Blog to basics

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blog_awards_irelandThroughout the history of blogging you can find news outlets writing its obituary, citing dramatic declines from reports and statistics that hold no true value, only standard data manipulation. I could name but a few said publications, but their readership continues to drop as blogging seems to be still finding its feet. Like everything new, it’s become that much more accessible and the market is over saturated with contenders vying for your attention.

According to WordPress, over 358 million people view more than 11.3 billion pages each month. Furthermore, users produce about 47.2 million new posts and 68.7 million new comments each month. And that’s just WordPress.

Furthermore there are numerous places to host your own personal blog from Blogger to Tumblr and so on and so forth until we look at the microbloggers taking over Twitter and other such mediums.

Statistically speaking, people have never blogged more in their lives. Now that’s not to say that the stigma against blogging isn’t unwarranted, but that stigma isn’t leading to blogging’s own funeral march.

Said stigma comes from peoples weariness of blogs, and the consistent approach of people to define themselves as experts on certain subject matter when they have no such qualification of experience in the area, but the mere ability to Google. But that’s not to say that you won’t find something exceptional among the droves of voices taking over the internet.

Claire Kane of web award nominated website Music and Everything stated “some bloggers are being recognised as thought leaders in their specialist subject; like Suzanne Jackson of So Sue Me who is about to release a book, or Nialler9 who has one of the most respected opinions in music. I already think blogs are better than “bigger” sites. Typically they aren’t attempting to fit a certain bill, image or popular thought so I think people see them as more reliable and down to earth.”

But that said, even the established bloggers have their own critique of the platform.

Niall Byrne of Nialler9 is one of the most recognised names in Ireland when it comes to music. He is the voice behind one of the longest running and most consistent sites in the country, receiving recognition from across the globe.

Byrne stated himself that “I think the concept of blogging is something that’s not fresh and new anymore so it’s kind of less celebrated or a thing than it was five or six years ago and therefore there are less people starting blogs. People are expressing themselves in so many ways these days – via Tumblr, Twitter or Pinterest – that blogging in its personal form is left to the writers and hobbyists.”

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Byrne adds, “It does seem quaint to think in terms of blogging vs. traditional media these days. It’s either online or offline and blogging big and small is a part of that. Bottom line is: if you want blogging to be more than a hobby in Ireland then a one-person blog is probably not big enough scope to make a living from. It’s still a great way to get noticed by established media: online or offline. “

Blogging serves a function for many writers, whether it is a way to keep yourself in practice or a means of enabling a hobby, and for many who are good at it, it is a means of making a steady income.

Ireland recently played host to its own Blog Awards where numerous categories played host to even more nominations. It is not assumed that it can serve a purpose beyond just personal blogging. Twitter is increasingly a point of breaking news.

“I think it is more important – it’s becoming increasingly influential as well as being used as a news source. Take the fact that the traditional news media weren’t covering the recent Atlas blizzard in the States and how it affect farmers and their livestock there, it was blogging and Twitter that got the word out and in turn, people were then able to send their support to those affected.”

“Apart from anything else, blogging gives individuals a voice plus it helps them to connect with like-minded people and communities”, Lorna Sixsmith of the Blog Awards team told us.

Blogging’s growth has been phenomenal over the years. And yes, you will have to wade through a lot of the bad to find anything of value. People spew out opinions like there’s no tomorrow. It’s not journalism, it’s not always factual, and most of the times it’s not even right, but blogging is a platform of expression.

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