Friday, December 17, 2010

Has blogging 'hit the wall'?


I ran across an interesting study about how different generations are using the Internet, put out by Pew Internet research and reported on Mashable.

The results reveal some unsurprising facts, such as that

The Millennials – those ages 18 to 33 – are more likely to engage in many online activities than older generations, namely social networking, using online classifieds, instant messaging, playing online games, listening to music, participating in virtual worlds and reading blogs.

Or that social networking (i.e., FACEBOOK!) is on the rise among all generations. Or that everyone uses e-mail.

But there was also one fact that I found extremely interesting: Blog writing is, apparently, on the decline (except for a slight uptick in the older generations -- those over 33). Not only that, but only a slim percentage of people even have a blog: 9-19%, depending on the age group.

The researchers posit that social media sites like Facebook and Twitter allow users to share personal information and opinions, thereby supplanting the need or desire to write a blog. And, judging by personal experience, this theory has great merit. For, my own posts on this site have plunged quite a bit, as I have grown more active and interactive on Facebook.

But I also suspect there's another phenomenon at play, which I'll call "social media fatigue." Perhaps the Internet is reaching the "tipping point" of saturation. People's time, and interest, and attention -- these are all things in limited supply. There are only so many social media platforms, or news sites, or online stores, or blogs, that a person can browse on any given day, before the eyes glaze over and the mind begins to wander ...

Not only that, but blogging is hard work! And, for the vast majority of us, it's purely a labor of love -- in other words, we do it for free. Well, guess what? If you do something for free, you'll only be willing to dedicate free time to it on a regular basis.

Now, I don't know about you, but my free time is becoming more and more precious each day! And sitting down to post a new blog is slipping further and further down the list ....

 
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