Nora Ganim Barnes and her colleagues at the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth have looked at business blogs for some time. In 2010 50% of the Inc. 500 had a corporate blog, up from 45% in 2009 and 39% in 2008. Now in 2011, the use of blogging dropped to 37%. In contrast, they found, in a related study that blogs continued at the same 23% level in Fortune 500 companies. This has, in part, happen because of the rise of other social media that have taken over some of the function so blogs. However, blog remain the main vehicle if saying something of substance and most of the traditional media outlets have adopted them.
So it was interesting to me to go back in time to when blogs started to really increase. Clay Shriky wrote on November 12 2004 in his post, Blogging as activity, blogging as identity on Many 2 Many, that the term blogging will fad away. Here is an excerpt from the longer piece.
“I have long been of the opinion that the word weblog has no crisp meaning anymore, and is going to fade as a defining term for the same reason ‘portal’ did — there are too many patterns to be conveniently contained by one word. But here the nature of weblogging and webloggers is defined, from outside, as not just a category, but an identity.
And that I think, is not just wrong but unfair. So many people have weblogs now that anyone wanting to say anything sweeping and negative about the weblog world — they’re all bored teenagers, they rant instead of writing, they are conspiracy theorist, whatever — can find, in 10 minutes on technorati, a hundred weblogs that support their point of view.”
Well he nicely defined blogs but he certainly got the demise of the term wrong. But I tend to agree with Clay on the fading away of the term, portals. At the same time it is interesting that despite many years of people saying that they did not like the term knowledge management (KM), it has survived. Likely because it is a specific function, and not a technology, and no one could come up with a better term, whereas portals are simply an IT front end to many things. Blogs are both a technology and a style and I think it is the latter that has caused the term to survive.