The Blog is [Not] Dead
2 min read

The Blog is [Not] Dead

The Blog is [Not] Dead
Photo by Sincerely Media / Unsplash

The internet changes like a living thing. It ages, mostly. The young internet was wild, unaware of its real potential; it was like a child, playing and exploring. It got its first job, helping speed up communication, then it helped intermediate buying and selling at scale - running a business, as it were. It matured with time and came into its own with the Dot-com bubble, which was also its first major failure and a life lesson in the shortsighted exuberance of youth. Online businesses bounced back and continued to flourish, allowing people to chase and build dreams. We went from chatrooms to GeoCities, to forums, to all the social media platforms, to personal blogs, and then to Etsy, Shopify, YouTube, crypto, podcasts and vlogs. It's been a ride. Like with any living thing, the past remains in the past. Just because the website still exists, nobody goes on myspace anymore. Which brings us to blogs...

The blog is not dead but it does have a foot in the grave. Mostly because people don't know what to make of it anymore. After all, why read a travel blog when you can watch a travel vlog? You want to know how to master a tool, or learn a new skill? Watch and listen to your teacher explain it on YouTube or Udemy, don't just pore over text, like you're back at school. We no longer want to (and I'd argue that many of us cannot) absorb and engage, intellectually, through close-reading, which is what a blog demands, fundamentally. We've grown so accustomed to audiovisual sensory stimulation, after years of Netflix binges and podcasts, that the written word is seen differently now. Blogs, whether their goal is to inform or to entertain, are no longer the ideal medium.

And yet.

Almost every site still has a blog. Copywriting is still an in-demand skill. Substack is thriving. Email lives! So, writing isn't dead. Writing has simply become more utilitarian. We use it to communicate as much as ever. Moreover, it is used to build up relevance online. Writing regularly about any topic will help rank that publication up in the Google search hierarchy to the coveted number one spot.

#1 in 2013

Not much has changed in SEO, and not much will unless websites start ranking exclusively based on their audio and video content (which they won't). So the blog has become an intermediary to online business: organic traffic growth, ranking relevance, 'engaging copy that sells'. It's business, not pleasure. Just look at two of my favorite popular blogs of the mid 2010s, and - the first is defunct (in favour of a podcast) and the second is more of an agency/travel website. It's business.

So what am I doing resurfacing with yet another blog in this brave new world of podcasts, vlogs, and twitter? On a personal level, it's easy, I'm scratching an itch. But I'm also making a bet on the value of the written word: that it can engage an audience in ways that video and audio do not. And, if it's good enough, maybe I'll try the business thing too. There are always reasons to revive the dead, after all.