Is Twitter Killing Blogs?

The youth ministry world has seen a decline in the quantity and quality of youth ministry blogs. I don’t have any research to back that statement up, but as a person who spends his life blogging the world of youth ministry I can say that I find it harder and harder to find great blog posts about youth ministry. The known bloggers have gotten better, and there are plenty of youth groups who have a blog as their groups website. But by and large I find it harder and harder to find the middle of the road youth worker who is just blogging about day-to-day challenges.

The flip side is that I see a huge increase in the number of Facebook users and Twitter users in the youth ministry world.

– Does this represent a change from the personal website to mass microblogging?

– Is it that blogging, as a fad, is fading?

– Is it that I’m just stuck up and I don’t see some new bloggers out there who are doing a great job?

– Or has Twitter provided a more immediate outlet for youth workers to connect? Is it just faster and easier?

p.s. If you’re not already a friend of mine on Facebook or following me on Twitter consider yourselves invited.

By Adam McLane

Kristen and Adam live in Ahwahnee, California.

16 comments

  1. I would go with the last one. I think Twitter and Facebook have been the new avenues for people in youth ministry to connect. Plus, it seems relatively easier and faster.

  2. I’m not sure what is going on. I wonder if bloggers who are sticking with it are getting more or less traffic. If they’re getting less traffic, then blogs in general are likely fading. If not, then bloggers are just getting lazy and/or fatigued.

    I blog because I like writing, which I can’t do via twitter. To me, these two mediums accomplish two different things.

  3. I’ve noticed that more people are reading my blog but less people are commenting. I hope that blogging is not going out of style because I plan on sticking with it! Twitter makes it easy to comment and get a quick reply. People want to be heard which makes twitter is a better conversational outlet.

  4. From a youth pastor who’s blog isn’t being read…
    It’s hard for us to break in. It seems to be who you know. It’s hard to be motivated to blog when no one reads it. I have thought about blogging as a way to train/help other youth pastors but it’s hard to stay motivated when you don’t have the connections to get your stuff out there. It’s hard to know people when you can’t afford to hit up a conference. If you aren’t a part of some online network (facebook, twitter, pastor2youth.com) that is connecting you with other YP’s, it is virtually impossible to know anyone outside your city.
    I do twitter and follow some of the national Youth ministry keynoters… but I don’t think Twitter is the issue. I think it is a feeling connected issue. If you are in a cutting edge stylistic church that is getting noticed from the national scene then it’s easier to jump in. For those of us in plants that aren’t running 1000 or in more traditional churches that aren’t as “cool,” it just seems that it’s harder to break through. I know quite a few small town YP’s that are blogging with 20-30 people reading them and half of that are related to them.

  5. @Mike: Maybe no one is reading your blog because they can’t find it! I was going to check out your blog, but then I realized there’s no link to it. Link it up, dude!

  6. @Adam McLane: Sorry, guess I gotta turn my site up a notch for ya, huh?

    @Mike: Dude, I’m always looking for guest bloggers for my site. But generally speaking, exposure does take time, even years, and a lot of hard work. That’s why you have to be passionate about it to push through the discouraging stuff.

  7. first, how would you define quantity and quality youth ministry blogs? I have struggled with this idea of what is a great youth ministry blog? is it a blog that reflects about their youth group and what great games they played? or is it thinking theologically with other youth pastors? Or is blogging about connecting and gathering other like youth pastors who are experiencing the same frustrations?

    second, i think it is difficult to find middle of the road ym bloggers because blogging calls for determination, focus, and reflection. it is tough producing fresh stuff week in week out. plus youth pastors are so busy anyways, the blog normally gets the back burner. facebook and twitter seem to offer more a quick connection which doesn’t take as much thought, time, and energy.

    Does this represent a change from the personal website to mass microblogging?
    No i don’t think so. i think the committed bloggers will keep thriving and be the top ym blogs. But what I think committed bloggers have that many microbloggers don’t have: web design skills. seriously, if you know how to design a website using wordpress you have the ability to not only make your site look fresh, but design a site that is tailor to what you want to do. this is huge!! wordpress has open the door for so many rookie web designers. i know many guys who are starting web design companies because they know how to be a rockstar wordpress designer and rockstar blogger.
    bottom line: i think youth ministry blogging is like Darwin’s evolutionary theory of survival of the fittest. those who want it will get it and those who don’t stay committed will wash out.

  8. Jeremy- Couldn’t agree more. I think the Darwin analogy is correct. I’m hoping for the next great wave of youth ministry bloggers.

    I think what is lacking with some is two fold.
    a. Original thought. (See way too much just copying what others are saying without adding new thoughts)
    b. Better networking. (Newbies are skipping the basics like commenting and trackbacking and linking, etc.)

    I hope that little comment wasn’t taken as a slam. I just find it harder and harder to find decent stuff.

  9. Yeah, I agree with the Darwin analogy, too. And I think Adam is right, too — there’s a lot of youth workers blogging, but not a whole lot of people who are adding unique thoughts to the ongoing conversation. I struggle with that on my own site, too. It’s becoming a resource of “stuff” more than it is an encouraging and thought provoking blog that addresses the issues that are deeper than “stuff,” probably because I’m still struggling to determine what those deeper issues are and how to address them. I FEEL the issues, but articulating them is a completely different story.

  10. For some of us, we don’t blog because of circumstances we find ourselves in. It’s hard to honestly blog about youth ministry when things aren’t so hot at your church, or when things aren’t great in your youth ministry. People from church know how to Google and find your blog – and what you write can end up biting you in the butt if things aren’t going so well on the church front.

    That’s rather disheartening, because we learn so much by sharing (and walking alongside eachother) about the dark times in youth ministry. I think thats a big draw to the conventions — its a space to admit frustration, discouragement, etc. Sadly, admitting those things in a blog may result in you losing your job, or any shred of credibility you have.

    And then there are circumstances in family life — definitely the case in my situation. As a foster parent, I need to be careful with how much & what I share about online — again, it can be tracked back to me. Even if I don’t write about foster care, my name is attached to what I write. And when anonymity while caring for a child is key due to biological family issues, I have to take every precaution possible.

    If there was a way to anonymously blog – whether a psuedonym, or abbreviated name, etc. and still have people interested in reading what I have to say…then I might take up blogging again. But it’s hard to “promote” an anoymous blog, ya know?

    I have moved to Twitter & Facebook…and definitely miss the writing aspect, but like that I have at least SOME control over who can see what I write, without having to manage e-mail signups/subscriptions/other security measures on a blog.

  11. @Ben: I disagree. I’ve seen many anonymous blogs become some of the most successful sites in their niche. I think it’s because there’s an element of mystery behind it and is intriguing to people. Plus, the anonymous bloggers say the things that everyone else is thinking, but can’t publicly verbalize. I say you should go for it! Just be patient and stick with it for the long-haul. There is no such thing as instant blogging success.

  12. @Adam right on. being in the blog world challenges me to be reading a lot (anything from Crossan, NT WRIGHT, Leadership theory, psychological theory, youth ministry methods, etc). My blog then becomes the place where I synthesize and process my thoughts/opinions out loud; hoping that I will make sense of what i read and be able to present in a way where people get it. in a sense, my blog is the place where the translations happens.

    i am finding more and more youth pastors who are thinkers and willing to wrestle with tough topics that their students are wrestling with. although some people just don’t like to do the work.

    i strongly believe there will be a new generation of youth pastors who want to be educated and experienced and have a place where they can freely wrestle with theological and philosophical ideas that are central to the faith.

    @Tim I feel ya. Locating the issues is one thing, but to develop a way to communicate the tough stuff with a solid theological foundation is a difficult task.

  13. Ben- send me an anonymous blog post. I’ve posted a few others posts that they just didn’t feel like they could post because of the reasons you listed. When I was blogging about Romeo politics I would regularly get 10-15 comments via email because people didn’t want others to know they agreed or disagreed with what I said!

  14. Gman- I’m done with anything anonymous in the blogosphere. I don’t read nameless blogs, subscribe to nameless twitter accounts, or publish nameless comments. I think that whole thing served a purpose, but authenticity is king today.

    The positive of this blog post was that I found 4-5 new YM bloggers!

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