Open Thread: Is the day of the blog over?

Thanks to commenters Pageantmaster and profpk for this topic:
“With twitter, facebook and other social media providing instant albeit short interactions, are weblogs approaching their sell by date?”

“In response to Pageantmaster’s comment, yes I believe blogs are fading as a useful means of communication, even though I have been following TitusOneNine for years and have filched leads from it to post on my Facebook group, Anglican Evangelicals. No one reads my blog, An Anglican Witness, anymore, whereas we are approving new members of the Facebook group daily. I was very pleased when Kendall joined the group.”

Is the day of the weblog over? Will it go the way of the VHS video recorder? Do weblogs still perform a useful function?


Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet

22 comments on “Open Thread: Is the day of the blog over?

  1. wyclif says:

    [Disclaimer: I have been blogging since 2001. I used to have a semi-popular Anglican blog,, which I will be bringing back soon after a long layoff.]

    Are blogs over? I don’t think so.

    This question is in my wheelhouse. I embraced both blogging and social media early on. Blogging in 2001. Twitter and Facebook in 2006. Now we’ve got Periscope.

    While some of the urgency of blogs has been taken away by Twitter and Facebook, blogs still rule when it comes to long-form writing and commentary. You can’t do those things very effectively on social media. What social media does is point to blogs, where the long content lives. Blogs have grown up, but I don’t think they’re going away.

    Someday, someone will write a book about how blogging by conservative Anglicans was crucial to the origin of the ACNA and the GAFCON movement. Lambeth ’98 was the breaking point, and it’s interesting that ’98 was also the year the Internet came into its own. A few years later, we had the tools to make an end-run around the mainstream media gatekeepers who were running interference for the Episcopal Church over at the NYT and WaPo: Blogger, Moveable Type, and WordPress.

    That book is going to be a fascinating one.

  2. Adam 12 says:

    I do believe blogging is important. With a lot of the U.S. issues of Anglicanism (reassessers vs. reasserters) now settled, for better or worse, blogs may not be as valuable as an information source in this particular regard.

    Certainly associating with orthodox people is extremely valuable, regardless of the issues. The focus might well shift to orthodox ministry support. Facebook theology with its cheapshots and Shellfish arguments doesn’t cut it.

  3. Jim the Puritan says:

    I have found this blog and several other Anglican/Episcopalian blogs such as Stand Firm in Faith and the Midwest Conservative Journal to be important and valuable sources of information in following the spiritual wars in the Anglican churches. Although I left the Episcopal Church in 1997 because the differences were already too great for me to be able in good conscience to remain, I remained interested in knowing what was going on, partly because I knew that sooner or later the same forces would be at the door of my new Presbyterian church. And in fact they have–our church left the PCUSA last year in response to the same theologies that tore the Episcopal Church apart and are now having the same result in PCUSA. Having been able to observe the progress of “revisionism” and its arguments in the Episcopal church through blogs such as this one made it much easier to recognize and identify when it replicated itself in the PCUSA and to take appropriate action. You would be surprised how many Presbyterian elders have been reading this and similar blogs over the years.

    For some reason, similar blogs never got started for the Presbyterians, although there were several folks who tried for a while (David Fischler, who posts at Stand Firm, being one; Mark Roberts, former pastor of Irvine Presbyterian Church, being another). So I find this site has been invaluable to me over the years.

  4. Milton Finch says:

    I’m with Jim the Puritan.

  5. Luke says:

    I am not with Facebook, and don’t intend ever to be.

    Right now, I look at T1, 9 regularly; it has provided me with a serious amount of information about the Anglican Communion and its struggles, along with the occasional tidbit I find of interest in other ways.

    I dropped out of another completely different blog where I used to be a steady poster, very often attempting to get other members, some of whom I knew personally, to think more about “the way, the truth, and the light.” Eventually, I shook off the dust from my rejecting fellow bloggers, and do not post there to them anymore.

    Blogs who appeal to their visitors will stay in existence, I believe. Those that do not, will die off.

    I hope T 1, 9 lasts a very long time.

    Thanks to Canon Harmon, the Elves, and the participants.

  6. Saltmarsh Gal says:

    I think it depends on who (or what organization) is doing the blogging and the function the blog seeks to fulfill. For instance, we’ve just retired our blog at Church. When we began, we did not have an easily updatable website, FB, or many folks who regularly read their email. Now, pretty much everyone reads email (except for a few older 80+ members) and many check our FB page fairly regularly. Our blog did not ever achieve a lot of church readership although the stats showed others were visiting. What is different about T19 is that it stands on its own and it seems to have a regular group willing to engage in conversation. If it were just one way, I’d wonder. Have the stats shown a drop off? It’s still on my go to daily check in list and I hope it will be for a good long time. Would it do as well as a e-newsletter or magazine? Don’t think so because it’s responsive. I also like that I can visit it and it doesn’t have to be in my inbox. Good question. If the medium is the message – what is the unique messaging capability of the web log and is there any thing else that can replace that at this point? Be interested in what others think.

  7. Katherine says:

    I refuse to play with Facebook because I value my privacy. This is one of several blogs I check frequently because of the format. It provides links to articles of interest and brief excerpts to let me decide whether I wish to read the linked material.

  8. Marie Blocher says:

    I was never into the Bulletin Boards, but I’ve gone fro VAX Notes to usenet groups to Blogs, not into FB or other “social media” except LinkIn because, like Katherine, I value my privacy. I make an exception of LinkIn to keep in touch with former DEC co-workers.
    I miss the usenet groups which like this blog were very interactive, and you could search for a past item. But I understand that the universities that hosted them could no longer justify the cost of all that traffic and storage to their trustees.
    Like the bulletin boards, the usenet groups before them, I suspect that blogs will be superseded by something, but that something will need to be as interactive, searchable, informative and moderated, as they are to interest me.

  9. Capt. Father Warren says:

    Blogs actually allow for thoughtful, intellectual intercourse while social media tend more toward the “sound bite” type of reflection.

    I have a group on Facebook called The Chaplain’s Corner where we discuss religious, social issues from an Anglo-Catholic perspective. Typically, a post on that group starts out using an article from T19, Stand Firm, First Things, or other blog type sources.

    I often get the feeling folks don’t read the attached blog article, and just look at the discussion about the article.

    I believe social media can be symbiotic with social media; the media can give blogs a bigger readership as articles get shared far more widely than otherwise possible by email, word of mouth.

  10. Br. Michael says:

    I don’t tweet or use my facebook page. I do read the blogs.

  11. CBH says:

    I certainly hope that blogs like this are not on their way out. It is the only blog I follow regularly. It is on the level with First Things as we keep a finger on the pulse of faith and culture. (I appreciate the “tone” the elves and Kendall maintain while not so much some of the other blogs.)

  12. Undergroundpewster says:

    There are different types of blogs. The personal, family diary, and prolonged illness chronicles which are not meant to attract an audience but sometimes do, and the news type blogs, the issue oriented blogs, the commentary type, and all sorts of hybrids and chimeras of these. Any of these can be resources for social media sites of 140 characters or less to link to, but the ultimate question is where will people go to publicly express their views? Will they prefer snapshots or deeper commentary, and how do they locate sites or groups with which to associate?

  13. New Reformation Advocate says:

    I don’t have a crystal ball, or better, a prophetic word from the Lord about the future of blogs. But like others above, I hope that at least this admirable blog endures for quite some time. Like Katherine and some others above, I avoid Facebook like the plague because of privacy concerns.

    However, regular readers of T19 will note that my level of participation here has dropped off quite a bit from the torrid pace of a few years ago. That has less to do with the rise of Twitter and other popular forms of social media than with the fact that much of the suspense and drama has gone out of the Anglican Civil War.

    I agree with #1 and others that there continues to be a need, and a useful role, for Christian blogs like this one, that cover a wide range of topics (there’s something of interest for almost anyone), and that invite relatively thoughtful comments and interaction. I continue to think that blogs are just a lot of fun. Where else can you get this sort of global written communication 24/7, with the possibility of almost instant interaction by a large potential group?

    Like Luke and others, I’ll add my word of thanks to Kendall and the Elves. You’ve provided a very valuable service to the Anglican world, and especially by helping to make possible the Anglican Renaissance or New Reformation. The Global South hasn’t yet really chimed in here regularly, but it just may be that our brothers and sisters in the Global South might still jump in someday and give this blog a big boost in the process, extending its life and usefulness. We’ll see.

    David Handy+

  14. Scatcatpdx says:

    Yes and no. I have three personal blogs but I get more feedback on Facebook. Still there many discernment and ministry blogs I like to read.

    I say yes because that how technology evolves. I stated out in the 1990 as a bulletin board rat, I spent hours online because I felt it was more stimulating than watch TV, except when I am reading a good book. I was on local BBS’, Prodigy and CompuServe.
    The I watch BBS fade for the internet and UseNet, UseNet fade out of popularity for personal web pages, personal web pages for blogs and now blogs for social networking.

  15. Capt. Father Warren says:

    Perhaps the day of the blog Stand Firm is over.

    Sadly it seems to have a vague focus, versus the strong focus it started with nearly a decade ago. If the number of comments to posts correlates to readership, then that has plummeted dramatically.

    As one who sat in on many of the planning meetings in Jackson, MS I am sad to see it waning because its contribution to the Anglican Church is worthy of a warm spot in history. I hope it will be revived!

  16. tjmcmahon says:

    I think that “vague focus” has become a problem for many blogs across a wide range of subjects. In the case of Anglican blogs, many, both liberal and conservative, seemingly have broadened focus in an attempt to broaden their audience. But what I think has happened is that the former loyal focused audience has departed (not enough Anglican news and commentary) and the broader audience for Evangelical commentary, or Protestant commentary or conservative political commentary was not out shopping for new websites to visit.

    Compounding that is that the war for the soul of the Episcopal Church is over. Those who were willing to “stand firm” are, essentially, gone, other than a few who stayed behind as hermits or missionaries. What TEC does is irrelevant to most of us former Piskies. The so-called “conservative” TEC bishops are about the business of arranging gay marriages for anyone who wants one, only in such a way as to not happen in their dioceses, well, not publicly in their dioceses, well, not highly publicized in their dioceses…. They may not like it, but they can, as one said, “live with it.” Which, had they been bishops in, say, 2005, would have put them slightly to the right of Tom Shaw, and slightly to the left of VGR.

    Now, I do not think that social media can replace blogs, although no doubt blogs will morph into something else as the technology evolves. What blogs provide us is access to extensive commentary and documentation, and the occasional rant and anecdote. Social media just doesn’t seem to do the same job- it lends itself too readily to short remarks, and thoughtless commentary. Hopefully, social media will evolve into something that offers those of us with attention spans longer than 2 minutes some opportunities as time goes on.

  17. William Witt says:

    Blogs and social media serve different purposes. I use Facebook for social interaction with family, friends, colleagues, current and former students. Posts are short and serve the purpose of “catching up.”

    Blogs (at least personal blogs) provide an opportunity for writing pieces of essay length addressed to a more general audience. The kinds of things I write on my blog are far too long to put on Facebook — and would likely annoy people if I did. I sometimes link on Facebook to blog posts I think people might be interested to read at length. But no one is required to follow the link, and most don’t.

  18. jamesw says:

    I agree with William Witt in that blogs and social media serve different purposes. As a senior administrator in a secular academic setting, I simply cannot engage in political or theological discussion on Facebook – the privacy settings just aren’t there, and liberal folk can and DO try to keep tabs on suspects (such as myself). Nobody wants to be “Brandon Eich”ed. I find it exceedingly interesting that within weeks of being appointed to my current position, one of the leading liberal activists at our school made a friend request on Facebook (not accepted but you get the picture).

    I also think that Facebook and other social media do not encourage the same depth of comment that the best blogs and comments bring out (yes, often blog comments are not that well thought out but there have been some very thoughtful discussions over the years).

  19. MichaelA says:

    Tjmcmahon’s comment resonated with me:
    [blockquote] “In the case of Anglican blogs, many, both liberal and conservative, seemingly have broadened focus in an attempt to broaden their audience. But what I think has happened is that the former loyal focused audience has departed (not enough Anglican news and commentary) and the broader audience for Evangelical commentary, or Protestant commentary or conservative political commentary was not out shopping for new websites to visit.”[/blockquote]
    “not enough Anglican news and commentary” nails it. Stand Firm has very little these days. It appears more focussed on social and political issues. These are important, but they seem to dominate.

    I remember one thread on SF that ran to 500 posts, but those days are long gone.

    Even T19 – it is a great blog, but one has to pick out the Anglican news from the very general. At times its difficult to tell that one is not on CNN. And this has another side-effect: the articles that do promote discussion are fairly quickly pushed off the front page by the pile of other articles coming through, and once off the front page it is difficult to access them again. To some extent this is alleviated by the use of sticky posts, but only partially.

    I don’t want to be ungrateful – it is excellent that anyone is blogging these things at all. And I wouldn’t have written this, except that the question was asked. 😉
    [blockquote] “Compounding that is that the war for the soul of the Episcopal Church is over. Those who were willing to “stand firm” are, essentially, gone, other than a few who stayed behind as hermits or missionaries.”[/blockquote]
    Okay, but up until recently some people were regularly assuring us that there were in fact strong pockets of orthodox resistance left in TEC. If that is the case, surely there are many articles and interviews that could be written about them, even if using pseudonyms? The dearth of such articles does make me wonder if some of those orthodox who have fought so long from within TEC may be deciding to move on…

    And what about those Anglicans who are outside of TEC? – they are still Anglicans. There is the continuum, and ACNA, and Dio SC, and others. Surely their work to re-establish Anglicanism as a viable denomination in USA provides worthwhile material for blog posts? But as noted above, if the articles don’t stay on the front page for a decent length of time, they will be gone before many have the chance to comment.

  20. MichaelA says:

    Just one example of the sort of thing that can interest all Anglicans: the Archbishop of ACNA has led a delegation to visit the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow and Patriarch Kiril has made some pretty pointed remarks which could be seen as barbs against the leadership of CofE and TEC. See

  21. Adam 12 says:

    I have found the ability to communicate sensitive views frankly through anonymity has been very helpful. As speech and conduct codes proliferate the need to go “underground” becomes more vital. Without frank discussion and a careful group sorting of facts, discerning right conduct becomes more difficult and one can feel isolated and alone. In fact, that isolation and aloneness might have been motives of the speech and conduct codes to begin with.

  22. Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) says:

    I still read a fair number of blogs. I used to post to my own blog, by I’ve moved on to posting the ephemera over on Facebook. Facebook has allowed me to reconnect with high school and college classmates as well as relatives.

    Also, I’ve run out of things to say about the Episcopal Church and Anglicanism generally.