I’m working on a revision of my book Blogging, and it’s really interesting revisiting this book that I wrote five years ago. One thing is that social media wasn’t a familiar term back then, and that Path, Pinterest and and many other popular sites didn’t exist. But there are lots of other little things that have changed.


In this section I talk about the tools we use(d) to see the networks blogs are part of, and called this the “exoskeleton” of blogs. I’m not reallye sure if the blogosphere works like that any more, though. I find blog posts in my rss reader or on twitter or Facebook and only rarely by following links from other blogs as I used to do. Maybe I exaggerate – but it seems to me that blogs link to each other less today? Have you come across any research or studies about this? And what is YOUR impression?

10 thoughts on “Do people still see blogs as networks?

  1. collin

    I’ve just started up blogging again in the past month or so, and I’ve definitely noticed some of what you’re talking about. This is all napkin theorizing, but my sense is that it’s moved from the inbox model of RSS readers to the streams of FB and Twitter. That’s where I find most of the things I read as well. And I use Instapaper a lot to read the things I find there.

    And folks have different rules/expectations for their streams–I can sub to a blog through a reader without needing them to confirm me as a friend, for example 🙂 The timing of announcing posts on Twitter or FB can easily get drowned out by conference live-tweeting or the latest memes. And it feels like there’s less serendipity involved–less burst, more flow.

    Don’t know that either model is necessarily better, but it does feel like the instant gratification of the trending topic has overtaken what we used to think of as the blogosphere…

    Good luck with the revisions!

  2. Steven D. Krause

    I chaired a roundtable discussion at the computers and writing conference last May called “Is Blogging Dead? Yes, No, Other.” Here’s a link to my video that sums up my 3 minute spiel:


    I think that blogs have started to function differently in that now what folks are doing is posting content there and then pushing people to it via social media tools like Facebook and Twitter. So yeah, I think you’re basically right here.

  3. Jill

    Steven, that’s a great summary. From visiting blogs individually, via RSS feeds, as Collin notes, to, now, finding blog posts on Twitter and Facebook. I like your idea, Steven, that perhaps “blogging” the activity has moved to other social media, but that the noun “blog” still exists to describe the things we talk about in those other spaces?

    I also found an interesting post by Amber Naslund, about how comments and immediate responses are no longer common (although you CAN get this on Twitter – but then the responses are usually much less rich, often just simple retweets). Amber says she thinks of blogs as quieter more inspirational spaces (?)

    While some parts of the web become ever more superficial and flighty, others are slowing down. Filtering carefully. Seeking something they can ease into a chair with for a while. It’s as though the rapid-fire chatter has finally worn us down a bit, made us less eager to just say something, anything and more apt to wait until we have something to say that’s worthwhile.

    So blogs are perhaps taking some of the role that books used to take? Slow, sustained reading? Hm. I’m not sure about that.

  4. Anne Helmond

    Interesting question. In a study on the history of the Dutch blogosphere we visualized the Dutch blogosphere between 1999-2009, which allows to see the rise and decline of the Dutch blogosphere, and the increasing role of social media platforms as actors in the blogosphere.

    We coded all the social media platforms per year which you can view here: https://dutchblogosphere.digitalmethods.net/gatlas/
    I’ll try to produce a dynamic graph out of it (which has been on my todo list for ages now).

    While these networks show the outlinks from blogs to social media platforms, and not the inlinks caused by discovering blogs through Twitter or Facebook, it does show how ‘traditional’ blog networks are in decline, over the social media platforms.

    The full paper is online at First Monday: http://www.uic.edu/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/3775/3142

    The graphics and data and visualized networks are online here: https://dutchblogosphere.digitalmethods.net/

  5. William Patrick Wend

    My blogging has changed a lot over the years. I rarely blog about “personal” issues anymore. This is partially because of the rather public nature of my blog (I would say over 50% of my students know about it somehow), but mostly because I don’t care to post about that stuff anymore.

    Nowadays, like earlier commenters, I use my blog to “push” content to other places. I rarely get comments, never really did, but I do get some via Twitter, G+, etc. My blog also serves as a public display of my academic work. That actually came up during one of the interviews for my current position. I find out about other people’s work primarily through Twitter these days.

    I do remember those early days of going through other people’s blogrolls for useful people. I’m finding that a lot of bloggers don’t seem to even update their blogrolls anymore. I have not updated mine in awhile.

  6. Bryan Alexander

    Some of my blogging practices have moved to other venues. Like William, I’ve shifted personal content – mostly to Facebook.
    I’ve also narrowed down each blog’s focus. Things that fall between those foci end up on G+.

    1. Jill

      So blogs are becoming more specialised? Rather than having a single life stream we’re segregating our content into private –> Facebook, professional –> blog, discussion and quick links –> Twitter?

      Mattias Klang actually blogged a comment to this, just like in the good old days 😉 He asks the lack of linking between blogs will actually break the web. I suspect maybe the number of links varies from sector to sector – I mean, in different kinds of blogs?

  7. Mathias Klang

    For me finding news/information is mainly done via my rss, twitter & facebook. Of these Twitter is the most active. If I find anything useful via Twitter I will add rss to my feed but I do not look at the “static” links on peoples blogs and have removed them from mine (because I dont see the use for them).

    I’ve seen quite a few people write that they are returning to blogging after a period on Twitter and I feel that I have begun doing the same.

    Blogging is no longer as central as it once was – but it does give people something to tweet about. Hardly an exoskeleton but still valuable.

  8. Jill

    Right, what would we tweet about without blogs!? 🙂

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