Throw another blog on the fire

According to the National Readership Survey, 2.8m British adults have written a blog in the last 4 weeks, rising to 7.6m who have uploaded any form of content to the web.  But it takes a bit of effort to set up and maintain a blog.  Indeed, it has been reported that 95% of blogs are abandoned within 3 months.  Those that survive for longer tend to stay on topic, be promoted regularly and have found an audience.

Newspapers have an interesting relationship with blogs and appear to tolerate them as platforms for their journalists to be ‘more opinionated’ and yet they have to grapple with ethics and policing content.  This issue extends to other social media with many journalists, radio and TV presenters having both company and personal Twitter accounts.

The trend appears to be now more towards quick-fire blogging thoughts and photo-posting (“life-blogging”).  Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are well established in this area, but are also extremely popular with 50% of adults using Facebook in the last 3 months (Ipsos MediaCT Tech Tracker).  They have also all succumbed to media backlash for one reason or another (privacy, McAlpine).  A couple of the newer social platforms have recently caught my eye.

The first of these is howwwl which, to me, is like a cross between Twitter and blogging with a tiny bit of Pinterest thrown in.  What this open blogging site does though is encourage those who think they have something to say to say it.  Then the reader can judge whether it is worth reading and can follow by theme or author accordingly.  There is also a gamification element with rewards based on views.  Its founder, Paul Mayze, has identified that it is not easy to build and maintain an audience and this ‘open topic board’ format could get around this quite neatly.

This takes me on to EyeEm, a social sharing photo app with some clever features such as a personalised photo feed and I really like the Around Me option for postings done by others locally.  They don’t hide about the prospect of selling on your photos.  Indeed, other apps such as foap allow you to sell your own photos should you so wish.

As I write, there are new and better social apps being created to satisfy the demands of those wishing to share their status, thoughts or photos.  They won’t change the world as they don’t really ‘do’ anything, but social media will grow especially strongly in 2013 as smartphone penetration significantly exceeds 50%.

John Carroll is Senior Director in Ipsos MediaCT and Chairman of the Media Research Group (follow John on Twitter @MediaCarroll)