The future of blogging

July 8th, 2014

I don’t know what the future of blogging is. I go back and forth between feeling that the glory days are long over to feeling that the best is yet to come.

Some think that today’s social web, while it has stifled blogging tremendously, will still end up providing some value to independent blogs in the future.

Somewhat recently Dave Winer at the tail end of I know what a blog is:

One more note, blogging is under pressure for a variety of other reasons. A lot of people started doing it thinking it would make them money. Those people have exited. Facebook is giving bloggers a tough choice. You get more engagement on Facebook. But you own your words on your blog, and you create a record. I hope that at some point we can work something out with Facebook to have the best of both worlds at all times. So blogging can prosper and people can have all the engagement that Facebook can provide. A real win-win is possible here. I‘m hopeful.

We see this happening, a bit, with the IndieWeb. People like Tantek Çelic and Jeremy Keith are tacking on features to their own sites to bring things like tweets and photos onto their own blogs.

I used to think this was the solution too. That if blogs had decentralized features like follow, like, and if “tweeting” (or microblogging) from your own site resulted in that content being shared on networks like Twitter that we’d be able to keep track of more of our own data and information while still taking advantage of the level of engagement we see on these networks. But I’m starting to think this isn’t a solution that will lead us to where we want to go.

Blogging became blogging because it made writing on the web approachable to just about everyone. Yes, there were geeks like myself that were willing to do just about anything to have a proper blog (I remember copy/pasting XML blocks every single time I published a new post in the late-90s). But, by-and-large, the reason why blogging “took off” was because just about anyone could have a journal or blog in a matter of minutes.

The same is true today for a Facebook profile, LinkedIn profile, Twitter account, etc. Within minutes, you can be set up and publishing.

The IndieWeb feature-set is great but which of the larger blogging platforms will go through the trouble of adding these features by default? Even if an independent developer were to create plugins for WordPress, which runs 20-something-percent of the top million sites, a novice won’t install them or even find them. They’d have to be built directly into the software and, probably even moreso, be on by default on WordPress.com.

I’m glad Winer is hopeful that we’ll see some sort of “best of both worlds” scenario but I’m simply not so sure. And as of today, I have no idea what the future of blogging is.