April 30, 2014

Are bloggers shifting to Facebook and Twitter?

Checking and re-checking blogs for the Directory of Best Indian Blogs, we keep discovering trends in Indian blogosphere. In the present survey of the Indian blogosphere, which will result in the 2013-14 edition of the Directory, we’ll come up with some new insights.

What provoked us to write this piece is a post on ipatrix website, titled ‘How I Killed DesiPundit’. In this post, the blogger gives details of what forced him to abandon a popular and indeed an excellent blog-curating site DesiPundit. One interesting observation he makes is that Facebook and Twitter contributed to it as these “took people away to easily accessible publishing platforms with a much wider and quicker-reacting audience”.

We have come across a dozen blogs (some so good they were included in the earlier editions of the Directory), which have been closed and the bloggers have started Facebook accounts / pages to reach their target audience.

In the ongoing election season in India, people are talking about Facebook likes and Twitter following statistics, however misleading it may be. Nobody talks about blogs, even about respectable blogs of serious politicians.

Yet, blogs are being maintained and new blogs are being created. We are not in a position to know whether the births are more or deaths, but the blogosphere is still buzzing. On one hand, the digital world is getting numerous [billions a day!] tweets, retweets and facebook postings, and on the other hand high-value content is being created on blogs and other websites. Quantity and urgency – like fast food and booze – will always appeal more than quality stuff – like home-made and healthy food – but that does not mean the latter is irrelevant, insubstantial and dead.

Bloggers have started making good use of Facebook, Twitter and social bookmarking sites in promoting their blogs. Many youth bloggers have reduced posting on the blog and have opened Facebook accounts, and have talked about the matter of shifting focus from blogging to Facebook. Most of them have integrated blogs and social networking accounts using apps / widgets. Twitter is being used for following others more than promoting one’s blog.

With Facebook emerging as the blog-promoting platform of choice, the use of feed and email to reach new posts to people has gone down. 

Complete shift to Facebook has happened rarely. It seems to happen mostly when the blog was being maintained (i) to instantly share personal information with friends and relatives only and (ii) for selling one’s product such as book or craft and the blog was not generating enough buzz. We haven’t found proof [by way of departing posts on blogs or Facebook postings] whether bloggers are happy with complete shift to Facebook, or they would like to return to blogging.

In terms of long-term value and engagement, blogs score over Facebook and Twitter by a huge margin. We do not have statistics to prove that, but we did check about fifty posts that were linked or pasted by bloggers on their Facebook accounts and found that overall engagement and quality of comments was much higher in blog posts than Facebook postings.

We will share more observations in the days to come. The 2013-14 edition of the Directory is slated to come out on 30th May.