Is Your Personal Blog Dead? SXSW Recap

SXSW. WOW. Being back home after 5 days of traveling, stuffing our brains with new technology, debates about the future of design and interactive components, listening to some of our geek gods speak, meeting new people, exploring a bit of Austin, TX, and nights filled with way too many networking parties from which to choose...this mama needs a long nap!

Hubby and I are so thankful for the folks who attended our SXSW Core Conversation session


Topic Overview: on Sunday at 3:30 entitled Your Personal Blog Is Dead. We love debating this topic amongst our geeky selves, so it was quite a welcome change to be able to bring in a myriad of other opinions and experiences to the discussion. Here's a quick recap for those who missed it.Technorati recently reported that out of 133 million identified blogs, 94% have gone dormant within the past year (dormant is defined as having no new postings in last 120 days). Of the 6% (7.4 million) that posted in last 120 days, only 1.5 million of those were updated within last 7 days. Of the top 100 blogs listed on Technorati, only one could be categorized as a "personal blog;" the remaining 99 consisted of business or news blogs..

On the contrary, there are approximately 5 million "active" Twitter users and 175 million "active" Facebook users as of March 2009, up from 150 million Facebook users just five weeks ago.

Question posed: With the increasing number of new social media applications, increasing number of social media users, and with the declining number of active personal blogs, is the personal blog dying a slow death?

We did our own survey, and found that 50% of those surveyed (all of whom had personal blogs and were also active social media users) began posting less on their personal blogs after they started becoming active in the micro-blogging community (Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, etc).

Some interesting observations from the audience:
  • Some noted that with Twitter and Facebook, they no longer felt they needed to blog since they already got the thought/emotion out of their system by tweeting or updating from their phones while out and about, and didn't feel compelled to blog further about specific instances once they got to a computer, whereas before they would have.
  • Others noted that they enjoy using social media micro-blogging tools for getting quick thoughts out to the public, and then using their blogs to expand upon the thoughts that they see relevant to their readers.
  • Many noted that they utilize social media tools to broadcast links to their blogs and have thus gained greater traffic to their blogs thanks to social media.
  • One audience member noted that Twitter was, in some ways, more effective than a feed reader for her, and another audience member chimed in and agreed that she probably misses out on reading some blog posts she normally would have read through her feed reader because the author didn’t tweet a link or included in a Facebook update.

When does a personal blog become a business blog? For me, prior to this session, I felt that a personal blog could no longer be categorized as such when the majority of the blog focused on topics related more to business than to personal matters, or when the blog became highly monetized in a way that you would be required to limit your personal voice due to advertiser constraints.

However, this part of the discussion brought out the fact that many of the blogs written by audience members were, in fact, hybrid blogs: part personal, part business. As the number of entrepreneurs and freelancers increase in America, and as our work/life boundaries blend more, the hybrid blog is on the rise. In our audience, there were photographers, food lovers, designers who all had blogs, but considered them to be personal blogs because even though they might get paid within those industries, they were still topics that were very personal to them. So is it conceivable that the Personal Blog has morphed into the Hybrid Blog? That in fact, the personal blog is not dead, but is simply evolving?

There were many other points of discussion broached during our session, but in the end, there is no right or wrong. We are at an interesting chapter in the Personal Blog’s history. I don’t think that Twitter, Facebook and the like will kill the Personal Blog, but social media tools have certainly forced personal blogs to adapt, evolve, and grow in order to maintain audiences and hold interest in this age of the 140 character attention span. I also believe that there are and will always be an audience for blogs that never reaches into the social media sphere—those who will never become comfortable with the fast pace, short attention span, and limited word count forced upon them my micro-blogging tools. Yet keep in mind that this particular session was focused on use of social media’s affect on Personal Blogs.

For those of you who have personal blogs and also use social media applications, what do you think? Is your personal blog alive and well and how has it changed with your own use of social media? Do you blog less or more than you did before you started using Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, etc.?


AKBrady said...

This is exactly what I have been noticing as I morph into a FB freak. In fact, I have consciously been thinking "I'd better blog" b/c my readers who are not on FB, etc. will miss what is going on.

I also notice the hybrid concept, and added a second, business-related blog. But is that really the best? Or the hybrid? I'm not sure yet.

Great topic! I could use another seminar! Or, actually attending one :)

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Trenches of Mommyhood said...

We are a generation of instant gratification. With the advent of Facebook and Twitter, writing on my personal blog seems to be a bit more tedious. Although I haven't given it up yet!

Great recap!

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Liza's Eyeview said...

I may be a minority but I prefer spending time on my blog instead of FB. The only reason I am on FB because most of our church friends are in it and that's a way to connect with them.

My personal blog is still alive although it's becoming more of a "ministry". I started another blog which now I realize is a "hybrid" - this one i more of a business but I still incorporate a lot of personal stuff. The blog is called A Maui Blog :)

I love Twitter and use it to compliment my blogging They are a great combination.

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