“Is Facebook killing Blogger?” During the last years, I've been worried about this subject and decided now to explore it with your help. Let my give you an example, a kind of starting point: We have in Portugal a webpage lodged in the Portuguese Orienteering Federation's site, which is called OriOasis. It's kind of a “mini-World of O” site, where 23 Portuguese Blogs and Sites are represented. More than a half of them are completely dead and only six blogs have articles published in 2015. Five of them have 25 articles overall published along this year. The other one, Orientovar –www.orientovar.blogspot.com –, has 390 articles published so far. Orientovar is my personal blog and I know what I'm talking about; but I also have to say that I have now around 80 visitors each day, while that number, three years ago, was higher than 400 visitors each day. At the same time, I can see that the “dead blogs” administrators, are still quite active on Facebook, which mean, probably, they moved their attentions from Blogger to Facebook in an almost definitive way.
So, I tried to listen some top bloggers about this subject, having their feedback about five questions (the same for everyone). Emily Benham, Catherine Taylor, Mikhail Vinogradov, Lizzie Ingham, Hans Jörgen Kvale or Jan Kocbach are some of the bloggers that, during the next days, will leave here their opinions. Of course, you're also free to participate, leaving your contribution on the Portuguese Orienteering Blog's commentary corner. We'll certainly appreciate that!
Looking for the Portuguese example above, do you feel the same with your blog and blogs around you? Is this a problem for you?
Catherine Taylor (C. T.) - Of course you notice that some people post on their Facebook more than their blog or website or increasingly so. I think it's a natural thing to happen when there is a new resource available - people will adapt and use it! I think it's mostly a positive thing to use a variety of media to promote, discuss and share things to do with our great sport. It is a bit more difficult for those who do not have Facebook to follow, though I've noticed WorldOfO does also link to athletes' Facebook pages now.
Do you have an Orienteering Facebook page? Could you tell us about your experience in having both a Facebook page and Blog?
C. T. - I don't have a Facebook page as an athlete, I keep Facebook with just my personal page. But I can understand how it can suit other people to use Facebook as well as or instead of a blog or athlete site.
Is it clear that Facebook is a quick way to talk about Orienteering, but is it also the best way to promote our sport? Is the Blogger condemned to be extinguished?
C. T. - The best way to show the world instantly how beautiful and exciting orienteering can be, is with pictures and this is why Facebook can work really well - you get the pictures and then more story/explanation than you can fit onto Twitter. So it's great for that quick impression.
I don't think blogging is dying out at all! I think there is definitely still a place for reading longer texts that can tell a more complete story. Not everyone has the time or confidence to sit and write a full article but for those that do, there is still an audience - at least I really enjoy reading some nicely constructed writing. It feels like you can "know" the writer and their story a little better with longer posts.
Have you ever felt like stopping writing? Are you loosing the interest in writing and reading – and sharing! - about Orienteering?
C. T. - No, I enjoy writing and that's why I carry on! I haven't written in a while because I'm in the process of changing my small blog page to something a little better, but also because I'm not doing anything so exciting at the moment. I try not to force posts out of myself just because I haven't written in a while. In the new year, when I'm travelling more, I'll get going again!
Have you any general ideas about Communication in our sport that you would like to share?
C. T. - I'd say that if you're trying to reach more people than just a small audience of keen orienteers, it's always good to keep in mind that orienteering is full of complicated concepts that not everyone is familiar with. Think about how to explain things in a way more people might understand, or concentrate on the more universal aspects of sport rather than the technical elements. But it all depends who you want your audience to be! And some nice pictures reflecting your subject are never a bad idea :-)