Twitter, facebook stealing the show
When The Smart Manager contacted me to write a piece on blogging, I countered them with my own proposal—would they be interested in a piece on why I stopped blogging? They said ‘yes,’ and so here I am.
I started blogging in 2006 after I left Infosys where I was Global Head of Sales and Marketing. I had always liked writing and had written a few pieces for some publications while at Infosys. But it’s difficult to write freely when you are in a senior position at a big company. You could unintentionally hurt your company’s interests in so many different ways even if you didn’t intend to be. If you somehow manage to cross this minefield by getting marketing, corporate communications and legal [department] to clear your blog post, what’s remaining of it is likely to be as dull as ditchwater.
So I started blogging after I left Infosys (this was when I left Infosys the first time. I left it a second time in 2012). A personal blog gives you the freedom to write about whatever you want; it gave me the opportunity to engage with my readers. The comments came thick and fast. I used to write random (I have a category on my blog—‘humor’) pieces, which would routinely get 20 to 30 comments. I loved it. I became pen pals with a few regular commenters.
Blogging gets you noticed too. I’m not talking about SEO and its likes, though that too happens. I’m talking about writing something good and
The readers too don’t have the time or patience to read long blog posts.
getting noticed by an Om Malik who links to your post and sends a gazillion of his readers to your blog. Sometimes, you get noticed and hauled over hot coals by a blogger. And sometimes you just pick a fight. But it is always energizing.
I kept blogging for many years. On an average, once in two weeks or so. But then the rate of comments came down. And the spikes in Google Analytics charts weren’t as sharp as they used to be right after I posted. It wasn’t just me or my writing. Blogging was no longer what it used to be. With that began the decline of my blogging.
Social media should take most of the blame for the slow death of blogging. From the blogger, Twitter and Facebook have taken precious minutes (hours?) that could have been spent writing long-form blog posts; it’s now being spent on short tweets and updates with a link to something someone else has written. The readers too don’t have the time or patience to read long blog posts; engagement has moved out of comments on the blog into Facebook and Twitter. Even on blog posts, nowadays I get most of my comments on Facebook.
Given all this, isn’t it easier for both writer and reader to just take their engagement to Twitter or Facebook? In my case, that has indeed become the case. I don’t write for the sake of writing. I write to be read. If there aren’t the readers then I won’t be writing. Sadly, the best days of blogging are gone.