Blogging in the Age of Social Media

Please note: This article was first published on Viaduct Dreams and last updated August 28 2018.

I’ve been blogging since 2010, and have witnessed countless blogs start up and disappear again during that time. Many bloggers start out enthusiastically; they blog frequently, set up blogging schedules, and try to turn their ventures into businesses by selling ad space on their sites, finding sponsors, or trying to generate other sources of income. After a few years, they become disillusioned, stop blogging, and eventually let their domain registrations expire.  As Facebook (launched in 2004), Twitter (2006), Instagram (2010) and other social media networks became more and more popular, online communication shifted to those forums. Whereas readers previously frequently engaged with bloggers by commenting on their posts, they now “like,” “retweet” or engage in other – simpler – ways with people who publish content on these social media sites.

I became painfully aware of the ever-changing evolution of the Internet after I started re-reading David Meerman Scott’s excellent book The New Rules of Marketing and PR. I own the book’s 2nd edition, published in 2009 (an updated 6th edition is available). The book’s central message is as valid as it was almost ten years ago: you can market your products and services directly to potential buyers, and you can do it yourself. But the chapter about blogs is somewhat outdated in the book’s 2009 edition, as many bloggers have discontinued their blogs and now publish content only on social networks like Instagram or Twitter. Blogs – as a tool to communicate with readers and to market products and services – are simply not as popular as they used to be.

However, I think this will change again in a few years. Marketing experts are becoming disillusioned with Social Media, they are simply not getting the sales and marketing results they want and need.

Recent scandals about the sale of personal data by social networks for marketing purposes don’t help. I believe that in a few years, people – and small businesses – will start blogging again. Blogs are a great marketing tool. Each published post has its own URL and will show up in online searches. In 2013, I published a few posts about (the lack of) vegan restaurants in Menorca, Spain, on my website The Vegan Tourist, and each summer these posts get the most web traffic of all my published posts.

As with all projects, one needs to have a clear vision for a blog. On my website, Viaduct Dreams, I focus on providing information about my work as a writer and Public Relations consultant. On The Vegan Tourist, I publish information about my self-published restaurant guide The Vegan Tourist: Vienna and about vegan issues in general. I have no intentions to monetize my blogs. I don’t sell ad space and I don’t publish any sponsored posts on those sites. I do provide information about my products (books) and services (ghostwriting, Public Relations consulting) on both websites, so I use them as marketing tools; and I do have an Amazon Associates account (but usually forget to link products I mention in my posts to Amazon’s site). But I don’t have a blogging schedule, I rarely check my Google Analytics statistics, and I don’t care about website traffic. When I have something to say that’s important to me, or when I mull things over in my mind (like the evolution of the Blogosphere…), I blog. It’s as simple as that, and I think that’s why I am still around, while so many bloggers have abandoned their blogs after just a few years. I make my living as a writer, not as a blogger, and therefore don’t need to continuously provide new content for my readers. Blogging is fun, and that’s how it should be.

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