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The End of Blogging?

So soon? A media research firm is now predicting that the number of blogs will peak in the coming year as the phenomenon cools off. The British firm Gartner bases its prediction on the decline of blogs on stats showing that some 200 million people worldwide who had started blogs have already given them up.

The pace at which people stop blogging will soon overtake the pace of creation of new blogs, the company forecasts. All of which doesn't mean that blogs will go away--though they will surely evolve into something else in the coming years--but rather that the initial rush of folks who are blogging just because everyone else is will end. And that's a good thing--surely we suffer simultaneously from a surfeit of data and a paucity of wisdom.

Blogs have the feel of an interim form. They're new and easy to experiment with. The form is not encumbered by nearly as many rules and traditions as hem in other kinds of writing. But it is a second-order form, given mainly to commentary and rants and suggestions more than to original reporting, imagination or ideas. The trick for the next phase of its evolution will be to find ways to add heft and win wider notice, perhaps even some permanance for the best work, just as the best work appearing in daily newspapers and magazines eventually found its way to books (think Dickens, Tom Wolfe, Hunter Thompson).

Any new form meets its greatest test in the period after the fad dies. If next year is that proving time for blogs, what will the next incarnation of the blog look like?

By Marc Fisher |  December 21, 2006; 8:04 AM ET
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Comments

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Marc, is this all that you can come up with? I hope Santa brings you a sack of ideas for Christmas.

Posted by: WB | December 21, 2006 8:40 AM

Ha ha, BURN!

Posted by: Rosslyn | December 21, 2006 8:57 AM

I think the significant aspect of web logs is the underlying technology. It finally lets anyone become a web content creator. No learning of html and JAVA or Dreamweaver -- just type into a form. How we use it is another thing altogether. I suspect that it will find its way into educational systems, business collaboration sytems and research settings. People post a comment or an idea, and then others engage with it.
Like this column.

Posted by: kcbrady | December 21, 2006 9:39 AM

Gartner is not a British firm. They are an American firm.

Posted by: Tom K | December 21, 2006 10:35 AM

The next incarnation of the blog will be the blooger -- the combination of the electronic diary and the self-absorption of those who pluck, then examine, their own boogers.

Bloogers will not be meant to be read, except by those that write them.

Posted by: paucity of wisdom | December 21, 2006 10:42 AM

Marc, are you getting into the egg nog a littler early this year?

Posted by: AA | December 21, 2006 10:43 AM

Marc, did you get into the egg nog a little early this year?

Posted by: Need AA? | December 21, 2006 10:44 AM

Lame, lame, lame, and childish. Giving an entry a title like "The End of Blogging?" and then saying that the number of new blogs is less than the number of people giving up is nearly meaningless. So what if some percentage of people who were never serious about it stop doing it. Where is the data about the other people? How often are their blogs cited? Page views? Public impact?

Posted by: Scott | December 21, 2006 10:46 AM

One of these years, I'll learn how to use this here new-fangled blogging system.

Posted by: Need AA? | December 21, 2006 10:47 AM

Say "Good Night!," Bloggie

Posted by: Duh! | December 21, 2006 11:17 AM

Please tell me that Marc Fisher will be running along with the lemmings in the new trend. Then tell me the Post will also see the light say enough already.

Posted by: Not a Fisher fan | December 21, 2006 11:56 AM

Thank God. Now THIS is cause for some holiday cheer. To quote a great line from "Studio 60," the last five years has seen "the revenge of the hacks" in the worlds of writing and journalism. Credentials be damned - EVERYBODY is an expert once they start a blog! It's 90 percent garbage and I for one think the receding blog tide can't come soon enough. Let's go back to the old days, when people who actually knew how to write and how to vet information were the ones who, having done the hard work of training themselves in the field, were rewarded with spots in the pundit field.

Posted by: Sarah Merlin | December 21, 2006 12:18 PM

Unlike the different viewpoints expressed on radio, tv, and print, if you read a blogger's opinion, that's because you went to his or her page. No one forced you there. There is no idea of scarcity on the Internet.

What we have now is a medium where everyone's megaphone is the same size, and this is a great development.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 21, 2006 12:22 PM

Marc, don't you think you're begging the question just a bit when you write, "But it is a second-order form, given mainly to commentary and rants and suggestions more than to original reporting, imagination or ideas"?

If you really want to earn your salary, you'd try to tell us *why* this is, rather than just assume it's the case. What about the nature of blogs reduces them to vehicles for "rants," other than the fact that they're not newspapers?

Posted by: Tim | December 21, 2006 12:33 PM

Sarah Merlin, is someone sitting next to you, forcing you to read those blogs? Your solution is as simple as one click away. Just exit the blog and don't sit there and read it.

Posted by: Wow | December 21, 2006 12:47 PM

Sarah,

While 90% of blogs may be crap, the other 10% often discover stories that traditional journalists miss or completely blow.

For example, bloggers figured out pretty quickly that the Killian memo was fake. Dan Rather and his 60 Minutes team were either too stupid or too partisan to figure out this memo purportedly typewritten in the 1970s was clearly produced on a word processor. Or maybe too stupid and too partisan.

Posted by: PJ | December 21, 2006 1:26 PM

Where are all you blog-haters going to post your complaints about blogging if there's no more blogs? You might have to start your own blogs just to express how happy you are about the decline in blogs.

Posted by: uguysrfunny | December 21, 2006 1:32 PM

I think it's funny that Sarah Merlin uses Studio 60 to start her rant, but fails to mention that one character decries blogs in one breath and then, in the next breath, says they have to listen to bloggers anyway, and another characters mentions that a particular blogger is meaningless and idiotic, but later in the same episode, uses that blogger's postings to sell his boss on an idea.

Bloggers are here to stay. Everyone loves hearing the sound of their own voices (or reading the . . . um, sight of their own words), and a lot of people are voyeurs. The internet is the last completely free market on earth; the ease of entry and exit makes it so that anyone can have a blog if they want. The idea that, just because this current generation is slowing down, future generations will not only slow down but stop blogging altogether, is rather ludicrous.

Blogging will change and evolve into something different, sure, but the concept of keeping an online diary won't go away anytime soon.

Posted by: lawl | December 21, 2006 1:37 PM

"But it is a second-order form, given mainly to commentary and rants and suggestions more than to original reporting, imagination or ideas."

Which precisely describes everything Marc has ever written and 99 percent of the content in the Washington Post.

Posted by: Woodbridge Va | December 21, 2006 1:37 PM

Blogs are for liberals what talk radio is for right wingers. The "news" that blogs are waning is more wishful thinking by the right and has about as much a basis in fact and reality as George Bush's policies.

Posted by: MikeB | December 21, 2006 2:32 PM

Can someone explain Donald Trump's hair style? Is it combed forward or backward or a little of both?

Posted by: Shorty | December 21, 2006 2:53 PM

Best news I've heard in ages -- blogs are not even worth the paper they are printed on. (Pun intended.)

Posted by: Glover Park | December 21, 2006 3:26 PM

Hey, Marc! Can you make a prediction like this?

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16315452/from/RS.1/

Posted by: Tee-Hee | December 21, 2006 3:41 PM

I wonder what the trends on newspaper sales/circulation have been for the past few years.......

Posted by: Andy | December 21, 2006 4:19 PM

"Next year, everyone will jump on the bandwagon of some 'futuristic' technology that will supposedly transform human subjectivity / the public sphere / the economy. After a year or so it will be abandoned unceremoniously for something else."

Posted by: a prediction | December 21, 2006 4:36 PM

Congratulations, Marc. You've just exposed yourself as an idiot to the entire world.

You can see my second-rate wisdom-challenged rant about your idiocy at Daily Kos, a community blog (oooh...could it be...evolution?)

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/12/21/153838/34

Posted by: thereisnospoon | December 21, 2006 4:36 PM

thereisnospoon , A+

Posted by: Andy | December 21, 2006 4:48 PM

thereisnospoon , A+

Posted by: Andy | December 21, 2006 4:48 PM

Not trying to be antagonistic, but whu so many bitter comments about blogs? As was mentioned you don't have to read them, if you are a 'blog expert' you probably have been reading them yourself, so you are already guilty. Some people just use them as a journal, knowing that few people if any are likely to even read them. Are we afraid of running out of space on the Internet? That would be interesting. I don't think blogs are meant to all be works of literature or journalism, that's the appeal, even the everyday web user can go for it.

Posted by: IReadBlogs | December 21, 2006 4:55 PM

Not trying to be antagonistic, but whu so many bitter comments about blogs? As was mentioned you don't have to read them, if you are a 'blog expert' you probably have been reading them yourself, so you are already guilty. Some people just use them as a journal, knowing that few people if any are likely to even read them. Are we afraid of running out of space on the Internet? That would be interesting. I don't think blogs are meant to all be works of literature or journalism, that's the appeal, even the everyday web user can go for it.

Posted by: iReadBlogs | December 21, 2006 5:01 PM

It will just mean more self-important promoters of the whatever-is-next-o-sphere. Ick.

Posted by: andrew | December 21, 2006 5:30 PM

is it possible to retire this blog?

Posted by: daver | December 21, 2006 5:59 PM

Sarah, dear, please step away from the Kool-Aid nipple and accept the idea that real grown-ups do not need their hand held and their *noses* wiped by the MSM to be properly informed.

As for Marc...wishful thinking by a dinosaur. Dream on, buddy. And if blogs do take the dirt nap like you and your crusty buggy whip buddies in the elitist old media boy's club wishfully *report* they will---good. More room for the likes of me!!!!!!!!

Don't be a stranger...come see how it's done *new* school...

www.seejanemom.com

Posted by: seejanemom | December 21, 2006 6:12 PM

indeed... sarah, you and George Will can then jerk each other off!

Posted by: daver | December 21, 2006 6:29 PM

Retire the Fisher blog? NEVER!! Marc is so....Fisherlicious!

Posted by: Fisher for President! | December 21, 2006 7:33 PM

I'd say, it's just the fear of media capitalit.....no problemo, keep blogging !

Posted by: bloggerock | December 23, 2006 6:13 AM

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