Biblioblogs are blogs dedicated to the study of the Bible, both Old and New Testaments. Some of these blogs also deal with theology, church history, archaeology, and other issues related to biblical studies. A complete list of bibliobloggers appears here.
Brian gives several reasons for the decline of biblioblogging. Below are the seven reasons Brian listed for this decline (in some cases I have abbreviated some of the comments made by Brian):
First, more experts have begun to blog, so the Average Joe seems disinteresting now.
Second, people may be tired of the snippets of biblical studies and theology that come from blogs aiming to return to books and older media (or, the opposite is true: our attention spans aren’t even long enough for blogs now).
Third, some blogs are specialty blogs that leave no reason to surf around several blogs to find something interesting.
Fourth, many biblioblogs weren’t about biblical studies most of the time, they were about politics, social mores, and other tabloid-like news.
Fifth, people have wearied of the type of interaction offered by commenting on a blog (personally, I’d rather discuss a contentious topic with someone over a cup of coffee in person than in the anonymous, stealthy underworld of most blog comments sections).
Sixth, blogs have become acceptable, institutionalized, AAR/SBL friendly, which has eliminated their role as alternative, anti-institution, gatekeeper free entities.
Seventh, I’ve seen people being drawn to more contained discussions. . . . These blogs are hosting the discussions that interest particular communities and tie them together.
Brian wrote that “a small decline in traffic and a more apparent decline in interactions” may be evidence that people are losing interest in biblioblogs. In fact, those of us who have been blogging for a few years now, have seen the demise or near demise of several blogs dedicated to biblical studies.
I agree with Brian’s reasons for the decline of biblioblogs. In what follows I offer some of my observations on this problem and a few more reasons biblioblogs are in decline.
1. To write an educational blog takes time and requires a certain amount of research. Brian is correct: few posts published on blogs dedicated to biblical studies do not deal with biblical studies. Rather, most of the posts deal with political concerns, social issues, personal matters, and “other tabloid-like news.”
People who are interested in politics, social issues, and tabloid-like news can find these everywhere on the Internet. Good biblical studies and in-depth discussions of biblical issues are hard to come by and these are the things that people who have an interest in the Bible are looking for.
2. Most readers do not realize that there is a financial cost in maintaining a blog. Although the cost is small, it is possible that some people may not be able to afford the annual cost of maintaining the blog. Some people put adds on their blogs to generate income while others ask for donations to pay for the expenses of maintaining the blogs.
Most bloggers subsidize their own blogs. After all, most bibliobloggers are not there for the money, but for the desire to share knowledge and disseminate a deeper appreciation for the Bible.
3. The decline of some biblioblogs may be due to the lack of contact between bibliobloggers. Few biblioblogs link to other biblioblogs. If they do, they are very selective on which blogs are chosen to be included on their blogroll. At the beginning of the movement, when there was a need to advertise one’s blog, bibliobloggers linked their blogs to blogs dealing with biblical studies. This is not happening anymore and as a result, many biblioblogs remain unknown to many people.
Most bibliobloggers today do not have a blogroll. As a result, readers are not encouraged to visit other biblioblogs and this keeps them unaware of other biblioblogs that publish great posts on biblical studies.
It was also common for bibliobloggers to post comments on other blogs. This dialogue between bloggers opened the doors to posts dealing with similar issues. I believe the lack of contact between bibliobloggers may be one of the reasons for the decline of biblioblogging.
On a personal note, I published my first post on August 16, 2005. I began blogging at the encouragement of my son, J.R. He challenged me to share with others my knowledge and love for the Old Testament. My son was my first webmaster and he helped me with some technical issues.
From the beginning, my blog has been dedicated to offer a Christian perspective on the Old Testament and current events. Most of my posts deal with Old Testament topics and archaeology. I also deal with current events, but only when they are related to the Old Testament.
I seldom deal with personal matters and when I do, I still try to relate them to the Old Testament. For instance, when my mother-in-law died, I used the occasion to do a study of Psalm 116:15 and the death of Christians. At other times, such as when I posted on Pi Day, I try to express my interest in things outside the Old Testament.
As a result, I have seen an increase in traffic on my blog. If one looks at the number of people who are following my blog, the number in increasing almost every day. In fact, last month alone, my blog received visitors from more than 100 different countries.
Readers are still interested in biblioblogs. But they are interested in blogs which will teach them more about the Bible and will challenge them to become better students of the Bible.
I do not claim that my blog is the best on the Internet or that I am the best writer among the hundreds of people who write blogs about the Bible. What I offer is a passion for the Old Testament. It is out of this love for the Old Testament that I write about the Old Testament.
People may not agree with everything I write, but those people who read my blog regularly will always be challenged to look at the Old Testament from a different perspective and in the process, they will be challenged to go back to the Old Testament and discover its rich content and its historical and theological teaching.
As long as writers offer strong content on their posts, people will read these good posts and will come back for more. I believe biblioblogging will not die anytime soon. If biblioblogs die, it is because of our failure to provide the kind of content and energy biblioblogs need to keep them alive and popular.
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary