Some twelve years ago most agreed that the emerging blogosphere could very well be an omen of the end of traditional media as we knew them, and may have been right, to a certain extent.
Thing is, of course, that the old media had long since embarked on a suicidal path leading to its own demise, starting with its free distribution of online news until then reserved for the paper editions, in the hope that online advertising would compensate, perhaps even abundantly, for the disappearance of paper-based advertisements, as well as subscriptions and single-copy sales.
Along came the bursting dot com bubble, shortly followed by the blogosphere, or should I say blogosfear, instilling much terror in the newsrooms, resulting in popular blogs that soon came to be serious competitors on a global scale. Suffice it to mention Arianna Huffington, whose HufPo grew exponentially, in terms of traffic, until it, upon a few years in existence, ended as a media powerhouse to be reckoned with internationally, as a media conglomerate, eventually encompassing several national editions, including English (of course), French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, German, Arabic, Portuguese, Korean and Greek – coinciding with the trad media’s discontinuation of paper editions, one newspaper after the other. All the while, of course, other blogs swelled into national and international players of distinct repute.
The rest, as they say, is history. Enter, however, the seven or eight later years’ shift in the blogosphere, too, with a growing number of platforms, in tandem with the immense growth in social media participation, all contributing to the blogosphere’s – no longer a singular, interacting, community* – gradual disruption.
I really cannot speak for bloggers everywhere, but I do know that in my own neck of the woods, i.e. Norway, most of those wanting to be part of the media democratisation gave up, reverting to Twitter or Facebook, while others were absorbed by the traditional media, which could very well have been their driving force in the first place. The rest of us, on the other hand, simply gave up or carried on, in spite of it all, slowly waking up to a reality rendering blogging synonymous with lifestyle blogging, and that alone. Pink bloggers, we call them, predominantly comprising younger females showing off today’s outfit, makeup and fitness tricks, clubbing adventures and travels, amassing a huge following.
In other words I – an old man pushing 55 – admit to be a blogger at the risk of being lumped in with said crowd, which is why I find myself returning to square one, increasingly blogging in English, as I did when I once started out (coz there really wasn’t a Norwegian blogosphere worth speaking of), thereby creating a distance to what is currently considered blogging in my native country.
Truth be told I find myself paying more attention to my blogs, at the cost of my social media presence.
As for the future of trad media, I fear the worst is yet to come, but it’s nothing to do with blogs. So I’ll carry on as if nothing ever happened, observing walls tumbling down, hopefully including the paywalls.
Top photo: Andy Warhol, Debbie Harry, an art blog and an Amiga 1000. Subtitles added by blogger. Speaking of art blogs, I do keep one, you know (among numerous others), even if I rarely take the time to keep it up-to-date.
*Some may even remember when the entire Internet was one.