Chuck Von Rospach wrote a piece in March titled The Future of Blogging is… Blogging in which he examines the global trends of the blogosphere. He addresses the Post-Blog Era discussed in a feature on SixColors.com and the conflicting opinions as to the present state of blogging in general.
A user in Reddit’s Let’s Talk Music subforum called 2005-20013 the “peak-blog era” when discussing the future of music discovery. This proposed date range corresponds with my own music blog’s peak readership. In 2012 I had 23,000 annual views, but year for year this has steadily declined to 14,700 views in 2015.
One possibility is that my content has simply become too specialized for general audiences. Whereas in 2012 I posted acquisitions of autographed Parliament/Funkadelic LPs, by 2015 I had moved on to discuss trends in socio-musical culture and technology, and focused onseveral milestones of early electronic music.
But some of these recent articles and threads suggest that blog readership worldwide is in decline. Still others proclaim this a renaissance for long-form blog journalism in the content-rich vacuum created by the explosion of listicle articles from sites like Buzzfeed.com.
Another factor affecting the music blogging community is the prominence of streaming services like Spotify. Listeners less-inclined to read a longform article will surely opt instead for the convenience and immediacy of these services’ content.
Statista has some interesting numbers to contribute to this conversation. Looking particularly at WordPress performance over the years cited above, it appears that pageviews have steadily risen each year from 2007 to the fall of 2014.
What do you think? Will readership continue to rise into the next generation of listeners? Or will a social media focused community of listicles cause the longform article to fall from favor?
UPDATE: A fellow blogger from another forum offered the following in response to this entry:
I think the readership will continue to rise, though not sharply, as the number of people who gain easy access to the internet rises, but the percentage of readership will continue to shift in favor of ‘instant gratification’ type articles.
To which I responded:
A sound perspective. I too think this will be the case. For my own blog, I don’t count it as a loss, as those who favor instant gratification are unlikely to be among my readers in the first place. But it does concern me for the welfare of society and internet culture at large.
It’s the classic dystopian struggle – Network all over again. And passive media consumption has been a hot documentary topic of late, with Zeitgeist producer Peter Joseph’s series, Culture in Decline, Adam Curtis’ The Century of the Self, and the free documentaries hosted by Metanoia-Films.org such as Psywar (the real battlefield is the mind), Plutocracy, and Human | Resources : Social Engineering in the 20th Century.
These films examine the post-industrial era problem of goods surplus and product efficiency and how they spelled doom for modern capitalism. Together, a reprogramming of western culture to consume goods and information passively and ceaselessly, and the implementation of planned obsolescence ensured that the capitalist dogma would remain intact.
I see the effects of this system in media outlets like the increasingly-commercialized internet and in the way western culture consumes it. All of the elements above – cultural reprogramming, consumerist propaganda, and an increasingly commercialized internet – these foster consumers’ desire for “fast food journalism.”
He also offered an excellent article for further reading –
Is Google Making Us Stupid?