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The Evolution of Blogging (and, blogging as a business)

In 51 Alternatives I talk about blogging as a viable business / revenue stream.  Single Dad Laughing is a blog by a guy (Dan) who says he makes his entire living from his blog.  In a blog post from yesterday he makes a plea to help him essentially stay relevant (and continue to bring in revenue).

Before I go into his post, which talks about a significant change in the way things work, I want to bring up a different evolutionary change that hugely impacted blogging, but I don’t really hear anyone talking about it.

Evolution 1:

When I started blogging in 2006 I was anxious to get comments.  Comments validated my thoughts, and to a point, validated me as a blogger/person.  I know, that is kind of pathetic, but to many bloggers, comments were the reason they posted.

Social networking came along and I continued to blog.  However, something intriguing happened.  People would talk about my blog posts on social networks, and not leave many comments.  Some posts that would have gotten a dozen comments got none.  I had to shift my thinking lest my ego might become irreparably harmed!

As people spent more time on Facebook and Twitter, they would essentially take the “conversation” from the blog to other places.  The saddest thing about that is those parts of the conversation are forever lost.  In other words, their immediate audience, for that day or two, would see their great comment/input, but that was in.  And then, as if a gentle wind came through, their comments were lost forever.

I think we still haven’t recovered from that, and most bloggers who care are responding more in those temporary repositories just to keep the conversation flowing a bit.

Now, on to Single Dad Laughing…

Evolution 2:

This evolution is kind of scarier than the first one, but there is nothing new about it.

If you have kept up with Google, and how Google could make a change that makes websites irrelevant, and causes businesses to go out of business (because their websites aren’t found anymore), you’ll know what Dan is talking about.

The same way Google impacts who sees a website, Facebook recently made a huge change.  In Dan’s post he says:

“[Facebook] drastically changed the algorithm (yet again), and made it harder and harder for people with pages like mine to drive traffic through Facebook (which is where 90% of my traffic comes from). It is now showing my links to (maybe) 20% of the people it was before the algorithm change, and unless I pay big bucks to have my posts show up in people’s feeds, there’s not much I can do about it.”

Wow… he has, through Facebook, less than 20% of the original reach?  That is crazy. One change by Facebook and he is essentially run out of business.

Read Dan’s entire post for a fix to this (it’s not going to be easy, or quick), and also what has happened to content overall with the big sites like buzzfeed, which seemed to come out of nowhere but practically owns the market.

So, comments/conversation and community have dispersed to a bunch of different places, and one site (like Google or Facebook) can cause you to lose all of your traffic…. what does that mean for blogging now and in the future?

By the way, at the end of the 51 Alternatives book is a concept about business evolution that blew me away when I realized it.

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