Is Blogging Dead
Yesterday afternoon I read two Tweets from Jeremiah Owyang, Senior Analyst at Forrester.

They were as follows:

Wired suggests blogs are old hat –call me old fashioned!

followed by,

What’s interesting is that the Wired opinion doesn’t have a single piece of data in it’s article –go read Sifry’s state of blogosphere.

Apparently this article from Paul Boutin in Wired Magazine has been getting a lot of attention this week, especially from those of us who blog. In the article Twitter, Flickr, Facebook Make Blogs Look So 2004, Boutin states:

Thinking about launching your own blog? Here’s some friendly advice: Don’t. And if you’ve already got one, pull the plug.

Writing a weblog today isn’t the bright idea it was four years ago. The blogosphere, once a freshwater oasis of folksy self-expression and clever thought, has been flooded by a tsunami of paid bilge. Cut-rate journalists and underground marketing campaigns now drown out the authentic voices of amateur wordsmiths. It’s almost impossible to get noticed, except by hecklers. And why bother? The time it takes to craft sharp, witty blog prose is better spent expressing yourself on Flickr, Facebook, or Twitter.

No, But Blogging Is Evolving
Flickr, Facebook and Twitter are amazing tools that I love and use everyday, but they are just but pieces of the package, as is a blog. To use another metaphor, they are just individual members of the body. But so is blogging.

Blogging is not dead, nor does your blog need to be pulled, rather it is an evolving art form in my opinion.

None of the social media tools that seem to arrive on the scene everyday are the complete and perfect individual tools that one needs, rather they are just pieces of the puzzle, but when brought into harmony together, have a powerful effect on one’s social media experience and their contribution to the world.

In fact, Andrew Sullivan wrote an exceptional piece, Why I Blog. He begins:

For centuries, writers have experimented with forms that evoke the imperfection of thought, the inconstancy of human affairs, and the chastening passage of time. But as blogging evolves as a literary form, it is generating a new and quintessentially postmodern idiom that’s enabling writers to express themselves in ways that have never been seen or understood before. Its truths are provisional, and its ethos collective and messy. Yet the interaction it enables between writer and reader is unprecedented, visceral, and sometimes brutal. And make no mistake: it heralds a golden era for journalism.

The Blogging Journey
In the Spring of 2004 I had been pondering the idea of blogging because I loved to write and I thought it was the wave of the future. It was through the encouragement of one of my college student’s and good friends Jared Kleier that I made my entry into blogging. I think my first post was in the Summer of 2003 on the Blogger platform. It was a reflection on John 21, of which I erased shortly after because I didn’t quite have the courage to make myself so vulnerable, and my thoughts available for critique.

I eventually worked up the courage to post regularly and after 4 years of blogging I am approaching my 1,000 post (this is post 992). There have been many ups (getting linked by Hugh Hewitt which drove my traffic through the roof), as well as some downpoints (critizing John Piper and receiving a frenzy of comments for it). There have also been many new speaking and job opportunities from those who were exposed to my blog, as well as allowing me to have my first foray into the publishing world with a chapter in The New Media Frontier.

But those things are just icing on the cake. Blogging for me is really about a labor of love, taking risks with exposing and sharing my ideas, and connecting with others that I agree and disagree with through the medium of the internet. Most of all, blogging is about commitment, devotion, and consistency over a period of time. You don’t have to drive thousands of readers a day to your blog to be a successful blogger. Some of the best bloggers are those who share their life with their families and close friends through their writing. And most of all, it’s a record of how you have changed and grown as a person, thinker, etc. I have watched my blogging evolve over time (topics, length, commenters, blogroll, etc.), and it has been an illuminating reflection on my own evolution as a person.

Blogging has changed. In the early days I could break into the top 10,000 on Technorati, but now, I’m lucky if I can crack 70,000. Those were the early days of obsessing over numbers, traffic and ranking. And even though I still hope that people read my blog, I’m more driven by the idea of sharing my thoughts, passions and life with others…and that hopefully in the process we (the blogging community, commenters, etc.) can connect with one another and help change the world. Not as individuals, but as a community who is passionate about the ideas that we share and the convictions we have….all made possible through the medium of blogging.

Twitter is but 140 characters. Flickr is photos, perhaps with comments. And Facebook is hundreds of friends sharing life online together. But there is something powerful about putting words down and publishing them on a blog.

I will end this post with a quote from Andrew Sullivan’s article that I love:

Alone in front of a computer, at any moment, are two people: a blogger and a reader. The proximity is palpable, the moment human—whatever authority a blogger has is derived not from the institution he works for but from the humanness he conveys. This is writing with emotion not just under but always breaking through the surface. It renders a writer and a reader not just connected but linked in a visceral, personal way. The only term that really describes this is friendship. And it is a relatively new thing to write for thousands and thousands of friends.

Check out Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere 2008. Here is one telling quote, “The numbers vary but agree that blogs are here to stay.”

And check out Kirk Sexton’s new blog. Now that he just started it, he is wondering if he has to kill it already. I say no. Blog on Kirk.