A recent post over at Forbes claims Facebook and Twitter are replacing blogging. Written by Jeff Bercovici, it uses statistics from the just-released State of the Blogosphere report by Technorati, one of the leading blog resources on the web.
In the post, Jeff points out that Facebook and Twitter are replacing blogging with the argument that less people are spending time blogging, but more time on Facebook and Twitter. From Technorati’s findings, “pure bloggers” like hobbyists are blogging less as their time is allocated more to the micro-blogging sites.
While Jeff uses the Technorati stats to paint his position, I can’t help but feel he’s missing the bigger picture.
Technorati and Blog Claims
While there’s no doubt that Technorati is one of the leading blog resources when it comes to statistics, it also only counts blogs that’s registered with the service.
So while there might be 180 million blogs registered (I think that was the number from the last report), there are a ton more that aren’t registered. Chinese bloggers, for example, are restricted by the Internet laws in China – you can quickly add a few hundred million onto the numbers there.
So while it may appear to Jeff that blogging is going down (at least from the hobbyist angle), not having the full picture skews the results a little.
Numbers and Interpretation
It’s not just the registered versus non-registered numbers that are important, though. Dig a little deeper into the Technorati stats, and you’ll see a lot of information that Jeff either fails to mention, or conflicts with his view.
- In Technorati’s introduction post, they mention that they spoke to 7,200 bloggers to put the report together this year. Look at that number again – 7,200. Out of more than 100 million blogs registered with Technorati. While not insignificant, can less than 1% of your audience be a reflective number?
- Part-time bloggers (13% of the blogosphere) spend at least three hours per week on their blogs, with at least a third of them posting at least once a day.
- At Forbes, Jeff mentions that less time is being spent on blogs since they’re content to post on Twitter or Facebook. Yet according to Technorati, 49% of part-time bloggers and 62% of self-employed bloggers are blogging more because it helps promote them and their business.
But here’s the kicker. Jeff mentions that micro-blogging is taking away bloggers, and giving numbers over to Twitter and Facebook instead. Yet again, look at the Technorati report, and their exact quote is:
The key driver of decreased blogging is an increase in work and family commitments, which is reported as a factor by 63% of respondents who are blogging less. Compared with last year’s findings, slightly fewer of those who are blogging less said that their devotion to microblogging (30%) and social networks (28%) has curtailed their blogging.
So, while micro-blogging sites are becoming more popular with ex-bloggers, it’s actually less than last year’s figures. So blogging is more popular this year?
The Truth About Blogging
The thing about blogging is that it’s something that can’t easily be quantified by simple numbers (as shown here, with Jeff’s interpretation and my one, using the same statistics).
Additionally, you can’t always separate business blogging from personal blogging – the two often mix, whether it’s as a business owner or an employee blogging for your company. While you might be writing a business post, you could also be using the ideas in that for a personal one, and vice versa.
But here’s why I don’t think blogging will be replaced by either Twitter or Facebook anytime soon.
Control and ownership.
Twitter and Facebook are third-party sites, and as such you’re governed by their Terms and Conditions. If they want to change how their service is provided (and they often do), you’re screwed. You have to abide by their rules and how they want you to use the platform.
Twitter, while undoubtedly one of my favourite platforms, is still limited by its character count. Yes, you can be focused and make sure every tweet counts, but you still need multiple messages to carry a conversation; make a point; correct facts; and more.
Your blog is your property (at least self-hosted blogs are). You can post whatever you want, in whatever way you want, and not be restricted by length.
Until the micro-blogging platforms offer that kind of control and ownership, then blogging will continue to be the only way to share your message the way you want it to be shared.
Facebook and Twitter replacing blogging? Not for this blogger. You?