It has again been suggested that blogging is allegedly out of fashion. A New York Times story cites the Pew Center’s Internet and American Life Project that blogging is declining particularly among young people, who are using social networks such as Facebook instead. So, there you go. Blogging is dead…
But, wait a minute! The actual story said something quite different: even according to the figures used by the New York Times itself, blogging activity is actually increasing, not decreasing. And as the story points out, plenty of young people are still blogging via the Tumblr platform, even though they may not think of it as “blogging.” What blogging is really doing is evolving.
It is reported that blogging among those aged 12 to 17 fell by half between 2006 and 2009 according to the Pew report, BUT among 18 to 33-year-olds it ONLY dropped by two percentage points in 2010 from two years earlier — which isn’t exactly a huge decline. And among 34 to 45-year-olds, blogging activity ROSE by six percentage points. While blogging might not be working for young people, it very well might be serving our peers in ministry. And, while the Blogger platform has shown a slight decline (2%) recently in the U.S. (is 2% a death knell?), it’s global traffic climbed by 9 percent.
Facebook and Twitter have been accused of being blogging killers, but, actually, both Facebook and Google+ have added the ability to do long-form writing inside a social network. While Facebook and Twitter may have led others away from blogging because they are so fast and easy to use, but they have also both helped to reinforce blogging in many ways.
Toni Schneider of Automattic — the corporate parent of the WordPress publishing platform (which is what this site uses) — noted in the NYT piece, is that what blogging represented even four or five years ago has evolved into much more of a continuum of publishing. People post content on their blogs, or their “Tumblrs,” and then share links to it via Twitter and Facebook; or they may post thoughts via social networks and then collect those thoughts into a longer post on a blog. Blog networks such as The Huffington Post get a lot of attention, but plenty of individuals are still making use of the longer-form publishing abilities that blogs allow.
So what we really have now is a multitude of platforms: there are the “micro-blogging” ones like Twitter, then there are those that allow for more interaction or multimedia content like Facebook, and both of those in turn can enhance existing blogging tools like WordPress and Blogger. And then there is Tumblr, which is like a combination of multiple formats. The fact that there are so many different choices means there is even more opportunity for people to find a publishing method they like. So while “blogging” may be on the decline, personal publishing has arguably never been healthier.
This blog is not the old form of a personal diary on line (although you still get hints of that in half a column on Mondays.) This blog is about personal publishing and CONTENT SHARING, as is CatholicYouthMinistry.com and CatholicYouthWork.com and RealMinistry.org and Marathon Youth Ministry (which, sadly, has been hassled with tech issues of late) Websites that are consistent sharing content about our field are essential and valuable. Please add in the comments below one or two links (the spam filter will catch it if there are too many) to sites that you find meet this expectation and share that Catholic youth ministry blogging is actually alive and well. (h/t to Matthew Ingram)