The Slow Death of Personal Blogs and Websites?

Long before the term “blog” was coined, I had a personal homepage. Earlier this decade, personal homepages started shifting to the blog format. Today, we are seeing those personal blogs die a slow death, as people flock to Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites.

Sure, lots of people are still blogging. Blogging is still growing, but I’m seeing a noticeable reduction in volume among the personal blogs that I follow. My own blogging has been reduced somewhat, the main culprits being Twitter and Facebook.

A few years ago, I might blog a quick link to a news article. Today, its either a tweet or Facebook posted item for news stories. I don’t bother with a blog post, unless I want to write two paragraphs or more.

For lots of people, social networking sites are their first exposure to “web publishing.” Those people are going to be less inclined to create their own blogs and personal websites. Why bother creating a blog when “everybody is on Facebook?”

For me, I think there will always be a place for the personal website. Social networking websites are very poor substitutes for blogging, because of the limited exposure, the low signal to noise ratio, and the frequency of the news feed. A two day old Facebook note is never seen again, where a two year old blog post is still very accessible.

It will be very interesting to see how personal blogging will evolve in the next decade. Social networking is a threat, but its also an opportunity for integration with tools like Facebook connect.

  • Michael Brice

    I post something on my blog and link it to facebook. I still have a blog and will keep my blog. I cannot individually organize the way I like on Facebook, twitter, etc they are simply networking devices.

  • Leo Petr

    I see little future for self-hosted personal blogging, as there is a great privacy advantage in using something like Facebook or even LiveJournal with their fine control of visibility levels for posts.

    However, IMHO, business- and hobby-oriented blogging is likely to grow by several degrees of magnitude. Self-hosting is an advantage for them, as the finer control of messaging is useful, while walled gardens a la Facebook interfere with elusive popularity.

  • JayZee

    It is nice being able to rapidly mimeograph my thoughts for distribution to the lads at the aerodrome.

  • asv

    JayZee, you should really look in to fax-modem technology. Its “off the hook.”

  • Warren

    Just found your blog off LinkedIn 🙂

    I don’t know if I agree with Leo – I prefer self-hosted blogs for a variety of reasons. First, they’ll reach a larger audience than do Facebook notes. Second, I can keep stuff I want only for registered users hidden if I want – I don’t generally do that, because I follow the mantra of “if you wouldn’t write it on a billboard, don’t put it on a website”. Third, I have full control over the look and feel, how it’s categorized, and when it shows up.

    I don’t like Facebook’s lack of tagging beyond specific friends whom you want to make doubly-aware of what you’re written.

    I do have my blog auto-import into Facebook so that my friends know what I’ve been thinking about or looking at, but there’s another realm of readers that I don’t consider ‘friends’ in the Facebook sense that still skim my blog on a semi-regular basis due to aggregation.

    As a side note, with Facebook’s recent privacy backlash and the surrounding concern over what apps can grab just because they’re using the API, ie viewable permissions are unioned, I don’t view Facebook as a ‘secure’ service. A fun and useful tool, but not secure the way I would expect a bank to be, for example.


  • Warren

    Question – you think it’s as true today as it was in 09 when you wrote this?