Sunday, February 7, 2010

Blog Slow Homie

Nick Carr points to a Pew Study on blogging trends:
[The study] put a big fat exclamation point on what a lot of us have come to realize recently: blogging is now the uncoolest thing you can do on the Internet. It's even uncooler than editing Wikipedia articles or having a Second Life avatar. In 2006, 28% of teens were blogging. Now, just three years later, the percentage has tumbled to 14%. Among twentysomethings, the percentage who write blogs has fallen from 24% to 15%. Writing comments on blogs is also down sharply among the young. It's only geezers - those over 30 - who are doing more blogging than they used to.
Let's analyze the coolness of blogging with my long run / short run theory. As more old people start to blog, blogging should become more socially acceptable, because those with more power tend to define social customs. This will emphasize the long run aspects of blogging, like personal development and positioning. It will also de-emphasize the short run aspects of blogging, like rebelling against those with power over you.

Cooler blogs should be ones where people eschew the long run attributes of blogging. Instead, cooler blogs should focus on short run activities and do less personal branding / marketing. If cool blogs do do personal branding, it should be in a roundabout, counter-signaling way. For example, it should be cooler to write under a pseudonym.

I admit my theory can't explain why Unhappy Hipsters is so cool. But I think it can explain a lot about the sphere.

(Thanks to Bonnie for the idea)