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Twitter, Facebook take the lead in blogosphere as blog searches fall by half

by Prasad Krishna last modified Dec 07, 2011 03:43 PM
Blogging is old hat. A prominent trend-tracking tool shows that blog searches around the globe have halved, while micro-blogging platforms Twitter and Facebook have grown, suggesting a seminal shift in online communication.

Google Insights, which tracks search terms on Google search engine worldwide, shows a 50% decline for blogs in 2010. On the other hand, micro-blogging sites Twitter and Facebook logged exponential rise in users.

While the number of blogs on the Internet, as tracked by BlogPulse, rose just 21% from 126 million in 2009 to 152 million in 2010, the Tweets on Twitter were up 160% over the same period, according to Internet monitoring website

A comparative figure for Facebook was not available, but the social networking site showed a 74% rise in users during the period.

Celebrities such as Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, and even the more regular Ramgopal Verma haven't blogged for over six months now. Maverick politician Lalu Prasad hasn't updated his blog either.

"We live in an era of short attention, where Hindi movies have reduced to 90 minutes, emails are shorter, and the books we read are slimmer and faster to skim through," said Mahesh Murthy, founder of social media company Pinstorm Technologies. "The move from blogging to micro-blogging is just part of (this) larger trend. Even our clients are investing more in social media than in blogs," he said, adding blogging declined by 30% in India in 2010.

Blogging, which requires ideas to be bunched to make paragraphs, gained popularity in the early 2000s. But it now appears to have hit the skids, as micro-blogging platforms offer a quicker and easier way of sharing thoughts, either as a few sentences or even mere fragments.

Blogging is also getting more network-driven, as on shared networks like Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus, in contrast to independent blogs on independent domains.

"Blogs have definitely become less noticeable. At the same time, they have become more mainstream, that is, blogs run by newspapers, companies etc," said Pranesh Prakash, programme manager at Bangalore-based Center for Internet and Society. Personal blogging, too, has seen a dip, he added.

Twitter and Facebook, the popular social networking platforms that allow users to post comments via mobiles, have caught the attention of firms that manage the online visibility of organisations and individuals. These social media companies have almost stopped maintaining blogs for their clients.

"Companies, too, are planning their ad campaigns keeping social media in mind, forcing bloggers to switch to the micro format," said Deepak Gopalkrishnan, a blogger and cartoonist who works with social media marketing firm Windchimes Communications. Earlier, revenues for blogs came from Google's AdSense system. Today, say people in the social media, Facebook revenues have eclipsed AdSense's revenues for blogs.

Facebook has over 34 million users in India while Twitter has over 13 million.

"Humour bloggers such as Ramesh Srivats and Anand Ramakrishnan haven't updated their blogs for a year. But they are perpetually active on Twitter," Gopalkrishnan said.

This article by Ameya Chumbhale was originally published in the Economic Times on 17 November 2011. Pranesh Prakash has been quoted in this article. Read it here

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