The blog is dead.
I don’t say it lightly; I’ve been blogging since 2000, moving from an email list I started in the ’90s to Blogger to TypePad to WordPress.com to WordPress.org. My blog is now directed off my Stealthmode blog domain to SVBTLE, where it lives under an alias. I couldn’t decide what to do with it, because I was originating posts in Google+, Facebook, and Evernote more and more often. And I can’t really “blog” on my phone; so when I am at an event, I’m more likely to live tweet, and then convert those tweets later into a Storify.
And then I heard yesterday’s discussion on The Gillmor Gang and spoke to my Business and Future of Journalism class. The Gang received a brief introduction to Betaworks’ new content authoring tool Tapestry from John Borthwick, who runs Betaworks. He explained to us that Tapestry was designed for completely mobile content consumption; it is a clean, uncluttered environment and you download the app to read the content. Or to create it. It creates “Tappable stories.” You have to see it to believe it, just as you had to see SVBTLE or Medium, the new high quality by-invitation-only content platform put forward by Ev Williams.
All of these are incredibly different from traditional blogs. They are much less text heavy, and they focus on quality of both content and design. God knows what they will do to journalism when they become mainstream–because they will. Many of the people entering the Internet now will never even see a PC or a laptop; they will read on mobile devices. So the format of content must rapidly change to meet them.
This underscores a discussion being had among journalism professors like Jeff Jarvis and Jay Rosen, who are arguing on Twitter about whether the “article” is still a viable form of journalism. If journalism is now a process, continually updating and iterating on the facts in any given event, then you can’t really freeze it in an article anymore, can you?
News is a river that happens all day and night, all over the world, which is why Twitter is so compelling. If you read Matthew Haughey’s piece on Medium about why he doesn’t like Facebook and does like Twitter, you will get it all. Twitter was invented for mobile; Facebook is behind on mobile. Facebook is predicated on the past; Twitter is in the now.
So I see that moving my blog around like this is just staving off the inevitable; we are moving to collections and curations, to mobile content, and to different authoring tools. Think for a moment about the incredible popularity of Tumblr, or of Pinterest. I believe they are early iterations of the content revolution.
I told my journalism students, who are just being taught by their professors that the new way is “digital first,” that they have to stretch again–this time all the way to “mobile first.” What does this mean if you wanted to be a feature writer, an investigative reporter, a business writer, or a TV producer?
Nothing. You can still BE any of those things. You just have to avoid being wedded to old platforms.
That’s why I know blogging is dead. It won’t die all at once, but just you wait.
Have you gone “digital first”? Tell us about it in the comments.
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[Image: Flickr user Shehan Obeysekera]