Not to go all Lester Bangs on you, but are blogs dead? Before you scoff, hear me out: Yes, we are clearly in the age of the digital community, user-generated content, etc. etc. Blogs are on the agenda of every web-related conference, and those who run websites are all talking about blogs and what they mean for the future.
We, however, the UX community, the early adopters, the geeks, have known about blogs far longer than the masses. When we first started posting and reading blogs, the blogs we read and wrote *mattered*. They were a new, unique voice, something different than the world has ever seen. They spit in the face of traditional sources of news, media and entertainment. Now, with the establishment of myspace, facebook, blogger, etc., it seems that almost everyone has a blog. The result is an oversaturated market where a blog cannot stand out as that new and unique voice. (At the very least, a blog will have to be extremely unique to stand out — launching one that reviews maintstream music, for example, and expecting to compete with Rolling Stone, just won’t work. But if you blogged exclusively about the reggae music scene in Richmond, VA, well, then you might have a fighting chance to exist in a niche.)
As a blog writer, I find it frustrating to keep going, because there are so many other options out there. How do I differentiate myself and convince you to read my blog over all the others out there? If enough people start feeling that way, will many blogs start to go away?
I’m also thinking about corporate blogging, i.e. blogs on corporate or retail websites, and what that means for the blogging community. At the recent eTail Multi-Channel Retailer Conference, one of the speakers pointed out that although it seems every retailer is interested in and talking about blogs, only about 5% of retailers actually have them. It seems that while everybody is interested in the idea of using a blog to promote a company, few have decided to invest in it. This is actually somewhat encouraging to the future of blogging as a whole, as corporate blogging sort of misses the original point — which was always about regular people providing alternative content for web users to consume. If CNN blogs, it is still news from CNN, just in a slightly different format.
Lastly, what’s next? Eddie James is convinced video is the wave of the future, but I wonder if home movies will have the same appeal as the written word (it seems easier to write something compelling than to produce a quality video). Is there something that is just starting to develop that will be the next “blogging”?