So what do you think will be the future for blogs? This Easter my blog will be ten years old and as it’s such a significant anniversary, I have been having a little think about what to do with it next. It’s not quite had the same success at the Apple iPhone which was also launched ten years ago and so I haven’t yet got passed the WHAT THE FUCK SHOULD BE DONE WITH A TEN YEAR OLD BLOG?? It’s such a dinosaur/veteran these days that perhaps it should simply be put out to pasture and retire gracefully on account of it becoming near obsolete or is there still a place for family blogs in the future?
The internet is changing from the internet of websites to the internet of mobile phone apps and social platforms, so where does that leave blogs? Nowhere? Or will some of them hang on in there? Or do they need to evolve into other things? The beauty and fashion bloggers are jumping ship in large numbers. The large influencers are closing their blogs due to traffic moving across to other platforms such as Instagram and they are suffering a loss of advertising revenue that can be more easily maintained by posting photographs on an app. I’m not sure this is necessarily the same for the blogs that choose not to take advertising. Certainly the landscape has changed – the numbers of readers might well have grown, but the engagement levels have dramatically reduced since Twitter arrived and everyone is just too damn busy these days to hover around for too long.
It’s a shame because that was my favourite bit. Having a place to share thoughts. Do you think that’s gone forever, or could I get it back if I focused on issues that concern women my age? Because I really miss the conversations about our changing body shape, about how white wine can give us cramp, about how hot flushes don’t necessarily mean we have malaria, the clothes that suit us, where to buy stuff, what we like to eat and drink, our increasingly grown up children, our worries, fears and concerns, our pets, our favourite things…
The main issue is that technology is changing so rapidly at the moment that it is impossible to predict the outcome. With the arrival of Trump in White House even the quality of information in our Post Truth world has changed and it is putting stress on our democracies and communities. More politicians are following his lead in using social media as a substitute for traditional media in order to define issues and break new policy. The elections in France and Germany will increasingly highlight the power of new communication channels as traditional media continues to lose both influence and money.
There continues to be a decline in newspapers in the US and Europe as they go out of business, slim down or become online-only. The trusted voice is still key and honesty is even more important these days, but when I started my traumatised little blog, there were only a handful of them out there and now there are millions. There are some fantastic sites now for women writers to share their experiences which has also removed the need for individual blogs saying similar things. However, there is a greater demand for transparency, regulation and independent human control as computers increasingly select what news stories we receive, recommend where we eat, where we stay and how we travel. There is also an increasing demand for high quality content to build loyalty and keep attention – even if only the largest and most prestigious publishers are likely to reap the benefits and for individual bloggers, this requires super-human efforts of dedication bordering on insanity that I am simply not able to do. Additionally it is the younger generations, in particular the millennials who are the goldmine for brands right now and they have skills I still haven’t heard of and can invest far more time, energy and experience in promoting themselves across all platforms to successfully stop themselves from getting lost in the noise of the blogosphere. They are the relevant ones.
So I’m wondering whether there is still a space for the baby-boomers (who are very on trend right now in the travel industry). The older woman in general is getting more exposure, which can be seen, not only from films like “20th Century Women” with Annette Bening playing a great lead character, but on the catwalks where much older model are sporting many a top designers’ clothes. This is great news, but is it enough?
Video and podcasts have become key and will continue to grow, but what happens if you’re a bit shit at doing this and don’t have the time or indeed look the part? Producing online video is risky and expensive and whilst Virtual Reality remains something everyone is talking about, it still hasn’t found it’s place quite yet. Artificial Intelligence (AI) will take over from mobile as the hottest topic in technology and so voice activation will increase, perhaps making traditional typing on blogs seem archaic, even if there are still big issues about the practical and ethical dilemmas around how it will be used.
Then there is the rise of robots, which, according to researchers at Oxford University could lead to the loss of around half (47%) of jobs in the United States over the next two decades. Will the robots take over from the bloggers as even more information gets released into the blogosphere?
So a lot to think and worry about in the next month, but if I stopped, who would keep my cat company??