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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Blogging's Definitely Not Dead. The Conversations Surrounding it Seem to Be.

Today was an unprecedented day on StayNAlive.com. I saw more traffic in one day than this blog used to get in an entire week. It was thanks to this article (the traffic was certainly unexpected, but I knew it was news, so I tipped Techmeme to let the world know what I discovered). It started with a bunch of you retweeting the article, and soon I was the top article on Techmeme. In the same day I ended up on the front page of HackerNews (currently article 2), and got retweeted by notables with an incredible retweet following such as Scoble, adding to the attention. By the end of the day, at least as I currently write this (with one hour still to go), I have 919 retweets of that one article, 122 likes on Facebook, and a total of almost 21,000 visitors. It was the perfect storm. It was traffic and attention I've never received before.

Yet one thing struck me. Despite all this traffic and all the attention this post had gotten, none of it happened as a result of conversations in the blogosphere. According to Techmeme, not a single blog wrote about this news today - it was all spread via Twitter, Facebook, Buzz, and other social mediums. In addition to the traffic that post generated, the way it spread too was unprecedented. I'm beginning to realize the conversation is moving away from the blogosphere and into the social ecosystem.

When I started realizing the power of blogging, it used to be all about links. I found out that if a person wrote about something interesting, if I continued that conversation on my blog and linked back to them they would notice, and could respond back to me. The entire conversation happened around blogs, and links between blogs. It can still happen that way if you want to get attention for your blog - I still encourage it. This is called a "Meme". It's because of this that TechMeme was formed, and it organized headlines based on links between blogger conversations. It was a great way to determine the popular news of the day.

If you look at Techmeme today though, look at my article - nothing but Twitter conversations linked to the post. The top story on Microsoft earnings only has Twitter conversations attached. I see 2 blog conversations on the second headline, and only one blog conversation on the third headline. You used to see up to 10 to 20 blog conversations for each article on Techmeme. If Techmeme is any indicator, it would seem that the conversation, via blogs, is going away, and instead moving towards mediums such as Twitter. Maybe that's why Techmeme added Twitter conversations as added related content.

Notice there are only Twitter handles in this Meme
As I wrote earlier, the concept of "subscribing" is dying in favor of a more "follow"-based model. We see trends such as today's realization that Twitter and Facebook have removed the visible RSS Feed links from their sites and in some cases completely. People are simply moving their conversations to more short-form conversations and into the cloud of social network ecosystems. It's easier to do it that way. The conversations via blogs, and the links that go with those, have gone in favor of short-form messaging. No wonder Google is scared.

Is the blog dead? Certainly not. As you notice, on Techmeme all the headlines are still blogs (although you will get an occasional, monumental "Tweet"). Blogging still remains the single best way to get out a strong, long-form message and have everyone (for the most part) understand what you're trying to get across. The blog still makes a big statement and should not be abandoned. It's the conversation that is moving away from the blogosphere. The "Meme" has moved towards Social Networks, and perhaps that's a good thing.

Maybe today is just an off day but I'm seeing a trend here.

I'd like to know - where have you moved your conversations? If you blogged before, do you still continue conversations on your blog, or have you moved them to Twitter and Facebook? I'm willing to bet I can guess what your answers will be.

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