Blogging's greatest enemy: Time itself

Those of you who follow me on other networks will have seen that a few weeks ago my co-host on the twofootedtackle podcast, Chris Nee, and I decided to call it a day for the pod. I posted a detailed explanation on TFT as to why we were hanging up our microphones, but the basic and overriding reason was a lack of time.

It's also, if I'm honest, the reason why this place looks a little neglected. I could use Tumblr or Posterous (both great platforms, I hasten to add) but I quite like to take my time to explain and think about issues. And much as I love Twitter, it doesn't allow for much in-depth analysis or nuance in 140 characters.

It's something I've touched on before but it's one of the reasons I can see for a shift in attitudes to blogging among bloggers themselves.

If you're young, a student or unemployed or retired then blogging is relatively easy to keep up. Similarly if the blog has some relation to the job then it's no problem.

And when blogging was relatively new, it was a mixture of the enthusiasts, who could work blogging into a job, and those who had more time on their hands who led the charge.

Now many of those who led the charge are busier or have made a reasonably good fist of trying to monetise their blog.

Certainly those who blogged for fun - and are probably still leading proponents of blogging - have less time or work on a blog that pays. It's become more professional, that's for sure.

So where does this leave the professional amateur, the person who takes pride in their blog but holds down a day job and possibly a relationship, maybe with kids too? There's only so many evenings you can stay up until the wee hours blogging merrily away.

Increasingly, I suspect, those early waves of professional amateurs have either got a career out of it or got out, bar for the occasional update on a semi-dormant blog (hey, I never said I wasn't using myself as a case study).

And although the idea of bloggers still very much prevails as the single person hammering the keyboard in the bedroom, blogs are now major players in the content and media marketplace.

It's why AOL's acquisition of the Huffington Post and Techcrunch didn't surprise me - although it's not as if either of these were low profile hard-up bloggers trying to make ends meet.

But they general idea that more traditional media or Internet companies will be buying up or taking over the smaller blogs is one I've been predicting for several years now. Blogging 2.0, if you want to call it that, is smarter and more professional. The first age of the professional amateur is, in my mind, largely over.

But this isn't a blogging is dead post, as the medium isn't - far from it. Blogging wouldn't be getting more professional and commercial if it didn't have something going for it.

And while an older, busier generation of amateurs reluctantly hang up their keyboard to spend more time on their career and family, a new generation arrives and, if anything, this bunch have the potential to be even more exciting.

Obviously you'll get natural churn and new bloggers entering the field each year as a new generation discovers blogging. That goes without saying.

But this generation - through circumstances beyond their control - find themselves living through a very deep and damaging recession where jobs are scarce. And that means more time on their hands.

There will undoubtedly be some very smart, unemployed young bloggers out there. Bloggers and those with general web skills who have a lot of time on their hands - and are willing to innovate and play by different rules, both for blogging and the web in general.

And that's not only exciting, to me it means blogging isn't going anywhere just yet.