My blog’s origin story is much like any other’s. It started as a place for me to share stories with friends and family six years ago, and my readership eventually grew to include people I don’t know personally that also engage with my content. Despite a shift in said content in 2020, it still primarily serves the same purpose. I come here weekly to biweekly to share stories, thoughts, and information and, over the last few months at least, I have actually seen increased engagement on this platform. Still, in my best Carrie Bradshaw voice, I couldn’t help but wonder what the true future of blogging is.
With the rise of TikTok, it is clear the wave of short-form content over the last few years is not slowing down anytime soon (or potentially ever). Though the ‘main’ social media platforms still have their own competitive advantages, seeing Instagram create Reels and Twitter give users the option to make stories has shown that the biggest war right now is who can make the most interesting content in a minute or less–bonus points if it’s in a video format, though none of these platforms can hold a candle to the innovation that Vine users had, in my personal opinion. But we also can’t forget about the threat of the podcast. I remember everybody and their mom was trying to make a podcast in 2018 because, much like audiobooks, it has given us the option to listen to long-form content handsfree while also feeling like we’re chatting with friends (depending on the style of the podcast). There are a lot of factors that contribute to these forms of media being favorable to blogs: our declining attention span due to technology overload, the aging of Gen Z, the aesthetic appeal of visual content, and us being in quarantine and needing constant stimulation. However, where does blogging fit in?
Many people are optimistic about the longevity of blogging. Though blogs continue to be challenged as credible sources due to its use of personal bias, many bloggers take the time to include their own references and statistics when sharing viable information. Not to mention, it’s seemingly much faster to go to a blog and follow a source from there for more information than the hassle that is now incorporated into most ‘credible’ websites. In an article I read about the future of blogging, the author, Fabrizio Van Marciano, writes, “Yes, social media has changed the way we communicate…but not enough to entirely replace blogs. There was thought once that apps could replace websites. That hasn’t happened, and I don’t think it will ever happen, simply because it is not practical.” Bias aside, I can agree with this. I cannot recall the last time I opened Forbes, Business Insider, or even The Dallas Morning News without being bombarded with ads, video pop-ups, and then–before I can even get through the second sentence of the article–I am being asked to pay money to read the remaining 247 words.
With blogs, the most you have to worry about is ads; further, blogging is much better and easier to communicate a specific voice, despite that being its primary barrier for true credibility. With the popularity (and arguably dependence) on social media and audio platforms, I think this demonstrates precisely what people want. Engagers of all media are more interested in others’ honest opinions and imaginations rather than being buttoned up and ‘playing by the rules.’ Of course, that can pose major problems for the spread of accurate information (e.g. Trump’s entire presidency), however, it is obviously nice to have that privilege and freedom to speak from the heart.
I guess like any platform, there is always a point of threat and safety. It’s what pushes everyone to keep innovating. Blogging may not have the “sex appeal” of other platforms, but it can incorporate all the things we look for from other platforms. You can infuse short-form content onto a blog, but it doesn’t work the other way around. Blogging is a hybrid platform of the visual, the variety, and the voice. Plain and simple, blogging will always have a little bit of real estate in the world of content creation. What do y’all think is the future of blogging? What are some changes you expect or hope for? Let me know in the comments!