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Peak Blogging, Kind of Like Peak Oil

The sometimes correct prediction-makers at Gartner suggest that blogging will peak in 2007, AP reports:

Could blogging be near the peak of its popularity? The technology gurus at Gartner Inc. believe so. One of the research company’s top 10 predictions for 2007 is that the number of bloggers will level off in the first half of next year at roughly 100 million worldwide.

Heard of Peak Oil? It’s the idea that we’ve topped out on drawing oil from the ground, which is probably going to be true soon. But it’s not the same thing as peak energy, or of peak efficient use of energy or any of the other metrics that mean more in the long run than whether we run out of affordable oil.

Back to blogging: It’s entirely predictable that the number of regular bloggers — that is, people putting text on web pages in reverse chronological order — will level out at some point. Maybe it’ll happen next year.

But what’s not leveling out anytime soon is the number of people who are publishing on the Web. When we include discussion boards, podcasts, videocasts, mashups and all of the other kinds of things folks are doing on their own and in collaboration with others, we can be sure only of one thing: We’re in the early days of this phenomenon. Leveling off? Not for a long time to come.

3 Comments on “Peak Blogging, Kind of Like Peak Oil”

  1. #1 Seth Finkelstein
    on Dec 15th, 2006 at 5:11 pm

    I think it’s important to distinguish between the idea of *expansion* and *shift*. This confusion underlies a significant amount of deception in blog-evangelism.

    There is a media SHIFT going on. It’s in-process, and we are indeed in the early days. It is not unprecedented, never before seen in the likes of history, etc. There’s been plenty of media shifts in history, with the rise of radio, TV, cable. But it does mean there’s a game of musical chairs going on. And some people currently at the top of the heap won’t remain there, while others angling for a seat will get one (note very importantly, this is taking place among players of the game, between insiders – evangelists love to portrary it as The People taking on The Elite, but scratch that fabrication and you almost always find it’s one faction of the Club against another – if nothing else, because ordinary people don’t have time/money to attend a conference a week!)

    But at a certain time during a shift, there comes a point where the new media itself has reached a saturation point, and the number of players at the musical-chair games levels off. The game itself goes on, and there’s always some churn, but there’s a consolidation phase.

    Blogging in the *US* seems to have reached that consolation phase. You can see it, the synidcated columnists, err, I mean, the blog networks, fight with each other more intently for audience, since it’s easier to poach share from a competitor than to try to get new members.

    In sum, the number of people switching from reading print media to on-line media will increase. The number of people trying to take advantage of this shift (in English) has likely reached near-saturation. What’s likely to happen now is again, consoidation among players, with a few big winners and many others having nothing or nearly so (but we knew that already …).

  2. #2 Richard Stacy
    on Dec 17th, 2006 at 1:40 pm

    Agree absolutely. We are just at the start of the phenomena of people publishing on-line – in effect entering the next wave of blogging. I am surprised that Gartner saw fit to define bloggiing in such a narrow sense.

  3. #3 Ketcheson.net :: Today’s social media goodies
    on Dec 19th, 2006 at 3:59 am

    [...] Center for Citizen Media: Blog » Blog Archive » Peak Blogging, Kind of Like Peak Oil “But what’s not leveling out anytime soon is the number of people who are publishing on the Web. When we include discussion boards, podcasts, videocasts, mashups and all of the other kinds of things folks are doing on their own and in collaboration with [...]