Having hosted and developed websites for over a decade now, it was always funny sifting through the logs in the early days. When the Internet first became popular to consumers, pornography accounted a for a huge portion of search engine traffic. 90% of my search engine hits in the mid-90’s were people looking for porn (must be my last name). In fact, it was so bad back in the day, that the number one SEO move was to put porn keywords in your META tags.
A few years ago, I heard about a pornographic Youtube clone called “Youporn” in a Techcrunch article. Out of curiosity, I looked up Youporn on Google trends and compared it to Web 2.0 darlings Twitter, Flickr, Yelp, and Digg. Here are the shocking results:
While there is a ton of buzz about Twitter, Youporn is insanely popular, yet its barley mentioned in the press. There are 37 news articles that mention “Youporn,” compared to 75,000 for Twitter. Yet, if you look at the trend results, the Youporn keyword is TWO TIMES more popular than Twitter.
While the results are shocking, Youtube is still far and away the king.
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.