|Susie Wee’s travel tip: How to move three carry-on suitcases at once||Social cloud technology in the fabric of the Internet|
I took a sabbatical from blogging for the last 1.5 years. It was not because I was making a statement. It was not because I switched to a flashier tool. It was just because I took a job that was not very conducive to blogging. In essence, I was immersed in a business VP role and there were too many sensitive issues I would have had to navigate around, so this made it difficult to write posts. Now I’m a in CTO role which I find to be much more conducive to blogging.
Since I had a year and a half away from the blogosphere, I had the opportunity to “see what changed” now that I’m back. I looked for my blogging tools tucked away in various corners of the internet, afraid of what I’d find as I reached into the cobwebs. Fortunately, or should I say unfortunately, I remembered most of my passwords. There they were, remnants of decayed accounts and dismal blog stats everywhere.
Regardless of my own situation, this did give me a chance to notice some significant changes that occurred in the blogging world over the last 1.5 years. Here are a few significant changes that I think are worth noting:
- The players have changed.
- The tools and methods have changed.
- Subscribers are dead. Actually, they’re not dead, but they’ve taken a new form.
- Comments are dead. Actually, they’re not dead, they just dispersed.
- Services churn.
Let’s look at these a little more closely with a little Q&A.
Where are the old players?
The most important part of jumping back into blogging is reading them. I scratched my head to find my blog readers (in those dusty deep dark corners). Some blogs had hundred and thousands of posts that I had to catch up on (or just mark as read). But, a number of the blogs were dead or on sabbatical, like mine. Many people were much more thoughtful than me, in that instead of just falling off the face of the blogosphere they actually said they were taking time off. And these were pretty well-reputed, prolific bloggers who had followers and live conversations going on all the time.
Takeaway: Many of the old players are on sabbatical.
What are the new tools?
So now I had to go out and find new blogs to read. I went through the cobwebs again, but I realized that some older tools, like blog readers, seemed a bit stodgy and linear. The new way that I find and read blogs is by chasing a maze of links embedded in tweets on Twitter. Then, instead of subscribing to the blog’s RSS or atom feed, I subscribe to the blog author’s tweets.
Who are the new players?
So I twittered my way around the twitterverse which took me through part of the blogosphere and found some of the new players. I was pleasantly surprised to find the world of Gen Ys, also known as the 20-somethings, or the 80s (born in the 1980′s, used in China). They’re great. Honest, motivated, ambitious, and trying to make their way in this down economy. And there is this whole industry of career coaching- and yes, they’re coaching each other. I’m pretty excited about this group and how they will change the world in their own ways.
Takeaway: The new players are Gen Y’s who are about to step into their 30′s.
Where are my subscribers?
Since I was away from blogging and because my blog address had changed (don’t ask), I lost almost all of my subscribers. So, when I wrote a new post, I had to find a new way to let people know about it. What did I do? I used my swanky social networking tools to advertise it- I posted a link on Facebook and I tweeted a link on Twitter. While I don’t have much of a Twitter following, my Facebook network is pretty rich. So, I did get a modest number of readers for my post.
Takeaway: Blog subscribers are gone. They are followers or friends instead.
Where have my comments gone?
As soon as I posted, I received a number of comments, but few appeared on my blog. Instead, the comments appeared on my Facebook page as Facebook comments. Also, one of my posts was forwarded, but not by a blog trackback, instead it was forwarded by a Twitter retweet. So, in essence, blog comments and trackbacks still exist, but they exist through other services such as Facebook and Twitter.
Takeaway: Blog comments have dispersed. They appear on Facebook, Twitter, and FriendFeed(++) instead.
Which service should I use? Who can I trust?
The other thing that is happening is that there are so many services and so much churn that the community doesn’t know who to trust. Facebook bought FriendFeed. Tr.im closed down, well, almost. People don’t know where to turn. They don’t know where to invest and store their digital life. This will guarantee that the level of change that occurred in my 1.5 year sabbatical will happen even quicker in the years ahead.
Takeaway: Services churn! People who want to keep their digital lives (and their digital friends) will be responsible for carrying it forward themselves.
Is there any room for Old Timers?
Yes, there is a lot of room for the Old Timers. As the Gen Y’s enter their 30′s, they will have to interact with the 40-somethings, 50-somethings, and 60-somethings. They will look to the old-timers that carry wisdom and have maintained relevance to help them navigate in this new world. In many ways, the new world will be new. But in other ways, it will be back to the basics.
Takeaway: The wise and relevant old-timers will guide the young.
So that’s my view on how blogging has changed in the last 1.5 years. Please wish me luck in finding my followers, friends, and comments.
What do you think? How has blogging has changed in the last 1.5 years?