Is this the end of blogs?

Will AI lead to nobody reading our blogs anymore?

This is the second issue of my new newsletter. This time, I'm focusing on developments in the field of web search. You can subscribe to the newsletter here


"What is AI doing to us?" is one of the big questions currently circling many of us, especially those engaged in creative work. Will "AI" soon be writing all our texts? Do we even need illustrators anymore? Can AI not write the source code for that? Are they allowed to just collect all our data and make a product out of it?

As a blogger and programmer, I believe we will endure. Already, it is becoming clear that many people want to find something personal in the texts. And even if that is limitedly possible, I believe that in the future, the seal of "Written by a human" will give our texts even more value.

But what if nobody finds our texts anymore?

Welcome to the world of web search. For a few years now, we have known that search behavior is changing. Those using a voice assistant and asking who the current chancellor is will not receive a list of links to current sources but the direct answer to the question.

Now AI and LLMs are also entering the vast field of search and likely frightening Google. Are they also frightening us website operators?

When I refer to AI here, I also include LLMs to simplify things.

When I ask ChatGPT for specific information, I will receive a more or less long text in response and can then satisfactorily close the browser tab. However, there are two problems:

I don't know if the information is accurate. ChatGPT could just "make it up" because it sounds good and fits into the statistical model.
Additionally, I don't receive further information like links. So, I'm stuck if I want more information.

First services like Arc Search and Perplexity are now taking a different approach. They offer an AI-powered search where I can ask my question - just like I would ask ChatGPT, in natural language.

In response, I also get a short answer to my question here. The difference, however, is that all sources are shown to me, so I can click further. In addition, possible further questions are presented to me if I want to delve deeper into the topic.

Why bother?

Classic search engines like Google have been ailing for some time. They primarily serve as advertising channels and are cluttered with SEO content. It's becoming increasingly difficult to find helpful information. More and more users are adding the keyword "reddit" to their Google searches because it then focuses on Reddit and delivers better results.

Will anyone still visit my website?

If you operate Wikipedia, it could get tight. I believe such sites will increasingly become information providers for AIs. Only those who really want to delve deeply into a topic will then continue to visit such sites.

If you write SEO content for clicks in search engines... well... I'm afraid you'll have a hard time. But that doesn't really make me sad.

Do you run a blog or something similar? Then I'm optimistic.

Whenever there are one or more people behind a website who bring something personal to it, these sites will remain interesting. Niche sites that build a community around them, offering networks and direct channels for interaction with readers, might even benefit from the development. Here, the exchange and networking play an increasingly important role, something that AI does not bring.

We've forgotten a bit about this in our blogs over the past ten years. But things are changing. Blogrolls are being reintegrated, webmentions allow reacting to other posts, comments are being reopened, and sites are starting to build communities. Some even become profitable thanks to Steady and Patreon.

Those just looking for quick information on a topic will probably visit our websites less and less. Those who are truly interested in a topic and seek interaction will stop by.

I noticed this when switching from Twitter to Mastodon. Even with only a third of the followers compared to Twitter at the time, a much more intense exchange took place, which I found much more valuable. I think something similar will happen with our websites.

What you could do now

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