Felix TV: Is blogging dead?

June 29, 2011

I’ve felt for a while now that the kind of blogging I do — one person writing a series of blog posts in reverse-chronological order — is dying, even if it’s not quite dead. There are still lots of great blogs out there, but my Portfolio.com guide to the econoblogosphere, now almost four years old, is not nearly as out of date as it should be, and very few new voices have emerged since then.

One of the foremost exceptions to that rule is Alexis Madrigal at the Atlantic, so I asked him how he managed to break out as a name-brand blogger in a world where most big blogs are now written by pretty substantial teams. His home at the Atlantic is clearly part of it, as is the fact that he’s incredibly talented. But even he agreed that old-fashioned single-person blogs are largely a thing of the past, with the exception of enthusiastic practitioners in the fields they write about, be it banking or science or anything else. And those people normally blog independently, rather than as part of an old- or new-media company.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. There’s convergence going on — news organizations are becoming bloggier, and blogs are becoming newsier — and that process works to the benefit of both, even as it makes the status of “blogger” less interesting or meaningful. And as Alexis says, blogging is a lot of work, and it’s hard to sustain that level of intensity over the course of a career.

And the most interesting new development in the blogging space is Tumblr, which makes publishing much easier than Moveable Type or WordPress, and as a result is putting up some truly astonishing figures: 355 million unique visitors per month, and 400 million pageviews per day. I’d guess that’s substantially more than the entire blogosphere could boast during any golden age — Tumblr and Twitter have truly democratized publishing and helped to eradicate the distinction between writers and readers. Which is much more important than the emergence of any number of media-published individual voices.


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