Friday, December 21, 2007

Is Facebook killing blogs?

Real interesting post from Jeff Pulver yesterday. Titled 'where have all the comments gone?', Jeff raises some troubling points about the impact that Facebook is having on where the best conversations are taking place. It's a valid lament for any high traffic blogger who regularly generates a healthy flow of reader comments - which I think is the true measure of what a blog is really worth.

This isn't a problem for me, as I don't have A-list traffic, so I don't get the volume of readers that usually yields the stream of comments that make blogs a much more interesting read. To some degree, this is by choice, as I don't take advertising or get into the SEO game, so as a matter of course, my blog will never show up on mainstream radar. However, I'm happy to have a small core following, and I get my share of reader input, both online and offline. Of course, Jeff doesn't take advertising either, but he's a globetrotting icon who attracts attention wherever he goes.

And that's the dilemma Jeff is sharing with us. The blog has been his soapbox for years, but since he's become enamored with Facebook this year, he'll be the first to tell you that's where his day starts now, and that's where he's spending his online/public time. So it's no surprise that that's where the conversations are happening now. His post touches on many facets of this issue, and as anyone who has taken the Facebook plunge knows, its pervasiveness has basically changed our behaviors. It's become the hotspot to meet, be seen and see who's doing what. It's a lot more fun, sexy and less work than a blog, and the expectations certainly aren't very high for what goes on there.

The blog is still a much better forum for articulating ideas, but sites like Facebook really are more engaging, and certainly have a great sense of immediacy. At any given time of the day, the chances of finding your posse are far great there than on your blog, so that's where the comments are going.

I can totally understand Jeff's issues, and others do too based on the comments he's received on this post. Interesting that a post that asks where have all the comments gone, is in fact, generating lots of comment for Jeff. That aside, it addresses some of the realities of trying to maintain an active, engaged presence in multiple places, whether real or virtual.

The big takeaway from all this is that FB is not really built for this type of dialog, and there's pretty good evidence from the threads running through Jeff's post that fixing this would be a good idea, making FB that much more powerful as a central meeting place. On the other hand, that may NOT be what FB has in mind as it might introduce elements that take away from what's already working so well. That's their problem to solve, and I have no doubt that the mashup community is coming up with all kinds of ideas/widgets/add-ons/whatevers.

I'm more of a casual FB user, so it's not keeping me up at night, but it sure will be interesting to watch if Jeff's dilemma is the catalyst for some potentially disruptive change with FB. The title of my post is more likely to keep me up at night, and I'm sure it holds true for any blogger who is living multiple online lives via FB, Myspace, Twitter, etc. If this is where people are really investing their online energies, it doesn't bode well for traditional blogs like mine.

Makes you wonder if blogs are going the way of print media and other 1.0 media. I sure hope not, and would like to think the world still needs forums like these for personal expression that runs longer than IM-style messaging. Much like the way LinkedIn is becoming more social media-friendly to stay relevant, Jeff's post is a wakeup call to say that blogs need to evolve too. Interesting times, no?

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ipcom said...

Posted by: jules

Say Jon - you aren't the first blogger who's thinking the same things - the impact of Facebook on blogging.... I'm wondering what the ratios are of folks who have a blog and folks who have a Facebook profile, and the different demograhpics associated with each. Right now, I'm only facebooking for friends and social, fun bits. Blogging is meat and potatoes sorts of things. Blogging is for the world - whilst Facebook is for folks I know. :-)

Happy Holidays,

ipcom said...

Posted by: Alan Weinkrantz


Good points. As a reader of your blog and Jeff's as well, you seemed to have articulated it best- a blog is a great place to articulate and FB could be a great way to engage.

Fact of the matter is this, I think you have to do both - and for different reasons, and often times to and for different publics.

Happy Everything,


ipcom said...

Posted by: jumpstart

I read blogs to find informed opinion about what is of current interest to me. The unfortunate aspect of this is just like talk radio, journalist try to pump up their metrics to show their bosses that they are popular. This leads to the crazy �shock-blog� articles which are required to harvest the eyeballs.

As a content provider I miss being able to share humorous original photo commentaries, the type that are animated (that is how I communicate.) I do not want to have the frustration of not getting feedback or to maintain my own blog.

For example I wanted to post the �Sen. Larry Craig New Years stamp." People in Washington, have down loaded this stamp and have glued it next to an official USPS stamp for the holidays. As you know D.C. got their postmark back after a six-year interim. To see it, if you're interested that is go to mytopix profile at:

I would have preferred to show a moving version of this. FB is easier to use for this purpose I'm told. I�m not looking for a social network though; so I haven�t signed up

One of the best quotes I�ve read on a blog lately is:

"I have suffered from being misunderstood, but I would have suffered a hell of a lot more if I had been understood." ~Clarence Darrow

Pictures and parody is my way of dealing with Darrow�s brilliant observation.
Happy Holidays --- Jumpstart