Before social networking sites,blogging was the only platform that allowed people to create their profiles online, express their views, interact, air their grievances, share pictures; in short, maintain an online diary. Platforms like WordPress, Blogger and LiveJournal became extremely popular. There was no word limit and you could rant as much as you wanted about any topic under the sun. While many maintained a blog just for the pure love of writing, others turned it into a revenue generating platform. However, with the ever increasing popularity of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, there are reports that claim blogging will soon become a thing of the past. Is this true?
Blogging vs Social Networking
There are many reasons why social networking sites became popular. It allowed people to express themselves freely and almost instantly. Airing your views within 420 characters on Facebook or with Twitter’s 140 characters came easy to many, instead of sitting down to write a dedicated blog. Having said that, there are many who still enjoy blogging, and the process of ideating, letting the words flow, and presenting their thoughts in an environment that is their own.
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Take the case of Aditya Rao, a veteran blogger, who has been blogging for over six years and has about three blogs. He says, “My blogs have gone through many phases, starting with the silly college blogs on Rediff.com and Blogger.com. While it’s true that a lot of my networking and small updates have gone on to Twitter, blogging remains a personal favorite because of its mix of photos, video and text and also because I can get much more creative in my blog. Blogs, especially the WordPress platform, are very flexible these days and a blog can be customized by a non-coder like me to look like a website proper website.”
Rao says blogging provides him with a platform for thought, leadership and personal branding. So, does he feel that there has been a decrease in the number of bloggers? “No. Internet users have increased, so bloggers have also increased. However, fi ve years ago, everyone on the Internet was a blogger, but with the Internet spreading to the masses, even though the number of bloggers has increased, the percentage has gone down.” On the other hand, Sidin Sunny Vadukut, an active blogger since 2002, feels that the number of bloggers has gone down. “I do sense a drop, at least in the number of serious, regular bloggers. I am not going to say that is a good or bad thing. These social networks allow a lot of people to communicate and publish without having to use the medium of blogs, especially if the idea was to communicate short messages, form interest groups, etc. However, India, in my opinion, has always had a shortage of good, well written blogs. While we have lots of personal blogs, specialized ones are very rare. I don't think the situation has changed much.”
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Anoop Johnson, Director-Marketing and Strategic partnerships at IndiBlogger, which is the largest community of Indian bloggers feels that even though the number of bloggers have gone down, the quality has definitely improved. “Back in 2007-2008, we used to approve around 500 blogs every month, and reject around 700. Blogs are mainly rejected because they had duplicate content or did not have enough posts because the author ran out of things to say. In 2010, we approved roughly 600 blogs per month, while the number of spammy blogs came down to 500 per month. In other words, serious writers still continue to grow in number, while the half-baked attempts at blogging decrease since those authors have other outlets like Facebook and Twitter. Blogging requires much more discipline and passion than maintaining a social network profile, and there really is no comparison between the two.”
Blogging With a Social Twist
Marrying your blog with a social network seems to the current trend, especially exploited by those who use their blog to generate revenue. And they seem to be starting young. All of 14 years-old, Vishal Sanjay from Ryan International School, Bangalore effectively employed the social networks to his advantage to generate traffic for his blog. He blogs about social media, Internet marketing and business and is generating a sizeable revenue. He says, “Our main source of traffic remains social media sites such as Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook and Twitter. Every new post goes viral on these networks and we also have a practice of exchanging social media votes to get our articles viral. We have managed to garner great response and have over ten thousand visitors every month. Also,fellow bloggers often comment or link some of our posts, which also works in our favor.
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Similarly Deepak Raj, who is relatively new to blogging, having started in 2008, is an avid blogger having published more than 1,000 articles on his blog BikeAdvice. in. The 23-year old claims that he has never had a 9-5 job and makes money mostly from his blog. Even though he gets a majority of traffic from search engines, he feels that the traffic from social networks is of better quality. He says, “Facebook and Twitter should be looked upon as companions to your blog rather than a competing site. Before social networks got popular, the only source of traffic to the blogs was the search engines. Google and other search engines help people to find relevant content, but they do not help a blog article go viral. With Facebook and Twitter, it is very easy to rapidly spread good quality content. All it takes is a single click on the Facebook ‘like’ button on a blog post and all his friends are instantly notifi ed about the content that he or she likes.”
Even regular bloggers, who are not concerned with traffic and revenue, look at social networks as a medium to attract people to their blog. Like Sidin Sunny Vadukut puts it, “On an average, I blog once a month and then I Tweet or Facebook out my links. Sometimes I get interesting feedback and often meet people with similar views or ideas, which is fun. I know there are other bloggers who have closely married their blogging and social networking together. I am nowhere near that sophisticated. If anything, Twitter and Facebook come in the way of my sitting down, focusing and writing.” So, is Blogging on the Wane? Blogging is defi nitely not dead. Recently, WordPress launched a series of challenges, like ‘Post a Day’ and ‘Post a Week’. This was viewed as a move to give blogging a shot in the arm, and looking at the overwhelming response, it seems to have worked. We have also seen blogging evolving in its new avatar, as a part of the whole social media movement. Leading brands have their blogs that are professionally managed and aimed at presenting the readers with the humane side of the corporate world.
Published Date: Jul 12, 2011 05:29 pm | Updated Date: Jul 12, 2011 05:29 pm