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Whatever Happened to Library Blogs?

Something’s shifted. Maybe it’s just that I’ve shifted. My life has become almost unrecognizable compared to a year ago, so I wouldn’t rule this possibility out just yet. But even so, I’m inclined to think that the landscape and function of librarians’ blogs is in the process of a transformation.

Two years ago, I mentioned that participating in the biblioblogosphere was like attending a conference every day. A year ago, a good portion of my evenings were spent reading, thinking about, and responding to other librarians’ blogs. This was what kept me feeling connected to the larger world of librarianship. This was what made me feel useful beyond my own patron community. And this was a major source of contact with librarians whom I had come to regard as friends.

But lately, I wake up to find that my RSS aggregator has very few new posts from this once-prolific core of librarian bloggers, and I certainly haven’t been contributing to anyone’s aggregator overload recently. Not by a long stretch.

In my darker moments, I worry that we’re a little bit burned out, or that we’ve given up trying to change the world by weighing in on issues large and small. But while there may be some of this at work, I think it has more to do with a shift in communication patterns. Two years ago, blogs provided a venue for people’s carefully thought-out ideas as well as for their off-the-cuff thoughts, gut reactions, and general banter. In this way, they were like the sessions and the between- and after-session banter at a conference. Today I think that blogs have begun to take on the more focused character of the actual sessions at a conference while places like Twitter and FriendFeed have become the venue for the between-and after-session banter. We pass each other in the micro-blogging hallway, have conversations about everything from OCLC’s latest craziness to weekend entertainment plans, shout hello to other passers-by, and show each other our pictures or the latest new gaget we’re playing with. Then, when we have something more formal to say, we take the time to sit down and compose a blog post to present to our peers.

Then again, maybe this is just a very long justification for the decline and fall of a small portion of the librarian blogosphere.

Published inBlogs and Blogging


  1. Julian Julian

    I called this one over two years ago. It’s one of the top reasons why my online (professional) presence does not include a blog. This medium doesn’t seem to meet the attention span of some of us anymore.

    Having a blog today is no longer special (the way it was relatively new, exciting, and “the future” 2-3 years ago)… especially if it’s a “new” blog/blogger. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend this format to a newbie unless their brick-and-mortar presence is already strong, or the content would be very original and likely of great interest and demand to a broad audience. That is, if the point of blogging is to make a name for oneself and be more than anonymous (unless you are AL). I’m not completely knocking the medium, though. It is still possible to catch lightning in a bottle. It just won’t be happening as often these days. I think the future of this medium is indeed in content that is more focused and concentrated around a finite group of concepts. In any case, it’s good practice for writing.

    I didn’t see this post in my RSS aggregator, or even by manually visiting the page. Saw it on FriendFeed. :)

  2. rogersurbanek rogersurbanek

    I’ve said, over and over, to my colleagues and anyone who wants to listen, that we’re in the middle of a social, cultural, and technological transition period. I suspect that this is just part of that shift, part of the transition from what the world was to what the future will be, and we happen to be riding the wave. Lucky us. :)

  3. Iris Iris

    It is a fascinating shift to watch, for sure! (Though I must admit that I’m easily fascinated by shifting and emerging patterns.)

    In the mean time, I’m sitting here pondering the place of name-making in all of this.

  4. […] and then fray about the edges in several of these spaces within FriendFeed. Meanwhile, the blogging community had frayed about the edges (Meredith also just wrote about […]

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