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Blogs, Blogs, Everywhere

Could Web logs be headed for a slowdown - even when there's still 99 million of them that I haven't had a chance to read?

I remember first reading a while back that the number of blogs was set to peak sometime in the middle of 2007 but was reminded about it when I stumbled upon a short article while flipping through the latest issue of Macworld magazine.

Research by Gartner, according to the magazine, found that the number of blogs will top out at about 100 million this summer. But it also noted that some 200 million blogs are no longer being updated--many of them abandoned by their authors.

I know I'm guilty of doing that. I've started a number of blogs, only to forget about them after one or two entries. Mine have been in the form of recapping my own my personal adventures: a cross country move, our first East Coast winter, unusual experiences as a Metro commuter and so on. But who - aside from maybe my mom - really cares about all of that? Maybe if I'd found a blog to rant about global warming or the price of gas, readers would have flocked to my blog.

So what does it take for a blog to succeed? Is it the commitment of the author or the interest of the reader? Does it even matter if anyone else is reading?

Today's blogs are so much more than an online diary of one's inner-thoughts. There are people who are experimenting with music downloads or how-to video clips more to turn their blogs into a Web destination for readers interested in their topics. Some are using Web advertising programs to generate some income from their blogs or using tagwords to get the search engines to list the blog near the top of a search results page.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are those who are trying to keep their blogs private - only visible to a select network of friends and family members.

What's your take on the future of blogging? What makes a blog successful - or does success even matter? What does it take to get you to become a repeat visitor or share an entry with a friend?

Let us know what you think below.

By Sam Diaz  |  March 6, 2007; 12:05 PM ET  | Category:  Sam Diaz
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Comments

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My two blogs have been an excellent no-cost exercise of my writing and photography skills. The written one I use to vent thoughts that might get me tossed out of a local club. The photo blog, on Flickr, has really helped me to understand years of photography efforts. I also use them as a stimulus to become a better writer and photographer. If others choose to read or view them, that is their choice but not my original intention for starting them.

Posted by: thw2006 | March 6, 2007 12:57 PM

I have several blogs. I send the addresses out to friends that I have (from around the world.) I do it for my enjoyment - I'm a "failed" author - and because my friends just like to know what I am doing. Whether they get known to the wider world does not matter to me either way.

But I think that it is important to keep posting on them at least on a semi-regular basis.

Posted by: charlie | March 6, 2007 2:44 PM

To have a blog or even comment on one requires an ego that says you have something important to say. For a blog to be successful requires that it draws readers because it is compelling in some way or it allows people to stroke their own egos with comments. I don't think the diary of an ordinary person is generally compelling. But special interest groups where contributions allow the various contributors to receive praise in some fashion for their contributions are far more likely to attack ego centric contributions.

Posted by: Justa Another Egomaniac | March 6, 2007 3:59 PM

I enjoy reading blogs and being the author of one (http://sum.ptuo.us). By using a Reader, such as Google, it allows me to filter out stuff that I don't care to read. I can become educated in my own field with interesting bloggers and have the latest news minute to minute. People who are actively updating their blogs (and doing it well) are doing the work for the many that just don't have time to sort through so much information. The definition of success is, of course, an individual one. Many people have different goals for having a blog. You have to be truly interested in the blog you are maintaining. By being interested, it allows you to create valuable content that keeps your readers coming back for more. It takes time and a lot of thought to create a post. People drop the ball on blogs because they don't realize how much work they are. Lastly, blogs are like t.v. If you don't like the program, don't watch.

Posted by: Kimberley | March 6, 2007 5:14 PM

The blogs I read that actually break news serve an important function on the 'net. I imagine that those types of blogs, many supported by advertising, will endure. I use my own blog to practice writing and photography as an earlier commenter noted, but I hardly expect for it to become anything more than a fun way to improve skills in those areas. Further, I'm not sure that I'll be reading, writing, or commenting on other such blogs forever. Still, it has been a fun window into the lives and thoughts of others, and a rather satisfying way of interacting with strangers.

Posted by: raafi | March 6, 2007 6:29 PM

What if we include the social software spectrum in this discussion. When you are searching for information, say about a travel destination, will you believe a brochure with all gloss or a message board or a blog that shows you the good, bad and the ugly too?

Posted by: Mridula | March 6, 2007 11:43 PM

My blog is a self-serving site for my own entertainment. Getting yelled at or quasi-stalked by commenters is the not fun part. Today was one of those days that makes me want to take it all down and forgetaboutit.

Blogging still has a future, but most of it is just entertainment. It might be helpful, useful information, but unless the blogger purports to be delivering news, it's probably going to stay entertainment.

Gaining a following is easy. Just write something every day about your chosen topic. Never in a million years did I think that strangers would care what I have to say. I am shocked that someone I don't know would try to read everything about me. I can't possibly be that interesting. It's sort of scary too. Blog wisely. Or else you might regret it.

Posted by: mapgirl | March 8, 2007 1:59 PM

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