When the rumors of Google retiring the Picasa and Blogger brands hit the web last week, it sent me down memory lane. It made me think about blogging in general and how it had evolved. I wanted to write an Om Says newsletter (and I am working on it) and pinged Evan Williams, co-founder of Twitter, and before that, the creator of Blogger, the service that was bought by Google in 2003.
With Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and countless other options, blogging isn’t quite what it used to be. I wanted to know what he thought about the name change (to Google Blogs) and what exactly is the future of blogging. Williams replied to me and I am sharing with you the excerpts of an email he sent me.
I’m guessing if you talked to folks at Blogger or WordPress (see disclosure), they’d say the numbers are bigger than ever, which makes it a difficult case to say classic blogging is gone.I think what’s changed is that “blogging as we knew it” is no longer the easiest way to express oneself online, so it is not the choice for the most casual users.
You have to be a bit more dedicated to blog than to tweet or post on [Facebook] now and then. Maybe that means the active blogging user base is only tens of millions of people, globally, instead of hundreds of millions for these other services.
Regarding the rumored Blogger name change: It’s kinda sad for me and those involved with Blogger, but I can see the argument why it makes sense for Google. The good news is, whatever the name, Blogger is getting better and is not going way.
The saddest part is that the Blogger [b] logo, created by Derek Powazek (later refreshed by Doug Bowman) is one of the best web logos of all time. Hopefully they won’t get rid of that. :)
Williams, who recently joined up with Biz Stone and Josh Goldman to start Obvious Corp, is sad about Blogger, and so are many others. I was an early adopter of the service and then a pro subscriber. It was like Dave Winer’s pioneering Userland product, and a key part of my blogging journey, something I outline in this post, How Ev, Dave, The Trotts & Matt changed my life.
More on that later, but in the interim enjoy these articles from the archives:
- Ev Williams: The challenges of a web of infinite information
- Why Blogs need to be social
- Plus Mathew Ingram’s Blogging is dead, like the web is dead
Disclosure: Automattic, maker of WordPress.com, is backed by True Ventures, a venture capital firm that is an investor in the parent company of this blog, Giga Omni Media. Om Malik, founder of Giga Omni Media, is also a venture partner at True.