Monday, January 18, 2016

"Is Facebook killing Blogger?": Jan Kocbach

“Is Facebook killing Blogger?” During the last three or four 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 the past year. The other one, Orientovar – –, has 390 articles published. Orientovar is my personal blog and I know what I'm talking about; but I also have to say that I had in the last times 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. And I must add that Orientovar is over now.

So, I'm trying to listen some top bloggers about this subject. Emily Benham, Catherine Taylor, Mikhail Vinogradov, Lizzie Ingham or Hans Jörgen Kvale are some of the bloggers that expressed their opinions here. Today we have Jan Kocbach's feedback. Of course, you're also free to participate, leaving your contribution on the Portuguese Orienteering Blog's commentary corner. We'll certainly appreciate that!

Is Facebook killing Blogger?

Jan Kocbach (J. K.) - The way people use Internet is changing. People are using more social media these days, and people do often not have the attention span to read long articles as they did earlier. This is not only about orienteering - you see the same in many parts of society. You need a lot of time to prepare an article and to publish it on your blog, and when people do not take the time to read the complete article, that makes bloggers lose some of the motivation to write. Also, you can often get more (positive) feedback from two lines on Facebook than from a two page article on your blog - so why use hours to write a blog entry?

Most of feedback it's often kind of “likes” or something... Are we, orienteers, getting lazy?

J. K. - I think orienteers were lucky to have many more blogs than other sports for a long time - and although it is going down, it is still not bad compared to others. So, I think it's more a question of modern society, than being lazy. You seldom get many comments on a Blog page, but you can have lots of messages from people on a Facebook page or on Tweets. I see the same for World of O. These are quick comments but, the more you answer, the more you get. And the likes... many people like it, of course. So, I think it's a lot about positive feedback.

Do you feel a decrease of visits to World of O?

J. K. - I have now more people coming to World of O by Twitter or Facebook to see things I write myself than earlier, and that's part of the reason why I'm writing more - as well as to keep up interest. I do however see some decrease in visits at the front page, because there are now less athletes writing regular blogs - but nothing dramatic. On the other hand there is a lot of focus on maps, analysis and other parts of World of O.

I could notice that you've, at least, fifty “dead” pages for the last six months. Is there a connection between this fact and people are using more social media?

J. K. - I don't think there are fifty dead pages the last six months though - it is rather several years since I cleaned away the dead pages from the right info-column. But the number of athletes who update a blog regularly is going down - and that is of course a pity for the orienteering community. Also, of the ones contacting me to get their blog included, several “survive” shorter than they did before, maybe only half a year or a year. It has however been nice to see lately that some athletes like for example Cat Taylor, Mårten Boström and Mari Fasting have renewed their blogs and webpages, and I also included some new webpages lately - so this is not black/white.

What's your advice to those who have blogs and feel disappointed with the way things are going?

J. K. - The international orienteering community is still very positive towards interesting English-language Blog-articles - I see that very clearly at World of O. Especially if they get to hear stories and see maps from areas which are outside the traditional places for orienteering. You don't have to be Thierry Gueorgiou to get many readers if you put some work into what you write. Combine World of O, Facebook and Twitter to get readers to your Blog. The advantage of a Blog is that people find everything in one place when they want to see it. You never know who gets to see the Facebook and Twitter messages if they are offline for a few days - then Facebook and Twitter has moved on to other stories.But the stories in your Blog are much easier to find back to later. That's why I encourage you to not give up, even if Facebook or Twitter are taking some more attention these days.

Joaquim Margarido

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