Where will the road take us?
This week was our 20th wedding anniversary, and it’s funny such a simple thing can set the mind thinking about the most random subjects! I suppose it was looking back and wondering about the past twenty years that led me to thinking about blogging; 20 years ago no one wrote blogs, and according to official data, in 1999 there were just 23 blogs registered on the internet. A lot has happened in 20 years.
Even before I was married I visited France often. I had an iconic French car, a Citreon 2CV. I bought it for a song and sold it for even less. It was a faithful old car I called Nellie; she took me from Paris to Nice and back again, and if only I had known then that she would now be a collectors item worth twenty times what I sold her for.
In that time we have had five children, lived in five countries and visited another fifteen. We have gone from writing letters to sending emails and from phoning people for a chat to instant messaging. We have iPhones, Androids, iPads and iPods. Video tapes and tape-recorders are no longer in our home; we’ve gone through the CD and DVD era, and now we just download our music online and watch instant movies; and as for the TV – it used to be as fat as it was wide, but now it’s a streamlined flatscreen!
And how did we live without social media; Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat? The list goes on.
Cameras have gone digital, and our albums which we carefully organized after a holiday are now on computers and hard drives. Remember when we took a roll of film into the pharmacy or photo-booth to be developed?
Petrol is unleaded and we have hybrid cars. Concorde is a thing of the past and the 800-seater Airbus has become a reality. We have successfully sent a robot to Mars and the space-shuttle has flown its last flight.
Dictionaries and reference books are rarely in use on a daily basis, instead we have search engines and Wikipedia to win the dinner table arguments.
Remember sitting in the travel-agency, drooling over glossy holiday brochures and coming home with real aeroplane tickets? Now we get an online reference number, and 24 hours before our flight we check in online from the comfort of our sofa, download our boarding pass to our phones and scan it at the airport.
And who remembers answer-phones? Turning it on before you left the house and coming back to the red, blinking light and several messages, sometimes fervently hoping the right person had called. How did we manage before we were on call, available 24/7, whether we’re in a restaurant, in the car, on a walk, playing sport – our mobile phones are there just in case!
We must not forget Skype, WhatsApp, FaceTime, and all the free video-calling around the world, face-to-face in real time.
However, walking down any street here in the local villages it would seem little has changed in the past 20 years; of course it has though, and no doubt it will continue to change and evolve, but that brings me back to my original question; is there a future in blogging?
Much has been written on the internet to the tune of “blogging is dead” or “the written word is dead” and it seems sometimes that people only want what they can read scrolling down on their phones in the time it takes to get a coffee whilst standing in line at Starbucks. Perhaps vlogging will take its place; for we can see in a 5 minute video what would take us 30 minutes to read.
Personally I believe the written word will always survive as long as it has something worthwhile to say. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but it has been estimated that more than 80% of the activities we do online are text-based. However, it appears we don’t do very well with large amounts of text; we tend to read the first 20% and then scan through the remainder; reading is time consuming and can easily overwhelm us. Many of us read as a form of escapism, so do we prefer to escape with words or do we just want eye-candy; perfect pictures and no text required?
I think blogging certainly does have a future and maybe the human brain can have what it wants – 20% text and 80% photos.
There are millions of blogs online; if we don’t like one we move onto the next, and we can share our lives in a way we never have before. At the same time we can dream of a lifestyle we have never experienced and yet think we know it intimately. We are friends with people we have never met and are unlikely ever to do so. I can’t see us giving this up and so I believe blogging will continue, as long as there is an audience there will always be blogs, and so long as the content is interesting there will always be an audience.
As you can tell I have been doing a lot of thinking this week and I really really want to know what you think.
Do you like long blog posts that you settle down to read with lots of text and lots of photos once a week or do you prefer shorter, punchier posts more frequently, ones that you can scan quickly whilst on the run, with less words and more photos? Or could you be converted to watching vlogs rather than reading blogs?
Don’t be shy, I want to know, and if you have time please tell us, what do you read the blog on? Your cellphone, a tablet, or a computer?