The Blog Is Dead. Long Live the Blog.

April 5, 2012

Is the blog dead?  A host of big name bloggers certainly think so.  Nick Denton, founder of sites like Gawker, recently ditched the blog format, saying that he was "bored" and "out of blogs."  Felix Salmon blogged his agreement (irony check?) when he said that "very few new voices have emerged." Now Ben Smith of BuzzFeed, a noted blogger in his own right, concurs. "There aren't new great bloggers. It's not the next thing."

What made the blogosphere unique in its halcyon days was the dialogue that grew up among a set of brilliant writers who weren't quite among the media elite.  To these writers there was a certain giddiness that came with being able to write without the constraints of space or time.  Their exchanges were fresh and vibrant.  They began to "scoop" news stories.  In time these good but not quite elite writers became the elite.  The pace of change quickened.  A flock of pseudo-journalists leapt over the lowered publishing barriers.  Large media houses, seeing their old business models slowly dying, saw blogs as a new outlet for journalism (and revenue).  The original bloggers assumed ex officio roles as they took on more established roles and found it increasingly difficult to feed the blogging beast that they were instrumental in creating.

The story of the blog showcases the incredible pace of creative churn occurring at the intersection of tech and media now.  In 2004, I was met by puzzled looks whenever I'd utter the word "blog."  By 2008, there was a dynamic community of thought leaders around star bloggers like Andrew Sullivan.  Today, it seems more-and-more that the real conversation has moved on to Twitter.  The social media game now revolves around two facets: headline creation mixed with search engine optimization, as seen with The Huffington Post, and on-going dialogue, as seen now on Twitter.

Blogging is the establishment now.  Does that mean it's dead though?  Hardly.  In many ways it's made old-form journalism lighter on its feet, while in turn reflecting the substance found in the longer form pieces.  Content matters more now.  The news junkie can always get the quick hit on Twitter.  Blogging may be the best of all journalistic worlds.  

What do you think?  Is the blog dead?  What's the future of social media?