By ANGELIN YEOH
THE last time Daniel Subramaniam updated his blog was about six months ago. So far, he has uploaded 13 blog entries this year, compared to the 57 entries he made in 2011. It looks like Daniel has gone slighty off the blogging radar.
“I think blogging is dying soon. With social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, I can instantly share updates without having to go through the hassle of waiting for photos to upload and then typing out a long post.”Daniel says he is active on Twitter where he posts updates about “several times a day”.
The same goes for Naomi Paige Hon, who first started blogging when she was in secondary school. Now 20, the last update on her blog was in 2010 and she stopped updating because she “didn’t have the time”.
“I started blogging because I needed a place to upload photos. These were photos showcasing my everyday life, you know simple things like hanging out with friends and holiday shots,” says the HELP University psychology student.
Hon adds her blog got her noticed by advertisers and with such attention, came exclusive invitation to events and parties.
“However, I never paid heed to any of that. I was just a student and at that time, I didn’t want commitments. I was mostly just blogging for my own amusement.”
Hon says she stopped blogging completely when she was 17.
“I went from posting about two updates a week, to once a month and then I just stopped posting altogether.”
Just like Daniel, Hon discovered another platform that enable her post updates instantly.
“I think blogging is obselete now that I can post photos on Facebook and upload them right away on Twitter. With blogging, I have to wait till I’m sitting in front of my computer to start posting.”
For celebrity blogger Kenny Sia, 30, going from several updates a week to only about once every couple of a months is “a natural phase of growing up”. His last update was about two weeks ago. So far this month, he has posted two blog entries. In the good old heydays of blogging, he used to post as many as 20 entries a month.
“When I started blogging at 23, I didn’t have too many commitments. Now, I’m running my own business where I have meetings to attends and deals to seal. I just don’t have much time to blog as often anymore,” says Sia.
Sia began blogging in January 2005 and his first entry mentioned that his blog will serve as a “point of communication” so his friends could get updates about his life abroad.
“Nowadays I’m mostly posting updates on Twitter. It’s more convenivent as I’m always on the go and I can post updates using my smartphone from whenever I am.”
Lim Su Ann, started blogging in 2001 as a way for her to express herself.
“With all the web publishing tools popping up during that time, blogging was the best solution for self-expression and conversations with a group of people I cared about,” says Lim.
Her last blog update was in July 2012 and the 24-year-old digital strategist feels that she has “outgrown her blog”.
“I’ve been blogging on and off over the past four years, which is the length of time I’ve been away at university in the United States. I imagined myself writing down a lot about my experiences studying abroad. But a busier schedule and a sudden yearning for more private thoughts have contributed to my gradual lack of blogging.”
Space for more than 140-characters
Shahirah Elaiza Wan Hassan started blogging in 2005. She lost interest in blogging for awhile and began to actively blog again in 2009.
“I realised how much I enjoyed writing and getting to know other bloggers from around the world. I haven’t stopped since then,” says Shahirah.
With busy work schedule, Shahirah says she tries to update at least once a week.
“I hope to blog more often. I try to blog at least three times a week but when I started working, I had less time (and energy) for it. Back then, I used to blog about five times a week!”
Although she admitted that she has blogged less frequently since being on Twitter – she has no intention of going on a blog hiatus.
“I don’t feel a need to blog after posting on social media sites but I know my readers would prefer me to, especially if I travel or attend events.”
Back when she first started blogging, Shahirah said she used to post about everyday things like make-up and shopping hauls. Later in life, Shahirah made the decision to don the hijab.
“As the years went by, I used blogging as a way to make sense of my decision to wear the hijab. It’s wasn’t just an outer transformation but also a (gradual) spiritual one.”
Shahirah adds that Islam is a big theme on her blog.
“I feel it’s important to change people’s perception about Islam and Muslim women and through blogging, I can make a difference.”
Although people like Twitter for its interactivity,there is still that 140-character limit.
“Twitter and Facebook made it easier to share interesting articles and breaking news, but for me they haven’t quite eclipsed long-form writing. With the right kind of topic and audience, conversation via blogs can be so much fun,” says Lim.
Shahirah agrees as she gets all kinds of positive feedback on her blog.
“I receive a lot of e-mails from Muslim women (of all ages) who tell me I’ve inspired them to learn more about Islam instead of practising it without understanding. I’m glad I’m able to help people through my blog.”
Taking blogs to smartphones
CEO of Netccentric Timothy Tiah realises that over the years, people are spending more time on their smartphones.
“As people are spending more time away from their computers, a more convenient way is needed for smartphone users to read blogs,” says Tiah.
In September this year, NuffnangX was launched and it’s a mobile app for people to follow blogs on their smartphones.
“You can follow a blog you like and get a notification when the blog is updated. There is also a feature where you can comment on the blog entry and it becomes an instant messaging conversation. There is also a feature for you to find blogs based on your interests.”
Tiah believes blogging is not dead – it’s just becoming more content-driven.
“I think with more people turning to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to post simple updates – blogs have the potential to grow into something more substantial in terms of content.”
He adds that people have the chance to be their own independent publisher through blogging.
The number of users on Tiah’s app indicates that people still want to read blogs, even when they are glued to their smartphones.
“Since NuffnangX was launched, we have about 30,000 registered users and what’s really exciting is that, the average time spent on the app is about 30 minutes a day.”
That’s good news for bloggers, that is if they are still updating their blogs.
Social media consultant Teoh Mei Ying advises bloggers to showcase their latest updates on social media platforms.
“Bloggers should promote their blogposts on their social media accounts and it also makes it easier for their readers to share the updates. They should also consider pinning their posts on Pinterest,” says Teoh.
She foresees 2013 being the year where visual mediums take over.
“Earlier users are moving away from reading long articles to reading shorts bursts of updates on Facebook and Twitter. In 2013, I think people will consume photos and videos more readily than written text.”
With that, she also advises bloggers to allow more visual content in their postings.
“Bloggers might want to consider doing short videos to accompany their posts.”
For bloggers like Sia and Lim, despite the lack of regular updates – they don’t see themselves shutting down their blogs for good.
“Writing has been something I’ve missed a lot. But then there is the fact that I’ve become so much more private with my more introspective thoughts, so that’s something I have to iron out. I only hope people still like reading my stuff, because interaction with people is very important to me in blogging,” says Lim.
“In the near future, when I have more time – I see myself blogging about marriage and having kids. I’ll definitely not stop blogging,” says Sia.