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Why the now stream hasn’t killed the blog

By Tim Fuell - April 20, 2014

If certain articles in newspapers and rumours on Twitter are true, this should really be the last blog I write… but it won’t be. Blogging is not dead. Just as when blogging came along and gained success an people claimed newspapers and magazines were dead. Admittedly, amongst increased competition in a multi-platform environment readerships and traffic may have fallen but in most cases not to such an extent to render them beyond their sell-by date. The hype around the death of blogging is based on the proliference of other social media forms, but in reality all can work together alongside traditional formats too.

What’s the now stream?

We live in an instant world. People want stuff instantly.

Facebook timeline, Twitter feed, Pinterest feed, Snapchat, it’s all about the here and right now, most would even like it now-er if that was possible – or even a word! They create the now stream, rising in popularity and credibility by the day. Yet it doesn’t mean blogging is dead.

Evolution not revolution

Blogs rose in credibility and success when people realised they could provide wider and faster access to certain topics than traditional media. The platforms forming the now stream have simply evolved that practice one more step., but it doesn’t mean they will have it all their own way from here on in.

It is easy to understand that people don’t digest blogs as much as they did 5 years ago. There is simply more competition both in the blogsphere and also from other media platforms. The digital revolution continues apace but for bloggers it is about evolution of practices and embracing new technologies including those forming the now stream.

Changing times bring good news too

One of the good things about the change is that more and more people are turning online for their reading shunning traditional magazines. In turn traditional media are turning their own offerings digital and going online. There’s also a discrepancy in the definition of a blog. Is it just one person’s rant or rather a hub for comment and articles? If the latter then the most successful online magazines are blogs – take Forbes.com for example – even online newspapers, in the strive to become mobile-friendly, look more like a blog than some blogs. The desire for online content is still growing and blogs will continue to play a big part in that.

Bringing to life articles

Online articles have the ability to be a more developed version of the same piece in print and the modern reader gets that and wants that. As an analogy it is like creating a 3D version of a print article. Suddenly it is possible to hear what the writer is writing about, view a video or a gallery of photographs few print publications could justify room for. Online articles can bring to life what the author is expressing in words far better than even the greatest wordsmith could prove.

Longer form online is a winner even over short nows

Whilst the trend is for short, sharp, sentences and 140 character limits, other studies show there is still a desire to read more in-depth and in fact those sorts of articles actually get greater engagement (social shares, comments, etc) than the shorter ones. It does appear that if you invest in your readers with relevant, well research and well written content, then they will invest in you. The success of sharing apps and online systems like Flipboard, Paper.li, etc goes to prove that it is not all about squeezing content into a tweet or single post. With education and experience comes less need for now, so the rise in older generations moving online, who have a greater propensity for this longer form will only serve to increase the demand for in-depth online articles, perfectly formed within a blog environment.

Embrace the now

So the now stream isn’t about to kill off your blog but that isn’t reason to ignore now. In fact it is time you made sure you are using the now stream to promote your blog. It would be foolish to ignore the other social channels. Although technically rivals, they can also support, advertise & market your blog and for little or no money too. Blogs that don’t embrace the now stream platforms will get left behind, so it is almost a now or never decision.