Matt Mullenweg is the founder of Automattic, the company behind WordPress – arguably one of the most popular blogging platforms, and my own personal preference. Mullenweg has been blogging longer than most and weighed in on an article published recently in the New York Times that suggests blogging is being replaced by Facebook, Twitter and other services:
The New York Times has a pretty prominent article today called Blogs Wane as the Young Drift to Sites Like Twitter. The title was probably written by an editor, not the author, because as soon as the article gets past the two token teenagers who tumble and Facebook instead of blogging, the stats show all the major blogging services growing — even Blogger whose global “unique visitors rose 9 percent, to 323 million,” meaning it grew about 6 Foursquares last year alone. (In the same timeframe WordPress.com grew about 80 million uniques according to Quantcast.)
As Mullenweg points out, the actual text of the article seems to diverge from the headline. Here is my two cents: Facebook is great for keeping in touch with friends and family. Twitter is an excellent short-messaging service for keeping up with what is happening. LinkedIn is great for keeping in touch with professional contacts. By a large margin, the vast majority of messages that catch my attention on these services includes links to articles and blog posts. In other words, these services are great for getting the message out, but for the real “meat and potatoes” of an idea or piece of news, longer-form articles are irreplaceable.
I view Twitter, Facebook and other social messaging sites as a stream of headlines. But a headline is just a tease. I too saw the headline from the article above in the NYT, and had a similar reaction as Mullenweg. Thus, the old cliche is still true – you can’t judge a book by its cover, nor can you judge an article by its headline.
Content is still king, in my book. While younger people may use social media similar to how most people used telegrams and postcards, that doesn’t negate the relevance of longer-form content. I know that my life and experience is much richer thanks to the advent of blogging. While I do enjoy writing and creating content myself, I gain much more from the content that others produce. For me, blogs are like the “eyes of the world.”
Update: TechCrunch blogger, MG Siegler, has offered his take on this subject as well.