Does Web 2.0 (“Socal Networking”) end the Era of Blogging?

Is Facebook luring away traffic from blogging, and creating a “v2.0” for communities ?

Last year, I joined Facebook to better understand social networking and web 2.0. Three years prior to that, I joined a large blogging community based in the U.S. called Xanga. In a very short time over the past 11 months, I noticed a frightening trend: bloggers were leaving.

Blogging traffic and activity (blog posting and commenting) was declining at an astronomically quick rate. For example, on my own site, web traffic declined five times, as did feedback posts, and blog posts from sites I subscribed to. Few bloggers did acknowledge that they were 'moving' over to Facebook, but the majority simply stopped posting. Xanga has improved its functionality by a significant degree: the site added a mini-blog called 'pulse' to allow users to blog in under 133 characters; it overhauled its subscription reading pages, and enhanced user tagging, and is currently overhauling its communities by group.

In reflecting my past experience of blogging and assessing the trends taking place, I would like to apply that in my evaluation of “Blogging Idol.” As Don Sheppard candidly pointed out in his entry here, there have only been 4 bloggers as of last week.

–As a side comment, his blog is what I think blogging should be: candid, direct, truthful, and initiating a reaction to readers (6 comments were generated, which is the highest invoked from blog entries since the contest began) —

Where are all the other bloggers who are vying for the grand prize? Are they too busy? Are they on Facebook? Only Shane Schick has these numbers. What I can say is that from my own experience, the participation rate is usually “$5.95”. Of the signups, only 5 percent will be active, and 95% will not.

This brings me to another phenomenon involving a Microsoft Home Magazine Canada ambassador group (2006). I was one of over 1000 active “Ambassadors” to the Microsoft Home Magazine site. The community centered around the impact of technology on everyday living. Unfortunately, the program lasted just six months. One of its downfalls was low member participation. I would estimate that of the 1000 members, only somewhere between 15 and 30 members were active.

Blog Idol, after the Contest?

Here are a few questions for you all:

Would you want to continue blogging for IT World Canada after this contest is closed?

So far, this particular journey has been rewarding for me. I have found the posts on current issues and trends from fellow bloggers useful. Blogging is like the color book for web 2.0: social networks implement web 2.0 through short broadcasts (called “news feed” on Facebook). It lacks content and opinion offered by blogging. In effect, what is a news headline without the details? Facebook does have a very high penetration of members as a percentage of overall population in Canada, but the numbers are not a true measure of the “stickiness” factor. If the site's implementation of web 2.0 fails to build on a tightly knit virtual community that already exists on blogging sites, Facebook might actually find its niche might not be for the masses, but for its originally intended community of students for schools and universities.

What Blog Topics Interested you Best?

I have found the topics on general trends (ie cost of wireless in Canada) to be most pleasant to read. I'd prefer to leave specific issues for Computer World to report on!

— Side note: congratulations to fellow bloggers who have been included in this week's issue.

Blogging Idol v2.0?

It would be unfortunate for Blogging Idol to simply end on June 16th. Instead, what if the area were left open to increase signups? It could be used as a community forum for bloggers to continue to address new and ongoing issues faced by IT departments. If not, I guess I will see you all on the Facebook ComputerWorld group.

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