Blogging evolution

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Charles Arthur wrote about how he was finding blogging changing as blogging at the ‘tail’ has dropped off.  Couple this with moves to lifestreaming from FriendFeed to video services like Qik being adopted by some leading bloggers like Robert Scoble and Steve Rubel and you could be fooled into believing some of the nay-sayers who write-off blogging as thing of the past. Though Robert Scoble has seen a dramatic drop in readership since his move towards lifestreaming according to Silicon Valley Watcher written by Tom Foremski.

This is not a new proposition, I blogged in response to similar claims from Ian Sample and Paul Boutin last year where I acknowledged that blogging had changed due to new channels like Twitter, but was definitely not on the endangered list.

At the other end of the scale is Stuart Bruce, who is not only sticking by blogging, but points out the foibles of micro media distracting the thought leader from having suitably olympian thoughts. Stuart contends that the efforts in mining life stream content like Twitter is unproductive as it has a low signal-to-noise ratio.

Secondly, if you look at Text 100’s recent research about blogging around the world bloggers have become more influential, blogging is mainstreaming as a communications channel: I guess this is a positive spin Arthur’s withering of the blogging tail.

If Charles Arthur is correct, then the signal-to-noise ratio is certainly improving, and if you have a look at leading media sites like The Telegraph Online, the BBC or Guardian Unlimited you can see the influence of blogging on their site in terms of presentation, editorial style, audience participation and the ever-present comment box.

So what is really happening then? My best guess is based on a phenomena known as the ‘hype curve’ which different people credit to analyst firm GartnerGroup or Judith Hurwitz depending who you ask.

Gartner's hype curve

Over the past ten years or so, we have seen blogging climb to what can be reasonably considered to be a peak of unrealistic expectations and it could be considered to heading towards a trough of disillusionment. A scientific-sounding version of the tall-poppy syndrome. From a PR perspective experience which has been gained is still valuable as blogs hit the plateau of productivity. It also means that the bloggers who stick with it are more likely to come out the other side even more influential as the noise around them will have reduced substantially.

Well its a hope, rolled into a theory based on a curve developed by people who think that they are smarter than you and I.  So what’s not to like about it?