I thought this was a great quote. It also helps me to put into perspective some of my beliefs about learning, about information, and about changes happening online.
The quote comes from a full article in the Washington Post about the decline of blogging in Iran. A few years ago, Iran emerged as a culture filled with high traffic, powerful blogs. It was called Blogestan. But, these days, as in many other cultures around the world, personal blogging is retreating in favour of corporate social media sites such as Facebook, twitter, and tumblr.
While the article’s stats are specifically about Iran, much of the information rings true no matter where you might live:
“While in the earlier period 68.2 percent of respondents said that they went directly to blogs, now only 30.6 percent do, and 47.3 percent said that they instead access blogs through social media. Social networking sites have become the primary location for comments and discussion.”
“The rise in SNS (social networking sites) has not only significantly affected how and what types of blog content are produced and promoted, but it has also fundamentally altered the nature of the blogger to audience relationships. Over time, most bloggers migrated to SNS to promote their blogs and reach their audience.”
Most people who write a long form blog probably have a similar experience. For example, every single day, twitter drives the most traffic of any site to this blog. I believe that the change from blogging towards the growth of social media sites also speaks to a difference between the want / need for an audience compared to the care and feeding of a community, but that is a post for another time.
I am returning to blogging after a few months away and trying to rediscover my voice and my space in the edutech-o-sphere. There is no doubt that edtech voices are changing. Fewer blogs. More twitter accounts. Fewer communities. More corporations and money. Less open source and more off the rack turnkey solutions. Our community continues to evolve and the results of that on teachers, on teaching, on students and on all our learning isn’t clear. It’s not clear yet who is going to derive most of the benefit from these changes. I’m hoping that the correct answer to that question is teachers and students, but I’m not convinced that is the truth.
One final quote from the article to close:
“Just as vinyl records are still listened to, and considered better than the digital format, they exist without having a real impact on the music industry. In effect, blogs are the vinyl records of the Internet.”
I don’t have a record player any more, but I do have a blog and while we all go through cycles of life and writing, I don’t plan on giving it up any time soon. Records are undergoing a renaissance of sorts right now, there is no reason blogs for learning can’t do the same thing.