Only a year ago, the conventional wisdom was that blogs were dead and microblogging would soon replace them. Twitter was supposed to kill blogs because it’s so much simpler to publish one sentence fragment at a time rather than whole thoughts bunched together into what is known in the trade as “paragraphs.”
Today, blogs are doing fine, while Twitter is struggling with flattening growth, at least to its Website Twitter.com (clients like Seesmic and TweetDeck have seen no slowdown). The weakness Twitter has been experiencing in the U.S. since last summer is now finally hitting its worldwide visitor growth as well.
In October, comScore estimates that Twitter had 58.3 million unique visitors worldwide, down from 58.4 million in September. Meanwhile, WordPress.com gained 10 million unique visitors to end the month at 151.8 million—this is after going pretty much nowhere since March, 2009.
Of course, I am using WordPress .com as a proxy for all blogging here (I could have just as easily used Blogger, which is actually bigger with 291.7 million visitors worldwide. And Blogger saw a similar holding pattern since March, with a huge sudden jump of 18.2 million visitors in October
So is blogging back, while microblogging is on the skids? A one-month spike in the popularity of blogs doesn’t tell you much of anything, but in any case it’s the wrong question. Blogging never really went away, and was in fact helped by Twitter, which is becoming the preferred feed reader for many people (thanks to services like Twitterfeed).
And don’t count out microblogging just yet. Twitter is finally rolling out improvements to its site such as Lists and the new Retweet button. Once geo-location features kick in, Twitter’s growth could come back with a vengeance.