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The “Is Blogging Dead” Meme and Other Navel-Gazing Nonsense

It seems like it’s becoming an annual tradition for a blogger or reporter on a slow news day to observe that a trend of “a-lister” bloggers are retiring from the blogging scene and one of the informal golden rules in reporting is:

  • If it happens once, it’s an accident.
  • If it happens twice, it’s a coincidence.
  • If it happens three times, you have a “trend” story on your hands.

So 3 prominent bloggers quitting the scene within a period of 1-2 years = trend?

The one thing about the “golden rule” was that it generally applied to the brick-and-mortar context, not as much when you’re talking about 3 or more bloggers out of the hundreds of millions of blogs out there.

Statistically, even 100 top bloggers out of a universe of 100 million blogs would be 1 / 1,000,000. In decimal points that would be 0.000001% of the blogging population.

is blogging dead

So wondering if “blogging is dead” is akin to wondering if fixed-line telephones are dead or if the fax machine is dead. Nice linkbait, but I don’t think there’s much substance or value to that argument.

Jason Lee Miller notes in his WebProNews piece that fame (or the price of it) might be the cause of the backlash against TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington, Dan Lyons AKA Fake Steve Jobs et al.

Valleywag also notes that Dan scored a book deal out of his Fake Steve Jobs gig. I don’t know about you, but posting 10-20 posts a day on a blog can only be justified against the reward of a book deal or other financially rewarding gig.

In the case of Mike Arrington, TechCrunch has gained sufficient reader critical mass in recent years to merit him taking a step back from the death threats and gobs of spittle to the face. With the goal accomplished, there’s no necessity to take the next bullet (or wad of spit).

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My opinion is that each of the A-Listers had an outcome in mind, whether it was a book deal, a movie deal, being able to build up advertising rates to $32,500 per month.

If anything, it was more “mission accomplished” than “i give up”.

And for the other bloggers out there who are prone to engage in a bout of “should I continue blogging?” type navel-gazing, it might be a sign that you’re just not serious enough about this to have your effort questioned at every turn.

Back to work.

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For ideas and strategies about managing your blogging efforts as a business, check out Secret Blog Weapon.

4 comments on The “Is Blogging Dead” Meme and Other Navel-Gazing Nonsense

  1. Josh Todd
    February 12, 2009 at 10:01 am (3750 days ago)

    I totally agree. I read that article too, it’s just sensationalist reporting at best…

  2. Marty Weil
    February 12, 2009 at 10:50 pm (3749 days ago)

    What I wonder is how many D-list bloggers have quit? In other words, are there any stats that track the number of blogs begun and then abandoned without fanfare? It’s a particularly tough slog to be a niche blogger–there aren’t any $32,000 ad revenues or book deals on the horizon. I’ve posted daily on my niche site for three years, and while I’ve built a nice little following among in my niche (ephemera), I wonder how many other D-list bloggers have the tenacity to stick to it like I do?

  3. Mike Allen
    February 13, 2009 at 3:38 am (3749 days ago)

    People come and go in any industry – journalism, TV news, teaching, sports, etc. (Remember when Michael Jordan retired?) I think some just want a change or a chance to rebrand themselves or do something they enjoy more. Some leave to follow a dream or for service reasons.

    In short, blogging is just another type of communication — human social interaction. Such has been with us for thousands of years and will continue. True, the platform and writers will change but the concept will remain because expression is a basic part of human nature. No, blogging is not dead.

  4. MLDina
    February 17, 2009 at 6:54 am (3745 days ago)

    I’d have to agree. There are still hundreds, if not thousands, of new bloggers starting every day. Of course with those kind of numbers, you’re going to have a bunch of bloggers, both big and small, quitting or taking an extended break. It does make for a good headline, though.

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