Over at the Nieman Lab, Jason Kottke declares that ‘The Blog Is Dead’.
He notes that much of the sharing work that was in the past done by blogs is now handled by proprietary systems like Facebooks, Instagram and Tumblr, and that while newspapers might appear ‘blog-like’ the breaking news functions they perform are really something different.
I think Jason is ever-so-slightly pessimistic. To my mind, part of the rise of blogs happened because there were no alternative platforms, and systems like WordPress were just so damned easy to use. Now we have much more specialised ways to integrate content.
However, I think the blog is still the best format for specialists to track niche issues that cannot be covered in the same depth by the mainstream media. For example, in the free expression field, specialised law blogs like Jack of Kent, Head of Legal, Inforrm and the UK Human Rights Blog are doing essential work, and the blog format (with many linked posts tracking the evolution of a case or issue) feels just right.
As Jay Rosen keeps saying, “the sources go direct“. When the experts self-publish, they blog. So I think we’re observing a retreat of the blog, not its death. This site will be staying put in 2014, I hope.