Far and away, one of the best benefits of attending writer’s conferences is the fact that everyone is buzzing about the latest trends and up-and-coming developments in the writing world. It was at a writer’s conference that I heard the first stirrings of what would become the Indie Revolution, it’s where I heard about the indispensability of social media as a writing tool, and it’s where I met the friends who keep me on top of the changes in the industry as it happens.
So imagine my surprise at the Romance Writers of America nationals in Atlanta last month when I heard—multiple times—that blogging is dead.
Wait, blogging is dead? What’s that all about? Aren’t writers encouraged to have a blog as an essential part of their online platform? Haven’t they been telling us for the past few years that everything should point back to our blog? Am I not blogging right now?
I wish I had had a chance to hear more of a discussion on this topic so that I could get a clearer sense of why blogging is dead. The thing is, I can’t exactly disagree with it. My own experience lately has shown me that blogs don’t have quite the excitement around them that they did a year ago. Not only have I see the numbers inch down with my blog, I’ll confess, I haven’t been reading as many blogs as I used to.
What’s this all about?
Well, I have some theories.
First of all, it seems to me that a lot of the content on writer’s blogs is the same. Yep. We all seem to be blogging about the same thing. I’ve seen a lot of posts in the last couple of months with tips for the aspiring writer, discussions of how to use social media, debates over the importance of historical accuracy (which I love, but they do seem to be everywhere), and mistakes that writers frequently make.
There’s actually two big problems with these things. First, they’re everywhere. The same information is being recycled. And yes, I just said the same thing in the previous paragraph. See what I mean? Second, it seems like a lot of us writers are writing content for other writers instead of for folks who read our books. Why? Because that’s the low-hanging fruit. We know we can attract readers by offering what writers want: advice that leads to hope.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with that, but I would argue that it has us all spinning in circles. That that’s what kills blogging.
The message that I heard attached to the statement that blogging was dead was that you should only blog if you enjoy blogging and have something to say. Ah, I think that’s the heart of the matter. Way, way back in the day of last year, we were all told that our online platform as writers must include a blog. So away we all went, fumbling around for something to write about on a regular basis. The problem is, a lot of us don’t think that way. Generating something to say on a regular basis is as pointless as telling the same joke over and over.
Me? I happen to love blogging. In case you hadn’t noticed, I have a lot of thoughts in my head and a lot of things to say. Some of them might actually be interesting! I love history and enjoy sharing those tidbits that I find interesting with you all. Yes, there have been days when I do hours of research, write my 1000 word post, and get 7 whole hits. Doesn’t matter. I still love writing about history. And I do my book reports as a way to hold myself accountable for reading the books I know I’m supposed to be reading. Yes, I like blogging.
But what if you really don’t?
This is where the message from the conference comes as a welcome pronouncement for a lot of people. If you don’t truly enjoy writing blog posts, don’t. The trends seem to be shifting more into the realm of those delicious 140-character bites. Facebook reaches more people than blogging does, and on Facebook you’re just as likely to drum up interest by sharing memes than by writing essays. Pinterest and Instagram seem to be the soup de jour too. And I can’t tell you how many videos I’ve watched lately thanks to links shared through Facebook. Too bad videos are harder to create. Then again, they’re no harder to create than blog posts for those who don’t like blogging.
So I’m going to continue my 3-4 blog posts a week because I truly enjoy writing them. But what about you? What are you going to do with your time? Do you like blogging? Do you like reading blogs? Or is Facebook or Twitter more your thing? What do you think the next big social media innovation is going to be?