Monday, December 27, 2010

Is Blogging Passe?

This is my 1,500th post on the Playground. That's a lot of words. I first really got plugged into the blogging world during the Presidential primary of the 2004 elections when Howard Dean's campaign was largely a self-organized on-line phenomenon. At the time, a dear friend and colleague had a blog that sadly no longer exists and told me regularly that it was something I should do. It wasn't until I decided to try to write popular philosophy that I took the plunge. A book that helped first time authors get published suggested it, so I figured I'd give it a try.

It's been a wonderful experience, getting to watch interactions among a wide-range of folks, family, friends from virtually every part of my life, and folks who just found the place and settled in. People tend to come for a while, have a sizable presence, and then move on -- kind of like a college. Others are always around and you know with a given post who is going to get fired up by it. Sometimes a post that seems provocative falls flat and other times something I thought was thin gives rise to clever or passionate discussions with comments in the 50s. Occasionally there's a link from a big time blog and traffic goes sky high.

But things certainly aren't what they were in the blogosphere, say three years ago. It used to be the heart of the on-line opinion expressing world. But things went in two directions. Sites like the Huffington Post have tried to corporatize blogging and make it more like a traditional newspaper. In the other direction, Twitter and Facebook have displaced the personal blogs that were more diary-like. The ability to have short shots collected for you allows certain things blogging doesn't. So, it is caught in the middle.

Is blogging a transitional form of on-line communication on its way to extinction, replaced by newly evolved species more suited to the environment? Does it have lasting, but smaller niche role?