Is blogging dying?

When I started this blog in November 2007, blogging seemed to be an exciting new adventure on the internet. Since then, this blog has had just under 1.3m page views. However, views peaked in 2014 at 180k for that year and have been declining ever since. Indeed, last year saw less page views than in 2009. Part of the explanation is that I have published less posts, especially on gear.

However, I have noticed that other blogs that I read have also been less prolific in posting. It seems that enthusiasm (and perhaps interest) in blogging is waning. I guess it following a natural life cycle of growth, maturity and decline. Maybe I’m reading too much into my experiences.

I think there’s another reason why blogging is declining and that is the rise of YouTube and vlogging. I know I am much more inclined now to watch short videos of trips than to read blogs. In the past I’ve produced a few slide show videos but they’ve been a bit haphazard.

However, I was pleased with my slide show videos for Dartmoor and Not the TGO Challenge. This was not because they are technically meritorious, but because they seem to be a good way of presenting the visuals of a trip.

In the past, I’ve probably been guilty of trying to cram too many pictures into posts. Using a slideshow video is a good way of overcoming this limitation. What I intend to explore is a combination of still photos and short clips of video.

It will be a bit experimental, but hopefully it will improve my trip reports. One thing that is frustrating about straight YouTube videos is that generally no maps or background information is supplied. To that end, I will publish some maps and comment to accompany any videos on a blog post.

At least for the moment, one thing I’m unlikely to do is to provide any spoken commentary. The videos I like most have little or no spoken word and let the landscape speak for itself. I don’t want to be a YouTube personality. Too many videos appear to contain mundane babble or cod philosophising. I don’t meant to offend anyone, but that’s not my cup of tea.

Initially any video content is likely to remain fairly simple but I will investigate some ways of improving the output. At the moment I’ve compiled my videos on Picasa, but I will look at other software. I might invest in a video camera like a GoPro as well. Any comments are welcome.


13 thoughts on “Is blogging dying?”

  1. My blogging took more of a back seat when I realised it was starting to encroach on the actual backpacking itself. I was conscious of capturing photos and images of walks for blogging rather than enjoying the moment, and often left me feeling still attached to day to day life rather than escaping for a few precious days. I’d still like to share the experience with others, but in a way which puts more priority on making memories for myself.

    1. I sympathise with that although I tend to take a lot of photos anyway. It seems to me that making a full blown video takes a lot of effort. For me, that would spoil it, but a few short video clips might work. It does take a lot of effort to write longer posts, particularly something like the TGO Challenge.

    2. One of the greatest liberations for me woth backpacking is leaving my camera at home. Not only does it save me from feeling the need to share this with others when i get back home but it saves a good weight to from around my sure i will take my camera out again but for time being i just use my phone to take a couple of photos and thats that. Otherwise i start concentrating on photography and getting things just so.

  2. Interesting thoughts, I tend to agree, slideshows with a bit of commentary is most agreeable, i’m not into this whole YT look at me doing xyz thing except gear videos LOL

  3. In 2007 you were already just about on the downslope of the bell curve regarding blogging and personal websites. I started our website way back in 2003, and our blog a while later, in the good old days of the web when there were relatively few of us hobbyists creating online content, before the rot set in and the whole scene inevitably fell to rampant commercialism and the cancer of social media.

    Blogs are declining mainly because people have moved to the likes of Farcebook and Twatter. Forums are also declining for the same reasons, the once very busy OutdoorsMagic is practically dead in the water. I keep our blog going for one reason only: its WordPress-based core proactively informs our RSS subscribers of posts that I make to announce new trip reports on the main site (I know from emails that a significant number of people still appreciate this). Speaking of RSS, that is declining too, which is a further blow for blogs: this year Mozilla removed support for RSS feeds from Firefox citing extremely little usage.

    You’re absolutely right about Youtube for gear reviews. Static web pages don’t cut it now, people want well presented, detailed video reviews like those of Bob at backpackinglight, which is understandable, I use them myself.
    I don’t much care for that other type of outdoor video either, the self indulgent fly-on-the-wall time wasters that are usually on a par with cat videos. Very occasionally there might be something worth seeing but it’s slim pickings, I still think photos are much better suited for landscapes in trip reports.

    Incidentally, there is one minor annoyance present on almost every trip report website I’ve seen: the photos are not captioned. They don’t even have a Title attribute in the HTML that would at least allow the reader to see a caption by hovering the pointer. I was careful to include both right from the beginning.

    Inclusion of maps would be a big improvement. How will you approach it?. The simple way is a map image file, but that runs the (very slight) risk of incurring the wrath of the OS. Doing it properly via the OS map API is the correct and much better way but is technically far more involved and the sands are shifting – OS no longer directly support the OpenSpace interface.

    1. I’m guilty of not captioning. A bit lazy really. On the other hand I usually provide a map of the route. I just take a screen grab from a Tracklogs route programme. If the OS get shirty, I’ll do something different. The problem with relying on any kind of interface is you are stuffed if they decide to change it. I used to do slideshows on Picasa but then Google ditched it.

  4. Totally agree with Geoff about captioning. Pictures never speak for themselves – they always need words.

    I’m sorry to hear that you’re giving up the written word Robin. I’m one of what I suspect is a declining minority of people who prefer to read rather than watch content. I prefer to be in control of the pace, deciding which bits to re-read and which bits to skip. Words+pictures always trumps pictures + commentary for me.

    1. I shall still do some written commentary but just not as much. I’ll experiment with a bit of mix and match. I very much doubt I will be doing spoken commentary. It’s really hard to do in an interesting way.

  5. Whether a written article or a video is best depends on the subject matter, the audience, and the person presenting it. It also depends on whether the aim is to entertain or inform (or both). Sometimes a video can convey information quickly that would be difficult to explain in a written article, sometimes it’s the other way round. A good video or a well written blog post can both be entertaining.

    The audience matters too – some people engage better with one format or another, and some people have more spare time to watch videos or read articles (e.g. for me it’s much easier to read an article whilst commuting by train than read a video).

    I’ve been reading your blog via RSS for a while but have rarely visited it. I think your blog works well. I could see it working as a YouTube channel with spoken commentary if that’s what you wanted to do but I suspect it’d take far longer to watch a video which conveyed all the information in one of your blog posts than it does to read the post.

    1. Thanks for your comments. I don’t think I will be going the route of providing a spoken commentary. I do think a video slideshow of stills, maybe with short clips of video provides a more satisfactory experience of a trip than trying to cram in too many photos on a blog post (which I think I’ve been guilty of). That said, I’m inclined to still provide some written commentary on a trip to provide some information and context as well as some observations.

  6. I find I have a disinclination to blog much these days but that’s as much to do with other stuff encroaching on my spare time as a lack of oomph. However one thing I do like is the fact that I still have the blog and still do a bit of updating as that means I have a record of what I have done in the past. Having said that I can also see how obsessive I was back then! 🙂

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