Wednesday, 5 August 2015

IWSG - The Future of Blogging

It's the first Wednesday of the month and time for another installment of the Insecure Writers' Support Group. This is where we get to share our worries and concerns over all aspects of this crazy writing game and offer words of encouragement to others in the group. Go here to sign up!


This month, I am pondering the future of blogging as a social and marketing tool for writers. This is something I have heard mentioned a little bit recently. I took a short break while moving house, and when I came back, it didn't take too long to catch up - and indeed most days when reading my favourite blogs in my feed, it doesn't take long to get back to the posts I read the previous day, whereas it used to seem neverending.

Is blogging becoming less effective? There is a host of options these days for online interaction - the ubiquitous Facebook, Twitter, Google + (still need to figure this out), Instagram, Pinterest... I've probably missed a lot. Are many turning to these platforms to share information in a more time effective way? I get that we could reach readers (who are non-writers) more easily through these avenues and can see the value in them all. It has been a long time goal to conquer my mixed feelings towards Facebook and establish an author page. But with the constant barrage of short updates and tweets, spending too long on these sites can make my head spin. I'll always prefer the more in depth content that blogging offers.

Maybe it's just the summer slump, or do you think this is a general trend? Have you spent time focussing on other platforms apart from your blog? Do you still enjoy blogging?

53 comments:

Michelle Wallace said...

I interact on Facebook and Twitter, but I love my blogging (even though I've only blogged once a month since the end of the AtoZ Challenge)
Maybe it's the summer slump...

JeffO said...

I think the so-called Death of Blogging may have more to do with discoverability than lack of people blogging. People drop out. They decided they no longer want to do this, for whatever reason. AT the same time, new people are signing up and starting blogs, but you have to find them, they have to find you. It's not always easy.

Of course, I could be wrong. Blogging could be dying a long, slow death. I would be curious to see actual numbers from Blogger or Wordpress or somewhere.

Medeia Sharif said...

I find that I get more of a connection with others by blogging and posting on Instagram. I've built a rapport with some on Twitter, but Twitter is so fast that tweets easily get swallowed up by new ones.

Rachel Pattinson said...

I was actually wondering yesterday if the future of social media will have more to do with vlogging/Youtube instead of traditional blogging? There seems to be a lot of vloggers gaining attention in the press at the moment. I think people seem to like 'bite-sized' information more, or looking at more visual/interactive media such as Instagram, Tumblr, Youtube etc. I still love blogging and I won't be stopping any time soon - I did wonder about setting up my own Youtube channel but in all honesty, I find maintaining a blog and a Twitter feed hard enough!

Misha Gericke said...

From a pure marketing perspective, I think the time spent on ANY social network is a highly inefficient use of my time.

That said, the only sales where I can see a correlation with social media activities were (I think) as a result of my blog tour.

However, making sales isn't why I blog. I think that the people dropping out is in fact because they used to be told that it's THE WAY to sell a lot of books, but the truth is that it's much harder work than people expect, and they actually have to spend more time interacting on other blogs than they do on their own.

But Facebook doesn't even show our posts to more than 7% of our audience and twitter swallows it up. Google+... I have a big following there, but I simply don't have the time or inclination to create custom content that would attract attention to my posts.

So in the end, I think the best way to actually connect with people and be... (surprise!) social, is by blogging. Yes, it takes longer, but I think that there's more depth. And the people who are sticking to blogging are truly interested in finding out what's going on with you.

All the other places just feel like millions of people shouting things at each other without actually listening.

TBM said...

You raise an interesting question and I have noticed many of the bloggers I follow no longer post. Of course, I don't know what it means for the future. Right now, I'm waiting to see what happens.

Tara Tyler R said...

i agree - i think there's a shift to shrift!

short is the new long, and we must quip or quit

you inspired me to be witty! but seriously, i think we still need these articles, but we also need to get on the quickie sites to promote them with a cute blurb and/or picture... cute enough to make people stop by and read further! it's amazing how many people are vying for each other's attention and the ways we can do it! blogging is only as good as what you put into it and what you want to get from it.

happy hump day!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I still enjoy blogging - reading others' blogs, writing my own, etc. It feels like a conversation, a community, when done well. :)

Karen Walker said...

I am so with you on this one Nick. All I do is blog and Facebook. And I don't really post on Facebook. It's just to see what friends and family are up to.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

It has slowed in the past year, but I don't believe it will die. It does take a lot of time and I think people realize that now. It's why I only post once a week.
I am looking to expand to another social platform, just not sure which one...

Christine Rains said...

I do think blogging is losing some attention because it takes more time than writing a tweet. Yet those who like it will continue to do so. It's my number one tool and I will continue to love it too. :)

Shell Flower said...

I agree that blogging is still the best way to truly interact with folks on a deeper level than tweets, etc. It just doesn't seem to be the best for selling books, perhaps, but then I'm not sure Twitter is good for that either. I'm a of Goodreads.

betty said...

Blogging does seem to be slowing down from when I first started 10 years ago (gasp, that long ago!) A lot of people who had blogs then moved over to Facebook when it began. I like the friendships made through blogging and tend to keep Facebook for family. I think there will always be blogs, in fact I always say that when someone takes a blog break, blogs will always be waiting for them when they return. However, since I'm not a writer, not sure how relevant they will be for marketing strategies.

betty

Melissa said...

Because I can Facebook from my smartphone, I do interact there quite a bit. In fact, I have to remind myself that seeing my friends on there is not the same as visiting their blogs.

What I mean by that is: the sense of having communicated with them recently on other venues can make me feel like I'm doing enough on social media when I'm really not. I have to remind myself to log into Feedly and check blogs.

I've also been blogging less lately. Publishing a book while my kids were out of school was rough! I don't recommend it.

Nice to touch base with you. :)
IWSG #119 until Alex culls the list again.

Julie Flanders said...

I've been thinking about this same issue. And I can't deny that my interest in blogging has decreased and I find myself thinking about trying other venues. But I would never want to give up blogging entirely, I enjoy the interactions too much.
Still, I'm looking at trying Instagram and possibly Tumblr just to have more of a presence online.

jamieayres.com said...

I think with the digital age, blogging is still an effective tool, but there's a lot to compete with. I thought about changing the focus of my blog to target my readers more instead of writers. I don't get much traffic on my FB Author page, but I do on my personal page, and I think that, along with Twitter, does help with sales as I interact with people. Let us know if you find the secret formula :-)

Blogoratti said...

What wonderful thoughts. I seem to spend less time on social media and more on blogging and blogs. But social media is definitely relevant in terms of engaging with others. Greetings!

Kai Strand said...

I've heard the same thing about blogging. But I think it is more important that a writer use the medium they are most comfortable with to communicate with their readers. Even if blogging isn't 'in' your dedicated readers will take the time to find you there if they care to.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

There is definitely a summer slump. I don't know what to think about blogging. I enjoy it but it takes more time than twitter or facebook.
Susan Says

Crystal Collier said...

The trends I've seen the last couple years imply that there is always a summer slump. And a holiday slump in the winter. Bloggers come back. Those who don't, fizzle out. It's still a viable medium and will always be, but it's most effective when coupled with a few other social media resources. I prefer Twitter and Facebook, but we all have our favorites.

Birgit said...

I love blogging! Facebook has too many people where they put up what they did that day, or cute you-tube videos etc... I am not on twitter or anything else except google + which I have no idea much how to use. I will stick with blogging even though I am reading this constantly and takes up quite a bit of time:)

authorcgcoppola.com said...

I'm kind of stupid when it comes to social media, but I think I have the blogging thing down and I like reading other people's posts. It gives me a better sense of who they are rather than a quick tweet or checking out an instagram page. As far as blogging falling to the side... I think we live in an ever-changing world, especially with regards to social media. Do I think it'll go away anytime soon? Probably not. But there may still be some competition with other social platforms.

Nick Wilford said...

Michelle - Once a month is better than none! At least you are being consistent. A schedule is something I've never had.

Jeff - I think there will always be new bloggers, especially writers. It's still highly advised as the thing to do to build a platform, especially as it seems more personal. But I also think people are diversifying to other media as well.

Medeia - I've had some interactions on Twitter, but I've found it's a time investment just to find conversations to get involved in. It's not all that quick!

Rachel - I've noticed that trend but I really can't see myself as a vlogger! I'm uncomfortable with cameras, and of course I can do blogging with my pyjamas on and three days of beard... also, the ones I've heard of that become celeb vloggers are in areas such as fashion and other celebs, not exactly my scene!

Misha - I agree with what you are saying. Blogging really isn't a numbers game in terms of high sales, or even followers (since many can follow and then you never see them again), it's about having meaningful interactions. It's the same personal connection that I want with people who read my books, and a lot of other social media often appears superficial.

TBM - I definitely think it would be foolish to ignore other possibilities, but I'll continue blogging for as long as it's viable.

Tara - I've no problem with promoting my posts through Tweets! To hook readers, like you say, we definitely need to move beyond a brief interaction.

Madeline - It is definitely a great community. You can get to feel as if you know people, even if just a little bit.

Karen - I've been lurking on Facebook recently. It is something I would like to crack. I'm just not good at very brief updates (so Twitter is even more of a challenge!)

Alex - You are still doing a lot, even posting just once a week. I do think things feel more worthwhile if you put effort in. Like you, I am open to other avenues but I haven't made a leap yet.

Christine - Exactly, the people who like it are the ones who stick with it - it's hard to sustain something you're not passionate about.

Sarah Foster said...

Ha--I still need to figure out Google+, too! I think blogging does tend to slow down a bit in the summer. For me, I still like to blog all the time and it's my main focus, with Twitter coming in second.

Nick Wilford said...

Shell - It's definitely best for deep interaction. I don't think there is a golden answer on what sells books, especially with the dilemma of non-writers not being interested in posts about writing! Goodreads is my new thing, I've joined a few groups but only skimmed the surface so far. I'd definitely like to invest more time in that.

Betty - I hope there'll always be blogs - I do think people who aren't actively trying to promote something are more likely to be on Facebook, but then it is really a hard answer on what does work for marketing.

Melissa - Yeah, Facebook is definitely quicker - like, good for announcements or events. I think the best thing is to learn how we can best use everything.

Julie - I'm going to stick with blogging for the foreseeable future as like you, it's my favourite way to interact. As I don't have a phone (let alone a camera) and don't collect pics, I don't know what I'd do with Instagram!

Jamie - I think everyone has to find the formula that works for them. Reaching readers is one of the biggest challenges!

Blogoratti - I prefer blogging, but I'm trying to make time learning how to best use other media.

Kai - You do need to be comfortable with what you're doing, or it won't work effectively. Good point!

Susan - Things will pick up in the autumn, I'm sure!

Crystal - You're right about not putting all our eggs in one basket. After all, potential readers are less likely to peruse authors' blogs.

Birgit - I know, I'm not much of one for cute cat videos and all that jazz. There's too much of that!

CG - It's definitely best for getting a sense of who the writer is, which I like. It's unlikely to disappear soon, but we do need to move with the times.

J E Oneil said...

There does seem to be less blogging going on. But I think that it's still a useful tool to connect with other people. I've dabbled with other forms of social media, but I'll never give up blogging for them.

Bish Denham said...

I do use facebook, but probably not as effectively I could. I still haven't figured out what Twitter is good for although I use it from time to time. Even though blogging doesn't reach a whole lot of people, I still enjoy doing it and staying connected to all people who helped me get my books published. Without them, I would never have done it.

Juneta Key said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Happy IWSG Day.

I don't know that any of that stuff over the long haul is effective except in burst and moments. Write, Publish, Repeat and using keywords, SEO's and search engines to create those keywords appear to be tools of those I consider most successful in Indie so far.

So much information, it is just a matter of finding what works best for each individual, because someone has made all of it at one point and time work for them, lol.

In the end, I know nothing, but will do the best I can and make the choices that feel right for me I guess. I will continue to write, read and study the Indie publishing world.

Again, thanks for stopping by my blog, also Wesley Dean Smith and his wife Kathrine Rusch are also writer's I consider mentors. They have been at it for 30 years, traditional and Indie publishing.

Best of luck and success,
Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

Yvette Carol said...

I thought your post was refreshing. I had not caught up with this line of thought, however, I heartily agree. I used to manically try to read every single post by those I subscribe to. These days with less time on my hands, I skim read nearly everything, so what's the point?

emaginette said...

My blog is more for networking with other writers. I'm not sure how the building of a readership will work. I'm thinking of going to my favorite book bloggers for help in that department.

Anna from Elements of Writing

Samantha Dunaway Bryant said...

I still enjoy blogging. It's a place for my ideas that don't seem to fit anywhere else. Those life observations or witty moments that aren't enough to make a piece of fiction out of, but that still please me. The instant feedback is addictive, too. You can see how many people read it and, if they comment, what they thought. I didn't get that kind of instant feedback on my book!

Botanist said...

This is a question I've asked (and blogged about) in the past year or so. I've noticed a big slow-down both in my own blogging and those that I've followed for years. I still don't know if there really is an overall slowdown, or if it's simply that many individuals fall by the wayside and there's a load of new bloggers that I simply haven't connected with...

Raquel Byrnes said...

I totally agree with Jeff O about the discovery aspect of blogging. Its hard to be heard amid the river of other writers surging through the internet. I'm hoping consistency pays off. :)

Michael Pierce said...

Blogging does take up so much time--time I want to devote to writing stories. It's great for connecting with writers and learning from them, but I've found it hard to reach readers.

I like the idea of blogging, but I haven't found my real theme to provide consistent valuable content to my readers. I don't want to just have another blog rambling on about my life and general experiences. It's something I need to figure out at some point. Until then I'll keep coasting along so I don't lose what I've already created.

Carrie-Anne said...

It seems as though less people are blogging than they were 5–10 years ago. A number of bloggers I enjoyed reading and interacting with haven't posted anything in a long time, like over a year. It does seem as though other social networking sites are eclipsing the older forms, though I haven't signed up for sites like Instagram or Pinterest.

Shannon Lawrence said...

I'm really not sure where the best place to reach readers is. On Facebook, if you create a page, only a couple people see it. I enjoy blogging, but tend to get overwhelmed when trying to keep up, especially on weeks I blog three times. I should probably go to once per week, but I'm not quite sure how to juggle the things I do on different days yet. It needs to be more of a snapshot instead of the longer posts I do. I'm on Google+, but forget to post there. I do Twitter in spurts. I haven't tried Instagram or Tumblr or Pinterest (I'm on Pinterest, but I just went there to look at interesting post-apocalyptic photos for inspiration.) So I don't have an answer, but good luck on figuring this out!

Pat Garcia said...

Hi,
I love blogging although I haven't been blogging regularly. However, I have decided to finish setting up my system so that I can blog on all of my blogs every two weeks.

As for FB and Twitter and Google+ and all of the others social media avenues, I do find them time consuming so I've made up my mind to block off a time when I go on them and stick to it. I don't usually visit FB everyday, for example, and it takes me two to three days to answer my twitter because I limit it to three times a week.

Shalom,
Pat Garcia

Jennifer Hawes said...

This is such a good question. I think blogging takes away precious time that I should be writing/revising. I struggle with the commitment it takes to blog daily or weekly. Holy cow, once a month is a major undertaking! Ha! I prefer Twitter, short and sweet and to the point:-) But blogging is a must for writers.

Kristin Smith said...

This is a very good question. I haven't been as much into blogging lately because, like Jennifer said, it can take away time from writing and revising. It all seems like a lot to manage when you think of blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest. But I do love the blogging/writing community and all the support they give.

I guess one has to find a balance. I wish I could say that I'm consistent with all of these, but I'm not! I'll go through a Twitter phase, then maybe go back to blogging, then post some on Facebook, but consistency is where I'm lacking. I guess we just have to do what we can manage and not beat ourselves up about all the other "stuff." But yeah, I think it is a little easier to find people to connect with on Twitter.

Stephanie Faris said...

It's all about community. If you blog and just sit there, it's a waste of time. If you go out and find other people and read their blogs and support them, they'll support back when your book comes out. Most authors don't get that, but we all do! You can build a community on Twitter and Facebook, too--you just have to join groups and be active. I have membership in some FB groups to help...but it seems I get the most support here. I think it's because of IWSG and the great people Alex has brought together. We all have a spirit of helping each other.

S.K. Anthony said...

I've been wondering about this myself. I think Summer slump for sure contributes, but yes, people's attention span and time restrain are factors so other social media outlets seem to be busier than ever. No matter what though, I always come back to blogging. ;)

Chrys Fey said...

Blogging has slowed a bit but my blog is still my best tool. Far better than Facebook and Twitter combined. I don't think blogging will ever fully die.

cleemckenzie said...

I enjoy blogging because like you I want more of a connection than a funny picture or saying. From blogging I come to know a lot about a person and what's going on in their lives. I always find it interesting that I easily connect with some, but not others. Personality comes through the writing so clearly.

Patricia Lynne said...

I've seen articles from time to time about the death of blogging. Even if it goes out of style, I'll keep up with mine because it's a good way for me to keep people updated. That's what matters, what works for me in getting news to people. I may adapt to whatever new fad there is, but I enjoy blogging and it works for me.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

After ten years, I'm not about to give up blogging. I worked too hard to get to this point. Social media is shifting, but I don't see blogging dying. A little quieter, maybe, but it is still the best way to update a site.

Liz A. said...

I think blogging has passed its peak, but there are those of us still committed. As a way of finding new readers I don't think blogging is effective, but it's a great way to engaging readers who are already fans.

I hear Google + is on the way out. I read something about Google saying that they're pulling their support from it. But Facebook appears here to stay.

diedre Knight said...

I think it being summer might be a reason for the ebb. Much as I love blogging and reading blogs, I admit to not being quite as productive as I could otherwise be - grin! But I'm not complaining. I think it's a terrific tool for writers to share with and after all, writers must write! :-)

Deniz Bevan said...

I prefer blogging, too. I wouldn't be on FB if family didn't share photos there. But Twitter is lots of fun and great for research, too!

Mason T. Matchak said...

My blog and Twitter are the only online presence I have, so I'm going to stick with them for now. I like that the blog thing is mostly just to connect with other writers, and Twitter's a lot more open. It's working out well so far.

Cynthia said...

I come across slumps all throughout the year (e.g. right before holidays, weekends, etc...)

Although I'm on Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook (no author page yet though), I find that my blog is currently the best place for me for me to ramble in-depth about writing and interact directly with other writers.

While Twitter has served as a useful resource for me to learn about various things out there related to writing, I sometimes find myself more guarded in terms of what I post there.

Nick, I think you are a positive contributor to the writers blogosphere and I certainly hope you stick around.

Cynthia said...

I come across slumps all throughout the year (e.g. right before holidays, weekends, etc...)

Although I'm on Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook (no author page yet though), I find that my blog is currently the best place for me for me to ramble in-depth about writing and interact directly with other writers.

While Twitter has served as a useful resource for me to learn about various things out there related to writing, I sometimes find myself more guarded in terms of what I post there.

Nick, I think you are a positive contributor to the writers blogosphere and I certainly hope you stick around.

M Pax said...

I've cut back on blogging, but I still think it valuable. I change up how I use it at least once a year. It's geared much more toward audience at this point. Many of my readers confess they do read my blog, but they don't comment. Not like writers. I still consider blogging a very valuable networking tool.

I love Twitter. It's my poison of choice. :)

Ellie Garratt said...

It's a tough question. I haven't blogged much, or visited my blogging friends. When I'm pushed for time, it's the one thing that suffers. Perhaps I have my priorities wrong? I like Twitter. It's quick and easy, and can be a great way to interact with both writers and readers. But I dislike the amount of re-tweeting that goes on. When I follow someone on Twitter, I don't want to scroll through countless re-tweets to meet the real them.

If it wasn't for my writing group, I probably wouldn't bother with Facebook. While I like being able to follow what my friends are up to, FB have made it almost impossible for anyone to see author pages. I often find myself wondering what to post, but who really sees my posts anyway?