With the nominations for the football blogging awards starting up again, it seems an appropriate time to explore how relevant blogging is currently and whether it can survive in a world where people have increasingly short attention spans.
Now, where blogs and analysis once truly thrived on Twitter; the vine and the meme has eclipsed them. The old idea that a picture paints a thousand words certainly seems to be true when it comes to what appeals to people online.
Why bother writing a two thousand word analysis on Manchester United’s performance yesterday, when you could just tweet a picture of David Moyes grinning like a Cheshire Cat instead?
However, should we accept such simplicity? What was once amusing, is becoming mundane, and there really is a limit to how many times you can see the same meme being passed around by the relentless spoof accounts.
Now call me old fashioned, and a snobbish arse if you like, but after a certain age you shouldn’t need a book to have pictures anymore. So, on that front the meme cannot replace written analysis, perhaps merely be an added supplement. All it truly offers is a maximum reward for minimum input. It tells us absolutely nothing, and surely cannot be that funny.
However, I appreciate that I’m in the minority on this one. My blog posts are read by a handful of people, whereas the picture of a baby clenching his fist with the words “David Moyes right now” attached will be seen by millions.
So, how do you compete? The answer is you don’t bother, you just attempt to stick to what you do and hope people appreciate what you’re doing sooner or later. But, you’ll need some help.
The reality is that you aren’t really competing with Memes anyway. It’s just harder to get noticed with them around, clogging up everyone’s timeline.
What we all can do, is support one another by spreading the word of the blogger. If you read something you enjoy, tell the world about it, and help to keep blogging alive. Constantly take a chance on a new blog. Take a few minutes out to see if you enjoy their output. If you do, then tell them.
As long as people want to read different opinions on any range of topics, blogging will be relevant. Analysis or insight that is unencumbered by deadlines, editors, and political agendas will always be appreciated by readers.
The power of the reader, and being appreciated by fellow bloggers can and will help a blog prosper. Regular retweets and sales pitches by fellow bloggers will be worth far more to you than a one off retweet from Henry Winter or Robbie Savage, so value the reader with 5 followers as much as you value the one with 5 million. Spread the word about others, and they’ll do the same for you.
Ultimately, if what you write is worth reading then you’ll find an audience. Blogging can, and will survive, as long as people continue to read them, and pass them on to others.