Is anybody else the right age to remember Xanga? I was in middle school when the journaling site became popular, and we were all obsessed with using Xanga to share our feelings, the coolest outfit we just bought for the first day of school, who we thought looked cute at the local fair – you know, typical 13- to 15-year-old girl stuff. I laugh about it now, but my friends and I took what people wrote on their Xanga page very seriously. I still remember the pair of K-Swiss sneakers I coerced my mom into buying me because an older student said they were the “it” shoe. And as we grew older, so did the influence of blogging.
Over the years, blogging went from a way to share one’s feelings in a digital, public diary to a business tool for building brand awareness and selling products. It also became a way for dairy enthusiasts to advocate for our industry by sharing stories and photos of their lives on the farm and/or their experiences working in and supporting the industry.
However, as the world of digital communication began to evolve, many dairy and farming content creators started leaving their blogs behind and gravitating toward different channels to leverage their influence – mainly, social media. I had suspected this when I began my initial research for popular blogs to share in this article. To continue investigating my hunch on the current state of blogging, I reached out to Annaliese Wegner of Wegnerlann Dairy and Modern-day Farm Chick, who started her journey online about 11 years ago.
“I had a lot to share and really enjoyed sharing pieces from my farm life. There were so many things that were basic to me that people outside of agriculture found so surprising or interesting.”
Annaliese continued, “It was exciting to hear or see that they had an ‘ah-ha moment’ and felt more connected to their food.”
However, life changed and so did her content tactics. “Once I had kids, time was a challenge. I enjoyed blogging and writing longer pieces of content, but I just didn’t have the time to do it anymore. I also found that as social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook grew, people wanted shorter and faster content.”
When I asked if she felt like she replaced her blog with social media, she said, “Yeah. I feel like I can more effectively share my story through social media platforms and offer more variety: videos, reels, static posts, etc. It also allows people to have more access to me and feel more connected to me compared to a blog.”
Even though she puts more blog-like content out through social media, that doesn’t mean a website isn’t valuable for her brand. “I find having a website beneficial to drive people to me. It's something I own and won’t just one day disappear. It allows me to build an email list and further connect with my followers.”
I asked Annaliese if she followed anyone else on social media, who she felt used it in the same way as her. She shared, “I love following Natalie Kovarik, Andrea Severtson and SheLikesMilk.”
After this conversation, I turned to some of my favorite social media communities, friends and peers to ask if they had any favorite blogs. I was surprised at how few recommendations people shared.
So that leads me to my question: Is social media the new blogging?
Right now, I think it depends. For more corporate companies, blogs often serve as educational long-form content that they drive customers and prospects to from social media. However, for lifestyle content creators like dairy farming advocates, dairy fitness and health gurus, etc., it seems that they are sharing more long-form content on social media through post captions, videos and stories – their social profile is the end destination. But, to contradict myself, content creators that focus on food and recipes seem to still rely heavily on blogs as a way to share full recipes with a story.
Today, I still feel that both blog and social media are effective tools, depending on the specific person or group. Now my next question is … if we think social media is on track to take over blogging, what’s going to take over social media?