About a month ago, Jon Tevlin, a reporter from the Minneapolis-St. Paul based Star Tribune, e-mailed me about a piece I’d done last February on my blog entitled “My Blogger Burnout.” Seems he was doing an article based on a prediction that the blogging craze has peaked and is heading downhill.
In my burnout piece I wrote about how blogging had overtaken my life. Even though it meant that I hardly left the house anymore, I was hopelessly addicted. My burnout post was written in an attempt to come to terms with this, and to realize my “vow” to get out more and not let the seasons go by with barely a glance up from my computer.
As luck would have it, I’d just started blogging again after my depression-fueled near-hiatus of several months when Jon contacted me. I was able to honestly tell him that, though I hadn’t given up the blog, I was trying to balance it a bit more with my “real” (?) life.
My boyfriend BG, whose constant refrain when I’m at his place is to “turn off that stupid toy,” has long maintained that blogging is strictly for youngsters. He saw a report on TV awhile back that claimed the vast majority of bloggers are teens and pre-teens. Being a proud Luddite — and since he loves to tease, gloat, and otherwise torment me whenever possible — he takes great delight in informing me on a daily basis that my pursuit of the blogosphere is a childish waste of time.
I still find it hard to come to terms with the fact that there are so many folks, including those in the mainstream media (MSM), who dismiss and/or trivialize outright the overall impact of blogging. Doubtless some feel threatened by there being blogs out there that cover the political scene and current events more doggedly than the MSM, and report on details and phenomena they choose not to cover – or at least not with the depth and often obsessive ferocity that can be seen in the blogosphere.
Blogging also gets a bad rep due to such sites as MySpace, which seems to be a fave of child stalkers everywhere. And of course, it’s undoubtedly true that for many ex-bloggers, the novelty of the medium quickly wore off – especially if they really had nothing much to say.
In any case, I e-mailed Jon back and forth and asked him to let me know when the article came out. He didn’t, though, so I did a search and found it on the Star Trib’s website. It was a short write-up, but I’m happy to say that I got a fair amount of “ink,” so to speak. I can’t help but wonder if Jon was just too busy to notify me that the piece was out, or considered me such a loser that I wasn’t worth the e-mail.
The gist of the article can be found in this:
“The technology firm Gartner Inc. has announced that 2007 may be the year the blog world loses steam. Perhaps hot air is a better term.”
According to Gartner, as of last October there were more than 56 million active blogs (per Technorati), but on average most last three months or less. With more than 200 million ex-bloggers, it is predicted that the first half of this year will find a peak number of only around 100 million active ones. MySpace and Facebook are losing a significant number of users as well. Gartner’s prediction points to a likely leveling-off to at least 30 million active bloggers and 30 million “frequent community contributors” (whatever that means) worldwide when all the blog hoopla dies down.
Says Tevlin, “That’s still a lot of yapping, but consider that Google recently estimated that the average blog is read by one person. In other words, for most bloggers, that means your mom’s not even reading you anymore. The reason, according to Gartner, is that people have gotten bored with their blogs, or just found the responsibility — not to mention the strain — of saying something profound or even interesting every day just isn’t worth it.”
Although the piece — entitled “Bloggone!” — didn’t exactly make the typical blogger look too good, that didn’t bug me much. What did perturb me was that there were no hyperlinks in the piece — except for one to MSNBC — so no one could even click on my blog for a look-see. How internet-unfriendly can you get? Besides, my blog stats are so pathetic that getting a few extra hits from the article would have been appreciated.
In any case, I hope some of you will check out the article, as I’d be interested to know what folks here think about the supposed decline of the blogosphere.