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January 28, 2012 / Gina D.

Is blogging dead?

The dates of the last posts on each of my blogs (yes, I have more than one) would seem to support an emphatic “YES.” But if the answer is no, does that relegate the likes of Twitter and Facebook to mere promotional vehicles or, worse, just fads?

Yeeeeah. Let me know when you’re finished laughing.

My uncle has been a blog-following fiend — “They will replace newspapers,” he once prophesized while telling me he hadn’t read his “local” newspapers (the Orange County Register and, arguably, the L.A. Times) as well as their websites — since before most journalists really understood what blogs were or how they could be used as tools of our profession. As such, perhaps, he has been a reluctant Twitter-joiner. I’ve told him he could probably use Twitter as a sorting device for the blogs he follows, and he was open to giving it a try. At some family gathering in the near future, I’m sure he will strike up a conversation with the news that he has joined Twitter; and at another one before the end of the year, I’m sure I will be able to get at least one of his daughters to call him a Twitter addict.

His reluctance is, I’m sure, rooted in routine. It’s the same sort I see reflected on the faces of reporters when I tell them that it is my intention to kill nearly every single blog our newsrooms’ staff have been maintaining for years that seem more like decades — the crutch I’ve seen some lean on when their “digital first” mentality is challenged.

In truth, blogocide isn’t exactly the plan. The killing will come, yes, but — after the merging. Or the evolving. Or both.

The harder truth is, we have a slew of blogs that haven’t been touched in years and should have been killed long ago; several that have a faint pulse, having been touched a handful of times a year, often in spurts likely prompted by the notion of killing the blog or an editor’s probing questions about productivity; and only a small few in our blog arsenal that qualify as alive.

That’s not to say I’m a blog-hater. I think there’s still some niches they serve, and serve well. Columnists come to mind. Behind-the-scenes commentary — we call it “transparency” these days — does, too. And, my favorite: instructional. Folks at the highest levels of our company keep blogs I’d file under that header, as well as transparency, too, from time to time.

Blogs can also grow communities that have no boundaries. Charles Apple’s blog came first to mind on that one.

But if it’s straight news — community, breaking or otherwise — the core site is best place to stash it, with links dispersed on any and all social media avenues, of course. Blogs can build upon that news, of course. Community engagement and all that.

But when you hear there’s big breaking news, where’s the first place you’re going to check? A blog? I don’t think so.

And when we think about the readers following our blogs, well, wouldn’t we much rather have them clicking through articles on /city pages — where we can sell much more advertising we can deploy much more easily — and wandering onto other stories in other sections of our websites?

Yes, please.

Blog platforms themselves have recognized the need to move forward. WordPress and Blogspot have evolved much in the last few times I’ve paid a visit to my dashboards.

And me? Well, I’m not what you’d call an avid blogger. But I, too, am beginning to evolve.

Post edited March 3, 2012.


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