Some of the common questions I encounter when I talk to friends and colleagues about blogging are ...
- Do you think there will be a consolidation of the blogosphere?
- Aren't there too many blogs out there on similar topics?
- With more social media sites and micro blogging tools, doesn't it make blogging redundant and pointless?
- As young Bloggers grow older will they abandon their blogs as they grow out of that phase?
Some of the reasons why I feel blogs will keep going strong
1. Personal expression: I have no doubt in my mind that people will keep generating content as long as the internet lives. People have always wanted to express themselves and present their thoughts and opinions and this is not going to change. E.g. Personal blogs that could cover conversations regarding parenting, growing up, travel, medical conditions, overcoming adversity etc.
2. Stories not covered or ignored by mainstream media: There will always be topics and stories that will never be covered by mainstream media for variety of social and political reasons. The mainstream media still scratches the surface when it comes to covering events and real life situations. E.g. of this being citizen journalism covering contentious topics on race, sexuality, religion, politics, white collar crimes, social stigmas and issues etc.
3. Show case personal talent: Blogging serves as a great avenue for people to show case and give a preview of their skills and talent. E.g. Writers blog, Musicians blog etc.
4. Building Personal brands: Maintaining a blog helps entrepreneurs, consultants and professional to have a certain competitive edge in their respective fields. It helps establish credibility and brings more visibility to them, making them more sell able in the competitive environment. E.g. Professional blogs that give a preview of the Bloggers professional expertise like marketing, medicine, cars, small business etc
5. Social Causes and non profit Fund Raising: It's a 'no brain'er' that blogging and non profit industry go hand in hand. Blogging helps generate awareness and brings attention to the cause of the lesser known and the under privileged in our societies.
6. Evangelistic blogs: Use of blogging to spread the word of God is another under utilized part of the blogosphere. As more individuals get on to the internet and with lesser time for their spiritual growth, blogging will play a pivotal role in this sphere. E.g. blogs maintained by clergy, pastoral staff or even people who have experienced God's abundance in their lives. 7. Keeping in touch with customers: Lastly use of blogs as a communication vehicle to reach customers with corporate vision, product info, customer support and marketing messages. E.g. Corporate blogs, affiliate blogs etc.
Some key Points to note1. Blogs will be just one pillar and piece of the puzzle in the maze called the internet. Organizations and individuals will use blogging in conjunction with other social media tools like micro blogging, social networking, websites, podcasts etc to keep their message alive on the internet. Blogging as I call it will be the base station and all the rest being complimenting technologies
2. Does that mean everyone should have a blog? No. Why start something that you probably will end eventually. Though blogging has its stated advantages if done wrongly can be counter productive. People keep forgetting that whenever they hit the submit button on the internet they are essentially publishing something. An abandoned blog doesn't speak highly of the author irrespective of the category of the blog.
3. Does frequency of a post matter? Yes and No. If the blog is maintained as a journal or a portfolio of skills then frequency of posts can be lesser. You rather have great quality of infrequent post than have sub standard filler content on your blog. But if you are making a living of blogging and your next assignment depends on fresh content being put on your blog then frequency matters. But it still doesn't give you the right to put up sub standard content.
4. Credibility is more important than popularity unless you're in it for a fast buck. If it's not your view or experience and it's a cut paste then don't bother. You can by all means be controversial, but remember it has consequences. If you're building a blog as a pillar to support your business or career then be less controversial and be balanced.
5. The success and failure rate of a blog is the same if not better or worse than any other enterprise one may take in their life. If you think that it's an easy way to make money then you probably don't have the right objective in mind. 6. If you're a young blogger and intend to keep a personal blog for a long period of time then I suggest you maintain time stamps and archives on the blog. Any change of opinions or thought process must be documented in newer posts you make. It's ok to change opinions and show you have grown up but it's important to document it so that people don't judge your present character or capabilities by your opinions in the distant past. What you are today is not what you were necessarily before and everybody can accept that.