15 December 2013

The attention span shortage malady

As Francis Sedgemore correctly states in this post, blogging as we know and love it is in significant decline. No doubt that, as Francis says, "Blogging is now being taken over by news media and the PR industry, and it has virtually no remaining credibility as an online medium for independent commentary and ‘citizen journalism’".

Indeed, during the first decade of this century citizen journalism (quoted or unquoted) shook up the complacent and self-important mass media, forcing it to sit up and pay attention. As a result, more astute Internet-minding news outfits added lots of bloggers to their arsenal, some of them going as far as to allow a whole spectrum of opinions that usually didn't find their way to the newspapers' pages hitherto. So, being a loss for the blogosphere as it used to be, this is still a significant win for the bloggers.

But I don't think that mass media and its move to incorporate bloggers were the main reason for the diminishing popularity of blogs. Without having hard statistical input and based only on personal observation of people I know in the blogosphere, I dare say that the main force behind the exodus from blogging is, as Francis himself mentioned, "Twitter and other fashionable platforms". Chiefly Facebook, of course, Twitter still being somewhat too restrictive with its 140 characters.

Many bloggers were tempted by the immediacy of response and simplicity of use, coupled with much better synergy with smartphones and tablets, offered by Facebook, Twitter and other, less popular but still significantly present tools. No less important is the ease of connecting to other people, creating groups for "internal" communication much quicker than it happens in the traditional blogosphere. Whether groups created in  Facebook/Twitter are more or less cohesive than bloggers visiting, linking and commenting communities - remains to be seen. Of course, the natural suspicion that such groups are more artificial than bloggers' "karasses" has to be verified, which is not an easy task and which, besides, will be never carried out.

So what remains for the bloggers (aside of mega-blogs, hardly different from the other Internet-based media outfits)? Blogs still provide the convenience and satisfaction of being our personal diaries of a kind, allowing the relative permanence of a diary with accessibility to other people who care to read and to share.

As for the rest of us, drowning in the ocean of information provided by the Internet: yes, our attention span is being shortened more and more by the information attack, and of necessity messages longer than two or three sentences are set aside - for reading later. That later usually doesn't come.

So, Twitter, here we come, with the knowledge that what we want to say is cruelly limited to the proscribed 140 characters and that anythin

OK, you know what I mean anyhow.

14 comments:

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Maybe, but I haven't seen any decline in your blogroll, for instance, and most of the bloggers I read five years ago are still writing away, sometimes three or four times a day. Now you may say that if they don't write lengthy epistles, they're in decline. But some of us never believed in lengthy epistles anyhow.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

I didn't, so I don't. Nice posterior, that one. It was what I noticed first.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Right you are, but it's not an issue of blogroll length, rather of the number of visitors. I heard several complaints already, and SJ experiences the downward trend too during 2013.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Good. Same here, more or less, but since it was Bud I should be tested again on some good European lager or, maybe, Guinness.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

It's also, I suppose, an issue of how often those on your blogroll update, which, at a glance, is about half at least every few days. As for visitors, I never had more than 300 a day, and that was on Ye Olde before Yahoo screwed it up. Newbie is, so far, below 25 a day. But Sedgemore's first line is about blogging being in decline---which is a very fashionable news media notion these days, BTW---and I don't think it's true.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Right, Bud only works in the ads for it. Otherwise, "this bud is poo."

SnoopyTheGoon said...

This blogroll, if you look at its lower part, contains quite a few names that didn't update for an year or more, many of them are on Facebook and/or Twitter these days. Francis himself does other stuff for living, blog being rather an infrequent pastime for him lately. My visiting figures in 2013 dropped about 40-50%, and others offered similar complaints. But of course I didn't perform any polls to collect more data. Ow well, we shall see.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

So true.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

I hate twitter. I hate Facebook. Blogs may come and go but they are here to stay. Please keep it up.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Or gay.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Me too, Nicole, so we'll do our best to keep it alive.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

I am not sure. Gays are as apt to see female beauty as heteros, I believe.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Gays drink wine, not beer.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

That too.