Friday, April 20, 2012

Are Blogs a Thing of the Past?

So last Thursday, Jessica Faust over at Bookends, LLC announced that Bookends will be disbanding  daily posting (and posting little, if at all). I'm sad to see them go—I find that I refer others to them frequently for discussions of how to sub a book that's been subbed, how to talk to an agent if you've already had an agent, and lots of other things that some agent blogs don't address.

Jessica said an interesting thing in her post, however:

It doesn't seem like blogs have as much "power" as they used to, especially with the ease and speed of sources like Twitter and Facebook. Most important, however, I don't have the passion for the blog that I once did. While I will surely miss hearing from the authors I've learned so much from, I think I will find other ways to interact.
It's an interesting question. Have blogs lost their "power" in the face of speedier sources? I know that I tend toward Twitter, but that, as far as I'm concerned, is a personal preference, mostly due to my time. And that and it's a lot easier to connect to people in 140 characters than on a blog. I'm nothing if not a verbose person and twitter keeps me down to earth.

On the other hand, could that be a sign of the times? It's faster to tweet than to blog, so perhaps my preference is exactly the same as others. 

There's something refreshing about stretching out for a full post, being able to better extol the benefits of something you've enjoyed (like Bookends' blog) and get a chance to talk to others about it. So I like to have that room, also, even if a lot of the time you'll also find me in 140-character bites on twitter. (@jsschley, if you wish.)

What do you think? Are blogs a thing of the past? (And, by extension, are all of us on-submission authors wasting our time cultivating them?) Do "faster" social media take precedence over blogging in this day and age?

And whether blogs are passe or not, I will certainly mourn the passing of this one. Thanks for all your time, Jessica and Bookends. It's been a great ride.


  1. I don't know BookEnds, but that comment just leads me to believe they don't know this medium very well, even if they know the publishing industry. That's okay! A lot of people outside of the web industry don't "get" it. It is a bit sad to see a group leave behind good projects when they could do more with them, though.

    So you're bored with something, convinced things aren't working like they once did? Change it. Don't drop it completely. Then you just have to start from scratch again. And it will be that. Hardly anyone who's had a website once won't want another one in the future; it just becomes a thing, I think!

    Really, just because people aren't commenting on blog posts like they once did does not mean they aren't reading or even commenting elsewhere. (Rarely is the problem that people aren't reading; the problem is usually monetizing what is being read.) Some blogs these days disable comments, and of course Tumblr does that by default without Disqus. Most prefer sharing their thoughts in a short reply via Twitter, if at all; when comments are enabled, they're often off-topic or become so.

    It probably is a little different on a blog made for writers and readers (ha, or I wouldn't be making this comment), of course, but the reality is any blogger who doesn't have a properly personalized website with good analytics and a robust commenting system with lots of diverse options for their users to choose from just isn't going to have the same level of control over how people receive and share their content. They also won't be aware of what's being done with their content with the limited set of tools they provide users.

    Twitter and Facebook can wonderfully complement blogs if one will take the time to learn how or hire someone who knows. Many writers don't do that, and it does hurt them, I think.

  2. Agreed completely. Plus, I think a lot of blogs do have wonderful commenters, and huge audiences. (I know BookEnds had a large following. I see them quoted often on Absolute Write and other places.)

    Bookends is keeping their site around; and I know Jessica et. al. plan to post on occasion. But it's been a wonderful source of new, daily content, and that's rare, I find. I know I struggle at times to manage getting new content up weekly.

    It would be interesting to research some of the ways to maximize Twitter and Facebook integration with blogs. I have this blog feeding to my facebook page via RSS Graffiti, which I helped a friend set up also. I think there's a lot of room for blogging still--it's still a great way to get larger chunks of info across. And nowadays, integration with other social media is straightforward.

    Thanks for the comment!


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