Five years ago George Bush still had two years left in office, Saddam Hussein was found guilty and hanged, and I entered the world of blogging. At the time, I felt like I was late to the game. But I jumped in without looking back.
Even though it's only been five years, blogging has changed significantly. Much of that has to do with Twitter. When I first began blogging, it was common for writers to post several times a day to their blog. If we wanted to share a quote, or a web link, or embed a video--we would post that on our blog.
Then along came Twitter. I jumped on board in May 2008. Twitter was two-years old, but most the world had never even heard of it. It's only been in the past couple years that Twitter has taken off and realized mainstream acceptance. And it has changed the world of online communication.
Clive Thompson wrote in a recent issue of Wired Magazine, "...years ago, my favorite bloggers wrote a link with a couple of sentences of commentary--and they'd update a few times a day. Once Twitter arrived, they began blogging less often with much longer, more-in-depth essays."
Five years ago, the general rule when posting on your blog was: Keep it short. When talking to people starting up a blog, I said many times, "People won't read your blog if the articles are too long." That's when blogs were the front door to the information you wanted. Now Twitter is the front door. People will write a 140-character micro-summary with a link--and if it hooks you, you will click on it to read the article. Fewer and fewer people will go directly to your blog, and most won't let it junk up their inbox. Instead they will follow Twitter and only click on links to articles that catch their interest.
For that reason, I think it is actually advisable to change the way you blog. Focus on quality, not quantity. Don't feel guilty if you can only post once every few weeks. Make those articles count. Treat each post like you are writing a chapter in a book.
Length doesn't matter anymore. Thompson (the dude from Wired Magazine) agrees. He quotes a blogger who says, "I save the little stuff for Twitter and blog only when I have something big to say." Thompson goes on to say, "I turns out readers prefer this: One survey found that the most popular blog posts today are the longest ones, 1,600 words on average."
With that as a benchmark, this post is way too short at 455 words. Even so, hopefully it will help you look at blogging through a new lens.