go in.

While my blogspot was/is monetized by including ads and opportunities to advertise, there was a very short window where it actually made money, and that was accomplished vis Google Ads. To shorten a long story, a jealous blogger overseas ruined my relationship with Google by mercilessly clicking on my blog's Google Ads, which resulted in my permanent expulsion from the program. No hard feelings, though. I never was about "blogging for bucks" anyway.

So where have all the great blogs gone? They still exist, along with a handful of new ones, like this one and this one and that one.

*Some blogs have been totally scrubbed so thoroughly that even the Internet Archive Wayback Machine can't bring them back.
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