In the dark ages (before the late 1990s) to get content published one needed access to the press, magazines or pamphlets. The former were controlled, and independent publications struggled with distribution. The cost could be enormous.
With the emergence of blogs in the late 1990s, anyone could be a publisher of their own work. Circulation, though, remains an issue.
When I first started blogging six or seven years ago, I had no idea how many people I would reach and whether what I wrote would have any impact. I read somewhere that if one was writing a niche blog, perhaps to do with housing, homelessness, social policy, etc. in a local area, you were probably being effective if you reached 100 people with each post. It would mean that you were probably being read by local journalists and politicians (i.e. opinion and policy makers). On that basis this blog coiled be regarded as more than effective.
I know that what I write on my blog does quite often appear in print elsewhere, or is reposted elsewhere, and that does boost circulation and readership.
But what is the future of blogging? With so many new platforms, and the abundance of stuff being posted, the capacity for people to read ones blog is squeezed.
This does not yet ring the death knell for blogging. Readership of my blog increased by 25% in 2015 compare to 2014. But it does challenge us to think about what we say, how we say it, where we say it, and how we syndicate it.
For a while I blogged on the Huffington Post. The problem with that is that there was never any feedback. I would post things and that would be that. I never knew whether one person or an audience of 1000s read the post. I suspect it was nearer the former! Publicity might provide oxygen but feedback and engagement are the water and nutrients that make ideas grow.
Last year I dabbled very briefly with Periscope, said to be the next big thing from Twitter. It hasn’t really caught on and I rarely look at it. I might give it a further go in 2016.
Recently I have been challenged by Patrick Olszowski who podcasts. Could this be the future? Listen, for example, to this amazing podcast he made of a woman he met at a children’s party. Patrick is a story teller who lets other people do the story telling. It really is an effective method.
Blogging will remain significant, if not just as an archive. The reality is that different people have different preferences in how they access information. Fewer and fewer people read newspapers. Other than the Brighton Argus, the Brighton and Hove Independent, the Eastbourne Herald and the Hastings Observer, I rarely look at a newspaper, preferring to use Twitter as an alternative news stream.
Facebook is something I have avoided but I realise how popular the platform is with many, not least clients of BHT. Therefore, one of the changes I will be making 2016 is to use the BHT Facebook page more.
But all of this has no purpose unless it has an impact by challenging convention, advancing social policy, and helping to bring about change. Critical in all of this is feedback, so I do invite you to engage more with what I write whether you agree or disagree.