While I don't claim to know or predict the future, I do feel like this whole blogging thing is gonna peak sooner or later. After that it may die off or continue along just fine. But either way I suspect blogging as a "hot thing" can only last so long.

How long? That's the question.

It seems to me that the advertising bits are falling into place, the tools are beginning to mature, the marketplace of platform and service vendors will be consolidating soon, and well... everything seems to be falling into place.

What's still missing?

Blogging now feels like on-line shopping around the year 2000 or 2001. Most of us no longer think it's a miracle that it works, a new thing, scary, difficult, hard to understand, etc.

So I'm starting to wonder what the timeline might look like. Roughly when do you expect blogging to go from being "the new thing" or "the thing that changes/reinvents X" to just another part of daily life for a bunch of people? ...just like on-line shopping.

Posted by jzawodn at July 20, 2005 12:10 PM

Reader Comments
# jim winstead said:

i'd be open to the idea that it has already done so.

on July 20, 2005 12:31 PM
# Simon Willison said:

I see blogging as a natural progression for the web. Weblogs are really just an embodiment of a bunch of principles that add up to a good site: permanent links, frequently updated content, timeliness emphasized over other points, logical navigation, feedback mechanisms and a decent content management system to make updating sites easy.

Personal publishing on the other hand I think still has a long way to go. There are millions of people out there with interesting things to say who haven't yet realised that they can join a global conversation with their peers, and build up a personal reputation at the same time.

When there are as many blogs about antique trading as there are about web technologies, then I'll believe it's hit its peak.

Of course, your original question was when will it stop being the latest and greatest. I'd say that will be when a majority of the population have a reasonable understanding of what it is - which is pretty much the same criteria that could have been used for online shopping a few years ago.

on July 20, 2005 12:51 PM
# Nick W said:

3 possible answers to that:

* Who cares?
* Who cares, but god let it be soon!
* It already has

To me, someone who has the luxury of getting to spend a LOT of time reading online, the love affair has been turning sour for a few months now. Nothing huge, but the blogpuppies are burning out, or starting to sound lame to others and journalists aren't half as afraid as the die-hards would have us believe...

on July 20, 2005 01:05 PM
# John Herren said:

I don't think blogging will hit a peak as much as I think it will evolve. We've come a long way from .plan files. The folks that developed blogging technology are now the same people developing ways to aggregate and mash up all the meta data from the blogosphere. Soon we'll be using search primarily based on this meta data instead of the original content.

http://del.icio.us/popular is the new Slashdot.

Back to the point, to question whether blogging will hit it's peak is like asking if personal website publishing will peak. A 'blog' is just an implementation of the current set of trendy technology.

I do think the trendiness will wear off soon enough. It's evident by the number of sparse and abandoned blogs. At least folks are dipping a toe in the water to try it out.

on July 20, 2005 01:25 PM
# danithew said:

Whether blogging will ever peak, I don't know. As has been mentioned by at least one person, there are still many millions (perhaps billions) of people who haven't even begun to express themselves.

on July 20, 2005 01:30 PM
# Marcel P said:

Blogs are going to become a normal boring staple item in our online diet. And nothing is wrong with that... In fact it's a good thing....

I can't wait to see what else can be spawned from blogs...

on July 20, 2005 01:37 PM
# Marcel P said:

Oh, and there is still room for growth... Even today, the normal John Does does not know what a blog is, or how to recognize it.

"Blog what ?"
"What's that ?"
"Huh ?"

On a semi-related note... you might be interested in
Common Blog Mistakes and Users Can't Distinguish Blogs http://rssdiary.marketingstudies.net/content/common_blog_mistakes_and_users_cant_distinguish_blogs.php

on July 20, 2005 01:42 PM
# Greg said:

Maybe the blog will go the way of the personal home page. How long did it take for the "Welcome to Greg's Homepage" thing to die? My earliest memories of graphical web browsing include a large number of biographical sites with pretty static content. Now, I don't see them in their plain form so much anymore. They've evolved into blogs, online portfolios, MySpace (boooo) profiles, etc. I'd say they're dead now. I think they were dead by the end of the dot-com boom. Let's say R.I.P. Boring Personal Homepages (1993-2001), died of loneliness. Prognosis: R.I.P. Blogs (1999?-2007), died of overpopulation.

8 years from standard nerd fare to forgotten mainstream fad.

on July 20, 2005 02:07 PM
# Anil said:

"Most of us no longer think it's a miracle that it works, a new thing, scary, difficult, hard to understand, etc."

Well, if "most of us" == "people who know what XML stands for", you're right. Most of the normals have only just barely heard of blogging now. That tends to be when it actually takes off.

To be fair, I like that Jim put his money where his mouth is on his bet. :)

I think, as an end-user technology, Amazon solved online shopping in '96 or so. But as something that's interesting as a business, I think Amazon didn't get interesting until AWS had been out for a while. So it depends what you mean by "the blogging thing".

And as far as "There are just more tools , features, and functionality." -- this is pretty much true of everything ever. This is also an accurate comparison of HTTP vs. telnet, but I assume there are those who yawn at that distinction as well.

And die of overpopulation? Is that in the same way that email and IM have failed due to wide adoption?

on July 20, 2005 02:18 PM
# Max Clark said:

That's really a past tense question. When reporters on CNN are talking about Blogs and the impact Bloggers will have on the nomination/confirmation process to the supreme court - it's no longer new news.

Think about the parallel with MP3s, when the news started talking about MP3s and Napster, it was just a matter of time.

on July 20, 2005 04:26 PM
# Hashim said:

Online shopping has peaked? Last week bought my first book from Amazon! (what a great service, by the way). And I'm the first in my immediate family to purchase anything online.

on July 20, 2005 05:57 PM
# Andrew said:

I'm going to have to say that the term "blogging" is peaking but the concept has a way to go.

IMO - blogging will remain on a hot streak as long as Corporate America welcomes the concept. Blogging ads a great element to personal and professional life. Companies will begin to realize that blogging will help and cut the cost of traditional PR. Public relation agencies will be the ones suffering until an executive crosses the line while blogging. (They will be needed again if this should occur.) The corporate world will bring this into mainstream but will also be the first to take it out.

I think I just forgot what i was commenting on - sorry for babbling.

on July 20, 2005 07:45 PM
# Jeremy's Conscience said:

I think a sign that blogging has peaked is the fact that Yahoo has turned this formerly thought-provoking blog into a mere PR gig that is a loose cover for you to evangelize Yahoo's products and crack on everyone else's. And you're actually pretty cheap, too, come to think of it (especially compared to what I hear Scoble makes for doing PR for Microsoft - he's making a killing). Proof positive is the fact that you remove comments from people who point out this fact. And I do mean fact. Or phact. Either way, you are a phony pundit. But a true geek. (The Spock ears type, not the Wired type.)

on July 20, 2005 10:19 PM
# Heiko Hebig said:

Blogging *might* peak in some markets. However, in some markets it's just starting to gain momentum. And compared to the number of people that shop at Amazon or sell at eBay, blogging still has ways to go before a peak can be seen. Once blogging software is even easier to use, it will open up to even more users. No peak just yet, imho.

on July 21, 2005 02:55 AM
# Chris K said:

I'm not sure blogging has peaked, or is close to it really.

I look around at the people I work with, and most of them are just now hearing the word blog for the first time.

And I can't help but to think that since we are familiar with blogs that perhaps some of the initial romance is wearing off which may make it seem, to us, that blogs are peaking, but there are still millions of people who haven't even realized we're out here.

For those of us who have been blogging for years in one form or another, I believe things will just evolve from here. The lines between personal and business will continue to blur. Media will change, consolidate, become more interactive.

New technologies will come out that will allow us to send data about our current state (location, activity, whatever) to our blogs, and be able to receive the same information about our friends. Real live social networking with mesh with what's online, and personal relationships will continue to develop and grow.

Just my opinion, but I think I already see some of this happening.

on July 21, 2005 05:01 AM
# Michael Martine said:

Gartner did some study on hype/adoption curves which they call hype cycles. I wrote about it here: http://www.michaelmartine.com/2005/05/09/hype-cycles-explained/
And here's their page on it: http://www.gartner.com/pages/story.php.id.8795.s.8.jsp. I don't think blogs are going away, because they're showing a growing number of people what the promise of internet really is via open, direct, and authentic communication with a human voice. Blogs are killing marketing-speak and pr-speak, and good riddance. It hasn't peaked yet, but it will, soon. Then the adoption rate will slowly rise over time, like ecommerce. And, like ecommerce and all of its unintended consequences, blogs really will change everything. That change will be slower than predicted, but also more profound than predicted.

on July 21, 2005 06:21 AM
# Ed Deevy said:

Blogging will not peak until it becomes mainstream in the general business community. My guess is that it will be several years before this happens. It will happen when people realize that you don't need specialized(IT)skills to publish an interactive blog. In my work as an organizational consultant I try to convince clients that having a tool for easy ongoing communication with key stakeholder groups is much more valuable than having a static web site dying of lonliness out in cyberspace.

on July 21, 2005 06:22 AM
# The Real Returns said:

It is important to note that even if the blogging is peaked, it does not mean it will start a free fall off a cliff. It may stay at the elevated position for a long time to come, maybe forever.

on July 21, 2005 06:57 AM
# Randy Arch said:

A few years ago, John Malone, (TCI, Liberty), said something provocative. He claimed porn led the way in many innovations on the web. I think the same thing is happening with blogging. I hasn't peaked, it's evolving. How? Look at some porn aggregator sites are doing. They have created "communities" where "consumers" of the oldest profession in the world come together to discuss their activities. Whether it's who's good, who's bad, go here, stay away from there, could someone provide this or that...in effect, it's just individual blogs about a subject of common interest. They appear popular, include advertising and seem to generate income for people. Why couldn't there be the same thing for furniture purchases, the local home market, auto repair...ect. IMHO there will be, and blogging will be the basis for it.

on July 21, 2005 08:30 AM
# Tim Howland said:

Online shopping's hype may have peaked, but it's still growing in terms of $$ at 12% a year- we have some clients that have seen 30% annual growth for five years now.

Looks to me like blogging is just starting to cross the chasm from early adopter to mainstream acceptance- and that is when it will really take off, in terms of numbers, quality, and revenue opportunities. However, when this happens, the hype will be all about podcasting or RSS-based aggregation businesses by then...

on July 21, 2005 08:41 AM
# Jim Turner said:

I think we are just past the early adopter stage for the individual. I also feel that companies are just now entering the early adopter stage. As more companies hop on the wagon, as in monkey see monkey do, every company will have one just as having that static website now.

on July 21, 2005 11:19 AM
# Jay Fienberg said:

Blogging, IMO, is an activity that's going to keep evolving in interesting ways--it's really a way of saying "posting things, big or small, easily on the web".

Blogs, on the other hand, are associated with specific information structures and intentions around those structures. And, I think that thing, "the blog", is already past it's prime.

(I'd say it probably peaked last year-- but, of course, see the Corallary to "Blood's Law of Weblog History":


-- so true!).

But, as an example, I think Flickr and del.icio.us are great, significantly established, examples of people blogging without / outside of blogs. There is a lot of innovation around blogging in this sense, and it's already outside of the blog-box.

on July 21, 2005 12:00 PM
# Brian Barnett said:


I don't think blogging has even started to peak yet. I guess I would call myself a late early-adapter. I just started blogging about 3 months ago (and just realized how fun it could be). I think blogging has peaked for the early adapters, but I think you will see at least another 50-75% (maybe 90%) increase in the number of blogs out there as blogging catches on with the mainstream crowd (think grandma writing about her trips to Vegas for all of her retirement village friends). Of course, as far as overall content quality, I think this will be decreasing.

on July 21, 2005 07:23 PM
# TechTrader said:

Blogging will peak when the mainstream media boys start acquiring blogging companies like Corante and create a valuation bubble. I think that acquisition sprees in any particular sector are an excellent demonstration of collaborative intelligence.
Here's why:
1. The blog owners (or blog networks - the most viable blog model), will not sell until they feel that they have captured all of the growth that they can easily capture on their own or are threatened by mainstream media outlets figuring out that they can do blogging as well, if not better than the amateurs (is there such thing as a blogging amateur? redundant? the whole point?). In other words, as long as there is easy money to be made, bloggers will try to make themselves. When the world gets difficult is when they will sell out to a larger company that doesn't have as fine-tuned a grasp on the market yet believes *they MUST get in the market*.
2. Big public companies will decide that they HAVE to be "in the blog market". When "have to" is added to a public company's mission, it becomes "Strategic". This is important because this is a signal to M&A bankers that lets them know that public companies will pay irrational "Strategic" prices. M&A guys get very excited about this because then you have a situation like News Corp buying MySpace...uh, I mean Intermix for 6X revenues.
3. The big media companies will slightly alter their media model to incorporate the blogs and assimilate out any remainders of specialness and all of the early adopters that made blogs blogs will move onto another pasture (mobile RSS collaborative artplay - or whatever) and start again. The mass market (red states) will now begin to consume blogs because their uppity know-it-all kids who went to "that pansy liberal arts college in the North" will show them how to use a mouse and Disney will sell them Mickey Mouse t-shirts for $18.99 plus $38.95 shipping and handling fees all day long.
Just a thought.

on July 22, 2005 11:24 AM
# Karl said:

"when do you expect blogging to go from being "the new thing" or "the thing that changes/reinvents X" to just another part of daily life for a bunch of people? ...just like on-line shopping."

Great question. I'd say at Xanga, LiveJournal, and MySpace are where you will already find folks blogging who look at it as just another thing to do online - like email and online shopping. So I'd say that day has almost arrived, if not already, for millions of people.

However, we aren't even close to peaking in terms of innovation or in raw numbers of adopters.

on July 23, 2005 09:07 AM
# Dougal Campbell said:

I'd compare it more to where email was around '96-'97. Most people (even non-technical ones) have at least heard of it. But there are still plenty of people (even technical ones) who don't have their own yet.

I've got plenty of friends who are quite technically proficient (computer security experts, perl coders, network administrators, and even web designers), but who don't have a blog. Some of them don't even have an old-school "home page" that I can point to.

Of course, I doubt that blogging will ever reach the level of ubiquity that email has. There is far less demand for public publishing than there is for private communication. Email and IM already fill the private communication niche very well, so I doubt we'll see any kind of migration to private blogging anytime soon.

on July 25, 2005 08:42 AM
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