Is Blogging Still Relevant Amid the Popularity of Social Media?

I started blogging at a time when the concept of self-publishing was only starting to gain ground among netizens. It was during the early days of Blogger, and I would use the platform as a place to write my thoughts — which is perhaps the main purpose of blogs back then. Blogs were online journals, nothing more.

But things took a different turn when blogging became more mainstream. Aside from LiveJournal diary-type entries, blogs have become places for commentary meant for public consumption. Journalists likewise took to the platform as a means of being able to reach out without their usual editing and publishing processes. Blogs then became a popular means of check-and-balance against the so-called mainstream media (newspapers, magazines, even TV shows). Whereas mainstream media would often constitute a series of editing and fact-checking before publishing news entries, blogs would rely on linkages and post-fact editing, and in many cases veracity gave way to speed.

In those days, posting quickly was more important than verifying accuracy.

Today, however, it seems there is an added aspect to self-publishing, which is the social aspect of content.

Going Social

I started joining social networks at a time when they were only gaining popularity. Remember Friendster? I was an early adopter. Are you on Twitter? I was among the first 1 million users (if that counts for anything). Like blogging, social media started out as one thing, and then evolved into something bigger as time went by. Social apps and services once focused on simply getting people connected and getting these friends talking. Today, though, social media has taken inroads into fields like marketing, enterprise collaboration, and even journalism.

With the increasing popularity of social media and apps today, blogging has seemed to take a backseat, at least in some fields. For instance, while blogs used to be the preferred means for businesses to reach out to their audience, now businesses take to the social networks to connect and engage. While journalists used to self-publish through blogs, journalists and their organizations are now likewise engaging through the social networks. Even popular bloggers have started using Google+ to push important updates and articles.

With this trend, has blogging lost its importance amid the popularity of social media?

This week marks two important events in the world of social media. It’s social media week, and around the world, organizers are setting up events and talks that highlight the importance of social media in society today. In Asia, events will be held in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia. Meanwhile, Malaysia is also hosting the World Bloggers and Social Media Summit, which Asian Correspondent is sponsoring.

Perhaps this underscores the important ideal that blogging is a social medium, although with blogging there is more focus on the content rather than the social linkages. So is there still a place for blogging, even if social networks like Google+ and Facebook have grown to become the go-to place even for content-rich updates? Social networks make the connections happen, but blogs are still relevant as a standalone medium.

Does Popularity Trump Veracity?

Still, one question comes to mind. As Andrew Spooner writes on Asian Correspondent, as information dissemination becomes more social, does popularity now take precedence over veracity? “[W]e are now entering a time where the ‘social’ aspect of information dissemination is supplanting veracity,” he writes. But then I’ve always thought that the social aspect of blogging as a medium helps in verifying “facts” and “accuracy,” as much as old media uses its own channels to determine the veracity of news reports.

This is perhaps something we netizens need to ask ourselves, especially before we Like, Retweet, +1 or Share information on our social networks.

Image credit: flickr/therealdavidfrancis