The answer, at least in my particular corner of the universe, is yes. Almost without exception. The reasons are varied; some have new job responsibilities that preclude blogging, others are investing their time in other channels like del.icio.us, Twitter or more recently, FriendFeed, and still others have simply lost the interest.
That interest in blogging, and by extension, writing, will wax and wane does not surprise me. What I do find interesting, however, is that as best I can tell, the reading of blogs is down as well. While it might be natural to link a decline in production with a decline in consumption, I suspect there’s little connecting the two. Even if the authoring of blogs is down – a fact which I can only assert on an anecdotal basis, because I don’t view the general statistics I could discover on Technorati as relevant to this granular a level – the fact remains that there’s a wealth of content available, with more appearing every day. If anything, the individual decline of blogs has been offset by the increasing syndication of content of all shapes and sizes.
No, I think that the primary cause of the decline of blogging consumption is the rise in popularity of other tools. Tools which serve yet shorter attention spans than WordPress and Google Reader.
Andrew Turner, for example, writes that “Twitter means reading fewer blogs,” and while that’s not true of me personally, it is true of many I talk to. Jason Kaneshiro, meanwhile, notes that FriendFeed has essentially obsoleted Google Reader for his usage. And so on.
All of which, of course, is fine. Far be it from me to cast judgment on the technology habits of others; if it’s working for them, fantastic. More power to them, etc etc.
But I have to admit to some concern that our culture – already famously devoid of the capacity for sustained attention – is growing only more so. With technology playing an enabling role.
Is it too much to conclude that, simply because a few people are reading fewer blogs than they once did? Perhaps. But if the drop between the long form and blogs is steep, that between blogs and 140 characters is steeper still.
As Jeff says, there are some things that simply can’t be explained in 140 characters. But even if he summons the energy to post the full story, how many will read it?
So I’m worried. Even if we’re not really doomed.