Is blog reading dead?

There was a bit more context to the question, but a friend recently asked me:

What you do think? Is Blogging dead?

I think blogging the way it used to work is (mostly) dead. Back in the day, we had a bunch of blogs and people who subscribe to them via email and RSS feeds. Over time, the way people read and how they get their information has definitely changed. That’s not to say though that I don’t think there are blog readers anymore.

Some have definitely moved over to podcasts and vlogs. Personally, I have a tough time with podcasts and audiobooks. I much prefer to read, so I still prefer long form reading. At the same time, I like articles that I can scan, or pick the sections I want to read.

As a result, I’ve somewhat modified the way I write blog posts in order to fit the change in reading style that I think is common in digital format. I try to break up text into small paragraphs, and make fairly liberal use of headings.

How blog posts are found has also changed. According to WordPress, I got 1 email subscriber 2 years ago, 1 subscriber 3 years ago, and that’s it in the last 4 years. Even WordPress followers have been scarce, but from what I can tell, there are still a decent number of views from RSS feeds, and some from social media as well.

Admittedly, most of the views I get are from people Googling for certain things and finding my “tutorial” type blog posts, or sometimes I see a small peak from conference notes. Interestingly, the ones that have the longest and shortest “longevity”.

I don’t blog nearly as much as I used to though. One of the reasons I wrote a lot of tutorials in the past is because they didn’t exist or the less generic version was stuck in some private wiki/intranet/word doc/etc. Now, most of what I do is either “transactional” (answering questions and troubleshooting specific user cases) or it’s public.

Blogging through has always been a “selfish” activity for me. It’s a place for me to write things down, whether tutorials, conference notes, or exercises of reflection (such as this one). It’s a place for me to store my writing regardless of whether other people read it. It’s an easy way for me to share a story without having to re-tell it to everyone.

It’s great when I hear people find something useful or like a piece (by the way, thanks for reading my post!) but at least for me, I don’t think the existence of blog readers is required for me to continue.

Author: Cynthia

Technologist, Librarian, Metadata and Technical Services expert, Educator, Mentor, Web Developer, UXer, Accessibility Advocate, Documentarian

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