If you following the public debate about technology on the web, it is very likely that you at least once have stumbled over an article, tweet or comment claiming that blogs are slowly disappearing, and eventually might die. A seemingly obvious argument that would support this theory is the appearance of a huge number of ways for users to publish their thoughts and opinions. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest are growing rapidly and are often being seen as the easier and quicker way for publishing of text and personal media.
And while that might be true in some cases, recent statistics from Nielsen/McKinsey research company NM Incite show that despite the increasing number of competing publishing platforms and the huge amount of time users spend on social media sites, the number of blogs is continuing to grow.
In October 2011, NM Incite tracked over 173 million blogs around the world as source of buzz. At the end of the year, that number had risen to 181 million. In 2006, the company only tracked 36 million. As the graph shows, this growth has been steady, with no slowdown during the past two years, when social media exploded.
So everybody who still thinks blogging has no future should rethink that statement. But what’s certainly going to happen is a fragmentation of the blogging landscape in terms of which platforms and technologies are being used. Just look at Google+ where some users post extensive texts. That might not be blogging in the traditional sense because no typical blog CMS is used, no pingbacks are being sent and no layout customization is possible. Nevertheless it doesn’t seem right to claim those users aren’t blogging just because they do it within a social network.
The NM Incite stats offer some additional insights into who bloggers are: The majority is female and half of all bloggers are aged between 18 and 34. Furthermore, bloggers are well-educated and active social web users – no real surprise here. In the US, the three biggest blog platforms Blogger, WordPress and Tumblr reach 80 million unique visitors per month.
So yes, blogging will evolve and change, and some users might even leave their old-fashioned blog in favour of a better connected social-media-site. But the need for people to express won’t be affected by that. We don’t know which platform they will use in 2, 5 or 10 years. But there is one thing we know for sure: They won’t stop publishing online.