9 Jan 2010

Is blogging dying?

This morning I learn that my blog has made it into a Top Ten List. I am No 7 on the UK's Property Blogs, and one of the few there not to act as a newsfeed for a series of articles elsewhere which, in my view, isn't true blogging. I don't know whether to be delighted or deflated.

I have now been writing this blog for the best part of 5 years and it no longer feels quite the fun thing that it once was. My postings are down in number and less varied in content and, though the number of comments seems to be rising, the readership levels have plateaued. It's also noticeable that blogging, as a method of communication, seems to have stopped growing. There are very few must read new blogs coming on stream and many of my favorites (see my blog roll) are much less active than in the past. It's not just me.

Has everyone moved elsewhere? Is Twitter where the action is? I sort of doubt it. You can't really write on Twitter. Is it Facebook? Not really. Or is it just a sign of the times? Is it the recession/depression that is causing us to write less, and to be more pessimistic?

Certainly, the mood in the property business is pretty depressed. Whilst there are one or two brightspots, especially in the selfbuild sector, an awful lot of people who back in 2007 would have been phoning me up for a chat or gabbling away to me at conferences or exhibitions, now seem to have their heads down, concentrating on survival. Remember that depression is psychological state as well as an economic condition and the two are closely related. The phone stops ringing, the stories dry up, the industry events are few and far between, people get isolated, the sense of gloom grows. And blogging becomes problematic. Who wants to read nothing but bad news? Who wants to write it?

So hats off to Stovax who took the trouble to dig me out yesterday and invited me to come and visit them in Exeter. They have some good news about their products (wood burning stoves) and they want to tell the world. Where better than on Britain's No 7 Property Blog!

Next problem. How the hell does one get to Exeter when the whole country is buried in snow?


  1. Cheer up Mark. I run a property design and restoration business and have just started a hints & tips blog (ebc design and restoration), after being 'sold' blogging by a mate who works in the Amnesty International press office. I'm new to social networking but have worked in marketing prev and i'd say if you are in the business of wanting to generate awareness for a product/position then twitter is a very cost effective real time method of driving traffic - to either a blog or (less regularly) a website - but as a standalone communication tool it doesnt stack up.

    ps. personally my initial impressions are very positive about blogging - altho having trawled through the few i could find on property renovation have to say i wasnt too inspired. will check out the other sites on the top 10 you mentioned and share my thoughts.

  2. Relieved to find I'm not the only one who's lost their blogging mojo. 2009 resulted in about half a dozen entries for me. I blame twitter.

    Going to try harder this year.

  3. Mark,
    Please don't despair. I am not a twitterer as I am not convinced it is adaquate for intellible discussion.

    I may not always agree with you, but your direct approach remains refreshing for those who really are interested in bulding issues. Where else would we go? Keep at it!

  4. Mark,
    I suffer from these occasional bouts of blues myself.
    In terms of blogging itself I think it has plateaud. After an explosion of both bloggers themselves and readers it has slowed down.
    I think it's part of a general trend culturally. After we were fed the line of the Long Tail where there would be endless niches there's been a bit of a backlash. With so much choice people are now reverting to brands they actually know. Look at the numbers for shows like X-Factor or films like Avatar.
    I started a feed of blogs a couple of years back and kept adding to them. Now this year I've consciously got rid of ones I never go back to (not yours I hasten to add).
    For me the lesson from this is that it's all important that the established names keep blogging. And that blogging itself is bloody hard. To maintain them is a real challenge but it's worth it. I think the fact you are getting more comments is more important than overall readership levels.
    Finally on Twitter. Yes it has had some affect - last weekend people responded to my most recent blog post via tweets rather than comments on the post itself (except your good self) - but even Twitter is plateauing.
    Hang in there Mark.

  5. Yeah don't stop!

    I assumed the long gaps were to create an even greater hunger in your readers!

    I have been dabbling with Twitter but it has actually led me to more blogs than I would otherwise have visited.

    Great for flagging up interesting blog posts but crap for actual discussion and annoying when people ask complex questions expecting a 140 chr reply. Also too many people still describing what they are having for supper, often with photos.

    Hopefully see you at EcoBuild.


  6. Mark, I'm struggling with the same thing right now. After 3 years, I'm flagging a bit. Maybe it's because work has been manic - then again I'm sure I've made time for blogging through the manic periods in the past.

    There's still plenty to say, but I don't feel as driven to tell the world as I did before.

    Should we all keep plugging away out of a sense of duty? What's the payback?

  7. I'm down to about 2-3 times a week; and even they're shorter posts (last couple of weeks notwithstanding).

    I have to get excited about something to blog about it but after a few years you see the same topics come around - I'm no good with repetition, even if there is a slight development to the topic.

    Then again, some weeks a cargo of goodies arrive but they're so overwhelming I end up covering virtually none of it - at least in the depth they require.

    Sometimes I wish I wasn't constrained to a narrow niche 'cos I could certainloy rap about much going on in the world at the moment!