“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?
Lizzie Ingham (L. I.) - I don't have a very big readership of my blog, and haven't really noticed a change in numbers to be honest. But I can appreciate that less people may be reading blogs now - it takes an investment of time to read, compared to a quick appreciation of a nice photo and caption that is possible with Facebook / Twitter / Instagram.
Do you have an Orienteering Facebook page? Could you tell us about your experience in having both a Facebook page and Blog?
L. I. - I don't have an athlete Facebook page, but do have twitter; although I mainly use that for making bad jokes and to share when I've written a blog post. So, I can't personally compare.
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?
L. I. - I think that Blogs and Facebook, etc., hold different purposes, and there's a use for both. Facebook is a great platform for quickly reaching a large audience, which is ideal for an athlete that has sponsors or a large personal following. Blogs, on the other hand, allow fuller details and reports - which is good for sharing race analysis or stories. Most blogs will have much smaller audiences as they require more time to read, so maybe they're only reaching those that are a bit more of an orienteering geek ;-)
Have you ever felt like stopping writing? Are you loosing the interest in writing and reading – and sharing! - about Orienteering?
L. I. - Of course! I go through periods where I don't want to write at all, and other times when I'm far more motivated. For me though, my blog started as a way of sharing with the global orienteering community what orienteering life was like Down Under. Now it's a way of sharing my European experiences with those that are back home. In that context, it doesn't matter so much if I go through lulls in writing, or if my posts are delayed from the events they talk about. I like to take my time and carefully craft my posts before publishing them, that way I can try and make them entertaining enough that the reader will actually reach the end of the post! And I can fit more puns in.
Have you any general ideas about Communication in our sport that you would like to share?
L. I. - I think really my answer for that question is much the same as for the third. There's a place for both blogs and shorter format social-media in orienteering, and it's awesome that there's people like you and Jan committed to running sites like Portuguese Orienteering Blog and World of O. It makes it far easier for people to find and access orienteering blogs and information. Communication in Orienteering in general? There's hurdles to be overcome regarding communication between federations and their members. It's great that athletes and coaches can voice their opinions and concerns via social media, and I believe it's helping open up the communication lines. But, it's important to remember that it's only a small minority that post publicly online, and the opinions of those that don't also have to be taken into account in any decision making process.