Blogging and Facebook: Long Live the Blog!

Is Blogging Dead? No, not really!

Yesterday I tweeted the following, “Have @facebook pages had their day? Feels worn out to me now. I don’t have as much enthusiasm for my page any more.” I didn’t expect a response, because to be honest, many of my tweets are like farting into the wind, quickly gone and as quickly forgotten. However, friend and fellow artist Shayla Maddox responded, and we had, what was for Twitter anyway, a longer than usual conversation about social networking and blogging.

It was my assertion, that whilst I was as active as ever on my own personal profile, given that’s where my friends and family are all gathered together, I was losing enthusiasm for my Facebook page, despite having over 2,700 followers. In truth, I got more comments, likes and activity on there two years or so ago when I had about 100o followers. Now, in part I think this is down to the mercurial drive of Facebook to squeeze every last dollar out of it’s members, and making it harder and harder for pages to be a useful business tool, unless they pay up, and in fact…businesses are waking up to this. I also think that people are just plain bored with them.

Shayla agreed, and also queried the validity of blogging. I maintained however, that blogging was still valid, and that now I read more blogs than ever, particularly artist, designer blogs and art zines, from where I draw much of my inspiration. I believe more now than ever, that blogging is still a crucial business tool, and the most effective way to promote and maintain a strong web presence.  Not only that, but blogging (as its constitutes ‘dynamic content’) drives traffic to your site, improves your SEO, as search engines are actively looking for new content.  Traffic to my own site continues to grow, with unique IP visits averaging from 700 to over a 1000 a day (that’s not hits, numbers which beggar belief sometimes) and the majority of the traffic comes via my RSS feed. However, that doesn’t mean to say that trends haven’t changed, because they have.

My own view is, that people now favour image led web content, and the success of both Pinterest and Instagram give weight to that. Last night I did some research online about current social networking trends, looked at a lot stats and articles, and my findings proved I was right. I also spent time researching attitudes to blogging, and the results were interesting. I found two good articles that dealt with the issue of blogging and its popularity (Is Blogging Dead and Five Reasons why Blogging is not Dead or Dying), both of which make good cases for the fact that active blogging is still popular and important, but that peoples tastes have changed, and what constitutes interesting content.

Blogs that appeal to me the most, are the ones that have a lot of image content. For me the picture tells the story. I like to see colour, form, texture. I like posts that are upbeat and inspire me. What I am not interested in, is angst driven, earnest and worthy blog posts, and people whining about their lot. Sorry, harsh I know, but that’s how I feel.

In my research for articles and posts about blogging popularity, I did come across a lot of posts from people maintaining that blogging was dead. However, the bulk of them were from people complaining how their blogs used to be ‘so popular’, but that ‘stats were down’, and ‘people don’t comment anymore’.  Sadly, the majority of posts making these statements didn’t feature content or stories that were very inspiring or interesting. So, hardly surprising.

As for myself. Well, I  know that I don’t blog a lot about personal issues, but that is because I am quite a private person, and don’t feel comfortable with sharing my personal and intimate details on the web. However, that doesn’t mean to say that I shouldn’t make more effort to talk about more meaningful issues and subjects, rather than just posting pretty pictures and my latest creative projects. Promoting debate, and talking about the things that are meaningful and important to me, is a valid exercise for which I need to make more effort to undertake.

Do I care if people comment as much as they used to? No. As I said, traffic continues to grow. I do in fact, get emails from people telling me how much they like my blog. Perhaps I should take a leaf out of other artits’s books and switch off the commenting feature altogether. But, I probably wont, because I like people to have the option to have their say, voice an opinion, or provide feedback if they wish to do so.

So, with that in mind, long live the blog!!

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About Lorrie Whittington

Hi there, welcome to my journal, and thanks for reading my post. I love to make contact with other creatives, so do please leave a comment. I am also founder and co-editor of ArtJunky.net.

16 thoughts on “Blogging and Facebook: Long Live the Blog!

  1. Hi Lorrie,

    I’ve recently started experimenting with longform writing over on Tumblr (http://alanralph.tumblr.com), having followed several good longform Tumblogs over the last year. Despite being perceived as primarily picture-oriented, Tumblr is actually pretty good at written content. I’m not looking into blogging on a more regular basis, both for my own enjoyment and to promote myself.

    The big problem I see with Facebook (and Google+ to some extent) is that both longform writing and direct links to external sites are discouraged – longform writing gets a cut line through it if it’s deemed too long, and external links cannot be easily configured for best appearance. Image-centric posts are favoured, leading to an internalisation of content inside the walls of the social network.

    I’m currently scaling back my Facebook usage, mainly because of the inability to easily keep track of things I’m interested in. The news feed doesn’t always show all updates, and interest lists are too easy to overlook. Ironically, the combination of Twitter and a good software client now allows me to see at a glance what’s new, without being swamped.

    1. Hi there Alan..

      I am not personally a fan of ‘longform’ writing. I will tell you why. Whilst I have read some very good and interesting ‘longform’ blogs and articles, I think there is a tendency towards length over quality from ‘longform’ proponents, simply so they can claim to have fulfilled the criteria. I am not averse to reading lots of text, as long as the content is engaging rather than a long and turgid disquisition.

      As for Facebook. Whilst all my friends and family are there I will continue to be a regular. To ensure I see the posts of close friends and family is to use the filters and labels, and mark close friend and family as such, so I don’t miss their stuff. I don’t love facebook to be sure, but until there is something better, there I will remain. I did however try and drastically prune how many pages I follow, and think I got it down to about 500 ;)

      Btw, following your tumblr blog now. Thanks for commenting Alan, input and feedback always appreciated.

      Lorrie x

      1. Lorrie, you’re correct that not all longform writing is necessarily good writing. I myself prefer to keep it relatively short and sweet, no huge text walls, and not waffle. If an article is very long, I will probably not read all of it, no matter how nice the graphics interspersed in it.

  2. There were many interesting points made in this article and I thank you heartily for them. I am writing a white paper at the moment and have been immersed in this kind of content for weeks.There are a few observations I wish to make. Firstly the model is changing. Facebook bores me senseless. It has lost its way, people don’t want to keep paying and the news feeds are just plain weird. I have a facebook business page and cannot be bothered to even begin it. I am not going to bother. However, saying that there are some really interesting new initiatives and curated content is a big one. Think about it. With the internet almost reaching saturation with ‘how to articles’ and the like what it now needs is clever curation so you get what you want and need without wasting time looking for it.

    There is a new model entitled social blogging, check out http://www.glipho.com and that is changing the landscape too. Guest posting, which I actively encourage and participate in, encourages the creative link juice and hopefully we can pass facebook by with a so long, it’s been nice, but we have both changed.

    1. Hi there Vivienne..

      I agree with many of your points about Facebook. I used to find much of it boring, but then I carefully pruned my friends list a long time to ago to only include people I am genuinely friends with and my family. I apply filters to ensure that I am seeing content from those who count. I don’t use my personal profile to network but to keep in touch with my own community. But, I am definitely following too many pages and need to do something about that as I am seeing too much content in my feed that doesn’t interest me.

      As for curated content and guest blogging etc. I run an art and design magazine called ArtJunky.net which is contributor led, and I think makes for more interesting reading that just one person’s point of view all the time.

      I will have a look at Glipho.com, thanks for the link and thanks also for the feedback.

      1. You are most welcome. If you like you can promote your art magazine for free on my new site – which is so new it is still in its pyjamas. However it will be linked to the writing retreat site which gets around 1100 unique visitors a day. If you would like to send me a 300 word+ piece about the magazine and a stunning image (which won’t be a problem for you I know lol) I would love to include it. We so want to promote all things creative and it’s all free, so there’s nothign to lose.
        http://www.publicitypresshere.com (go to blog sorry a bit bald but we are adding all the time – which is what I must do right now. I have loved seeing your output on my Facebook feed btw. Kind regards Vivienne

  3. Thanks for an interesting article. My facebook page still works well for me with regards to interaction, keeping in touch with fans and some direct sales too. I’ve been slowly learning about what types of facebook posts generate more interaction such as inspirational quotes, questions/surveys and pictures of my work. Links to my shop or my blog get a lot less attention. I wish I could find a way to give my blog more attention but I find facebook quicker and easier. I’m thinking that if maybe I start using my blog similarly to how I use my page i.e. quick, easy posts that are visually interesting and/or imparting useful information then maybe I can regenerate it! Thanks for the inspiration :-)

    1. Hi there Stacey..

      I read your comments about how you use your facebook page with interest. Perhaps I need to rethink how I use my page, and what content I put on there. I have over the years experimented. Images used to get lots of traffic, but now mostly due to Facebook’s Edgerank algorithm, even images get little traffic unless they are from instagram, which isn’t surprising. Interestingly I have noticed that new pages get more traffic than older and more established ones, not sure why that is.

      As for blogging. Yes, go for more images and don’t worry about writing lots. Genine’s blog gets loads and loads of traffic and she very rarely writes more than a few lines, her content is all image led.

      Thanks for stopping by and the input hun..

      Lorrie x

  4. Your post is making me miss the heyday of Livejournal. A community of bloggers where it was easier to find people who were interested in what you had to say and share. :)

    I think what we may actually have is a crisis of what is it all for. A crisis of purpose and meaning. What is Facebook these days? Is it personal or for businesses? Is it odd to have the two overlapping like this? We have this major social hub with all these people, but what is it actually for? All the pies that it’s into would be better off with dedicated sites driving them and not with them trying to jam it all into the cluttered FB interface. Using Facebook to log in to other sites and using it to share things is a great idea (it gives you one simple identity) but trying to do everything on there is, I think, turning out to be bad for communication. It’s trying to be everything in one place but actually kind of failing at it. It’s no longer just fun and interacting with friends. Am I going there to interact with friends, or to be advertised at? Is it a calendar, a support group, a community, a craft fair, a sales exhibition?

    I’m personally inclined towards longer posts and bucking the trend, partly just to be contrary. ;) A few crowd pleasers is good though and may draw some people over to the blog, where hopefully they’ll stay. Given the reaction to the death of Google Reader, I think the predicted demise of RSS and blogs is definitely premature.

    In general though, I’m coming to the conclusion that social media as a direct selling tool is to a large extent turning out to be snake oil. Websites and blogs generating content are the meat of the internet.

    1. I absolutely agree with you Erykah. Interestingly, when writing this post I found myself thinking about the early days of Livejournal, where for me, blogging started, and how much easier it was then. But, having said that, I do remember there came a time when less and less people were interacting with me, though I think that was largely to do with the coming and going of people and the changing community. I do know that my old Live journal posts were more written than image led, though then I wrote a lot about my personal life and posts were marked as ‘private’.

      As for Facebook. I think what concerns me more these days, is not just that it’s become so unwieldy (and yes, too many pies, too divergent), but I also question much of the content I see on Facebook. Should it be used as a tool to raise the social conscience and awareness? Yes and no. Whilst I believe that we have a right to champion the causes that mean something to us, and raise awareness about issues we feel passionately about, do we have the right to impose it on a captive audience? I now have to be very wary when trawling my feed, particularly as Orla is sitting next to me much of the time, I scroll with trepidation. I wish that Facebook would introduce some kind of filtering system or the ability to put text or an image under a ‘cut’ with a warning as we did on Livejournal. I think that Facebook needs a major overhaul, not just tweaking the design and interface. But, create ‘hubs’, so that all these different needs can be safely and tidily catered for.

      As for the demise of RSS. I agree with you there. As stated in my post, the majority of my traffic comes from the feed, overwhelmingly in fact. I don’t really understand Google’s decision on this. I have just transferred all my Google feeds to Bloglovin for the moment. They must be chuffed to bits.

      Lorrie xx

  5. Having been “intending to write more” for at least a year, and wanting to get back into blogging as I had been regularly since 2006, I’ve realized that part of the issue is TIME. Blogging on my own, guest blogging, keeping drafts on hand for topics I wanted to discuss, writing/proofing/reproofing the blog somehow became too much of a project for me. I was writing more than I was painting.

    Which is not to say I don’t lament that I haven’t been writing more. I’m just trying to find a balance for it all, as well as put energy where it’s already flowing. For me, lately, the pictures have been a terrific, easy way for me to express myself. It’s quicker, and fits into my day better. It’s just natural for me, and has allowed me a viable way to communicate at all, where I might have been lacking before (in the perpetual state of ‘wanting to blog more.’)

    Some people find writing very easy and natural, and can’t figure out the photo/video-based communication at all. (It’s funny, I know a ton of actors and photographers who are particularly awful at promoting themselves online through photos and videos. It’s bizarre.)

    My personal interest in blogging more, at this point, is that I want to document my life as an artist with words AS WELL as photos (which I think are equally important.) When anyone looks to find REAL information about us in the future, they’ll look to our own websites, and history. Better to have a lot of information available. Trends and sales fluctuate throughout one’s career, but I have complete control of what I say online, and I feel like it’s my responsibility to do so, to communicate with others about why I do what I do (as an artist, as a person). Otherwise I might as well just make art for myself in a cave, and never interact with the public in the first place. ;) xo

    1. TIME!! Yes..or the lack thereof. Have I time to look after my family, create and talk about it? Yes and no. I really want to, and I want to blog a lot more about the subjects and issues which excite and inspire me (which I used to do a lot more), its just finding the time to do so. Plus which I am trying to run artjunky.net, and though I have some contributors, the bulk of content is still pretty much from me.

      Documenting my life as an artist. Yes, I too wish to do that..and in fact feel I need to take more progress shots and write about why I draw what I do, my methodology etc, as that seems to draw people the most. I must admit, I am always very interested in an artist’s progress and working method. As I said. I am not averse to lots of textual content, as long as it is engaging and inspirational. I KNOW I need to make my content more interesting, but for my sake rather than anything else.

      One of my plans for the summer vacation is to create a summer journal/scrapbook. Lots of drawings, text, scraps, tickets, polaroid pics and then take shots of each page as it is created and put them on my blog, but with NO text. The journal/scrapbook will tell the story. Orla is also planning to do hers, and we will work alongside each other over the summer. I will probably include shots of her journal-scrapbook too. It will start when her school term is finished, and then end when she goes back to school.

      I think a lot also about what I am leaving behind, my footprint so to speak. In fact, I have thought more about this after having my daughter than at any other time in my life. I want HER to have a record of what I did and why, so that she knows I was ‘more than the sum of my parts’, and hopefully that one day she would be proud and think her Mother was a pretty interesting person. :)

      Lorrie xx

  6. I like blogging. Blogging has been around for over 10 years. It has evolved and I believe it will change many times over, but not die.

    1. Thank you Ana for dropping by and commenting. It’s good to know other people feel as I do.

      I like your blog and your art, it’s lovely, light and fresh. I have added your blog to my bloglovin list.

      Lorrie :)

  7. I’ve been blogging since before it was called blogging (it was simply an online diary back then!), so I’ve seen many bloggers come and go. However, blogging certainly isn’t dead and I still see new ones springing up every day.

    1. Absolutely Nikki, I think that blogging is stronger now than ever. I see some great content out there. I think I read more blogs online than anything else.

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