Do We Actually Read Blogs Anymore?
It was recently reported that tumblr was proving to be more popular than Facebook amongst the 13-25 demographic, as well as introducing ‘real-time notification updates’, proving itself to be a real contender to Twitter, Facebook, and most importantly, blogging platforms.
Y’see, though it clearly has the capability to run as a fully-fledged blogging platform, it typically runs as a microblog. This is thanks to a strong community of tumblr users, frequent updates and ease of re-blogging.
There was a time when everyone and their dog had a blog on the web – some went on to enjoy great successes and become influential figures in their respective industries, but most, inevitably, were abandoned and became relics of a sudden bout of ambitious productivity. The most common reason for any blog being abandoned is simply lack of motivation and willingness to put the effort in – tumblr solves this by making it ridiculously easy to add content, whether original or re-blogged from another blog, but we’ll get onto that in a bit.
It’s an undeniable fact that the most popular content on the web is imagery; whether in the form of GIFs, memes or cat pictures, images are everywhere, making a 500 word blog post thoroughly unappealing to read (yeah, the irony is not lost here). The internet user is progressively becoming fickler and desiring of ‘quick fixes’ – since 2000, the average attention span of an internet user has dropped from 12 seconds to 8.
Add to this is the fact that browsers will only read 49% of the words on web pages with 111 words or less, and 28% of the words on a page with 593 words – waffling content just simply won’t fly anymore. You need to hook your reader in the first sentence, or chances are, they’ll have already left – hence the ever-increasing density of sensationalist blog titles like “You Won’t Believe What Apple Have Done Now!” and any old tut you might read on MGID and similar sites.
All of this has inevitably led to the rising popularity of micro-blogging and with it, Twitter. But Twitter only offers so much – whilst we may get an occasional quick fix, it’s not readily accessible and requires filtering through to actually find the entertaining tidbits. And then there’s Tumblr.
Tumblr, for the unaware, is the holy grail of memes, fandoms and general cuteness – seemingly taking the best aspects of sites like reddit, imgur and WordPress and mashing them into an attention-span, never-ending stream of targeted content. Genius. And it’s quickly gained traction…
Here’s the search trends for Blogger (blue) and WordPress (red) since 2004…
And when you chuck in Tumblr (yellow), you get…
Heck, just chopping it down to ‘blog’ (Green) shows Tumblr to be a more popular recent search term…
A growing number of companies have embraced the tumblr platform for their business blog; however as a development platform, WordPress seems to be one of the most popular. Simply, whilst tumblr is ridiculously easy to use, WordPress offers considerably more customisation and messing around – but whether people will actually put in the effort to read a blog post anymore is debatable.
Combine this with the fact that many authors lack the motivation and attention span to sit down and write a full post and it all points to the conclusion that blogging is dying. It’s not even about having that personal space on the web where you can post your insights, opinions and thoughts – social media has that firmly covered. And with it, there’s an over-saturation of short Facebook updates, 140 character tweets and blogs comprised solely of images that has not only made authors lazier, but also their respective readers.
Compelling content has always been a mainstay of the web, but it is increasingly going to rely on design, sensationalism and the conveyance of the message within the first 30 seconds/2 lines.
Or quite simply,
Microblogging is the new standard and refined content is king.