Jason Kottke, writing for Nieman Journalism Lab:
The design metaphor at the heart of the blog format is on the wane as well. Ina piece at The Atlantic, Alexis Madrigal says that the reverse-chronological stream (a.k.a. The Stream, a.k.a. The River of News) is on its way out. Snapchat, with its ephemeral media, is an obvious non-stream app; Madrigal calls it “a passing fog.” Facebook’s News Feed is increasingly organized by importance, not chronology. Pinterest, Digg, and an increasing number of other sites use grid layouts to present information. Twitter is coming to resemble radio news as media outlets repost the same stories throughout the day, ICYMI (in case you missed it). Reddit orders stories by score. The design of BuzzFeed’s front page barely matters because most of their traffic comes in from elsewhere.
I suggest you read the entire post so that you can see how Kottke has reached the conclusion that the blog is dead. And of course, he’s right. The blog of today looks dead. But don’t bury it just yet because it may just be sleeping.
Me, in late-2011:
I believe the blog format is ready for disruption. Perhaps there doesn’t need to be “the next” WordPress, Tumblr, or Blogger for this to happen. Maybe all we really need is a few pioneers to spearhead an effort to change the way blogs are laid-out on the screen.
That, of course, is only one small problem facing the blog. As I see it there is another, more important, problem to solve; a way to connect the blogosphere.
A set of protocols or standards will need to come along to help connect all publishing platforms together. The incredibly useful features we find inside of networks like Twitter will need to find their way out onto the world wide web. This means bringing actions like following or subscribing, mentioning, citing, link previewing, etc. to the independent web and have them be completely separate from any single service.
By the way, “independent web” generally refers to the web at large regardless of how you choose to publish content on it. Whether you use Barley CMS, Tumblr, Squarespace, or your own hand-written content management system you’re publishing onto the web and not into a silo like Facebook where content is generally not shared outside of its walls.
Connecting the independent web together is what IndieWebCamp is aspiring to help facilitate. They believe people should own their own data and be allowed to publish content anywhere and it would then be able to be distributed anywhere. The advantages to using Facebook should be brought out onto the web. There should be no real disadvantage to using one platform or another. In fact, there should be an advantage to using your own platform rather than those of a startup that could go out of business at any moment.
A good example of this in action are Web Mentions. Like Twitter’s @replies a Web Mention allows one URL to notify another URL that it mentioned it. They are the 21st Century’s Pingback. Jeremy Keith has a good explanation of how to implement them.
Would having a better way to discover a blog’s content from any of its pages, as well as a well-supported set of web protocols help bring the blog back from the dead? Maybe.