Monday, August 22, 2011

The Evolution of Design Blogs

I recently read a rather heated discussion over on the Garden Web forum about the evolution of design blogs. Readers were bemoaning how many bloggers have stopped posting lovely eye-candy and juicy tid-bits about design projects. And yes, you might have heard crickets chirping over here as well. Motherhood, with it's rigorous schedule, has forced me to re-examining how I want to utilize the communication tool that is this blog, Hue.

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Many bloggers have evolved in the direction of money-making posts, or updates about his or her personal life. Discussion forum readers were expressing their displeasure with these recent turn of events. "Why is everything changing?" they want to know. Lately, bloggers seem to be less interested in sharing another fabulous photos of some gorgeous interior, and more interested in sharing their latest endeavors. Many are branching out professionally by teaching seminars, or developing product lines.
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Others are raising families, or blazing new trails, and want to share those milestones with readers.

Personally, I think evolution is healthy, to be encouraged. Without growth, we stagnate. As professionals figuring out the terrain that is online content, we have to push boundaries and try new avenues. Sure, pretty pictures are fun to browse through, but from a development standpoint, doesn't get you very far. Blogs are personal sites, edited and curated by individuals. So naturally, these sites should and will reflect it's owner.

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Newspapers and magazines are struggling to remain in business because competition for free content is stiff. People are no longer interested in paying for subscriptions when they can get the information for free online. But this can't continue forever, and solid, accurate data is a commodity we'll never stop needing. The wild west of online content has got to smooth out eventually, and when publications start charging for content again, my sense is that readership will simply fall in line, accepting that once again, you must pay for credible information.

What are your thoughts? I know several fellow bloggers who have put blogs on hold to re-examine goals. Where do you think the world of blogs is heading?


Hollie said...

I am not an expert on the world of blogging, but I would guess it has a lot to do with the state of the economy. The design industry was hit particularly hard by the housing bust and I think it has forced many people to refocus their careers and seek out new sources of fulfillment. Since blogs are such a personal form of expression, it makes sense that the instability we are all feeling right now would have an effect on what or if people are posting.

An Eye for Detail said...

Lots to say Rachel...

I think blogs got off to a flying start. Everyone was eager to join the party, no matter what their story or way of telling it. And this has continued for several years.

Then, gradually, bloggers, i.e. real people, got tired of posting, researching, being clever etc. Some dropped out of blogland entirely. Others have "reformatted".

I agree that it is a natural evolution. One friend said she is tired of giving out all this great information for free. What if we formed "consortiums", groups of maybe five different, diverse subject blogs, and charged a nominal fee to subscribe. How would that go over, do you think?

Yes, comments and feed back and emails are great and carry the some extent. But sometimes that's not enough. Enter the desire to make some money. But, we all know, that is a very very difficult goal to achieve with a personal blog.

Ok, I'm rambling! For now, I'll think about it some more and look forward to seeing more comments here!

unifiedspace said...

Good points and I always like the issues you raise. I think there will continue to be good blogs out there. I think they should be fairly brief and if you like the content, the blogger may go on to write a book/product etc which would create revenue. I am pretty sure we all blog for an end result, whether its to attract clients/commissions/market products etc. There are millions of great food writers giving us their recipes for free - if we try them and they work, we may buy their book. Same for design blogs.I also think blogging keeps you up- to- date, focused and disciplined.

Marie Brady said...

Great points and food for thought. I don't blog all that often and not unless I have something I think is worth my readers time. But I so enjoy the blogs I read, they just take soooo long to put together. With two kids, I just don't have the time frankly. I think blogging is indeed evolving as people struggle with the time it takes to put up new content.

Ann Porter {KitchAnn} said...

I had to cut back the amount of time I spent researching and posting on my Blogs. It's exhausting to try to come up with interesting posts - I'm a designer, not a writer.

I love it but the design industry was hit super hard and if I look at it from a marketing only stand point it's difficult to justify the lack of return.

If I look at it as a way to have good discussions and make new friends it's great.

Rachel said...

thanks everyone for weighing in on the state of affairs and for sharing your thoughts. it's really fascinating to hear your different takes on the blogosphere. i think we are all in agreement that the economy has forced a serious refocus. ROI means we have to really look at how we spend our time, and the excitement of sharing information has mellowed out as we've become over-saturated. the wild west blogworld is not such a frontier anymore, i feel.

Elizabeth Brown said...

Okay, I have not posted since June. I am on blog hiatus. It's summer time Orcas are going by and seals are splashing their tails!

I do believe my blog is an important addendum to my website in terms of knowing what I'm talking about and also for SEO in order for customers to find me.

Rachel, YOU WERE THE PIONEER!! We all launched from your amazing springboard. Thank you!

Rachel said...

Elizabeth, you are very sweet :-)
When I started blogging 4 years ago, there were a few great color websites, but i couldn't find any color blogs. i guess i felt like i was filling a gap in the design offerings out there.
guess we all need to take a breather at some point...