Thursday, September 16, 2010

The 2007 revival starts here

The blogging platform Vox is closing at the end of this month. Two or three years ago, such news might have provoked any number of anguished “DEATH OF BLOGGING” editorials, and a few by the likes of Janet Street-Porter, reporting the same thing but with rather fewer tears.

Back then you could barely move for articles in various media pondering where blogging might be heading. Would it supplant mainstream media entirely? Or perish at the hands of Twitter and Facebook, as Paul Boutin argued in 2008? The answer, of course, is neither. The fact that there are fewer outbursts of metablogular chinstrokery these days (present company excepted) need not imply that blogs are dead; it’s just that they’ve become a regular part of the cultural furniture, and there is no more point in thinking and writing about them every minute of the day than there is in constantly offering up one’s opinion on condensed milk, or trombones.

That said, the subject does occasionally crop up (as, I suppose, do meditations on Carnation or Albert Mangelsdorff). Here’s David Hepworth, offering a few thoughts about how his habits have changed since he began blogging in 2007:
Starting a blog is an odd thing. There's a curious early period when there clearly isn't anyone reading it and you feel as if you're miming a pop song in front of the bedroom mirror and you're terrified your mother will burst in. Then a few people drop in, presumably drawn there by the fact that they know you. Either that or the desultory nature of the contents...

But then you start to notice that some things are more popular than others. They attract more traffic and more comments. Then the temptation is to do more of those posts and less of the other kind, to try to anticipate what people might like. You get the same thing with Twitter. Somebody with a lot of followers re-tweets something you've written and the next thing you know you've woken up to fifty new followers. This is nice but then you wonder, what are these new people expecting? I've got a terrible feeling that I'm not going to provide whatever it is that they want.
And, once again, Douglas Coupland in Generation A, dealing with someone whose life has lost its narrative:
“But I can blog my life! I could turn it into story that way!”

“Blogs? Sorry, but all those blogs and vlogs or whatever’s out there—they just make being unique harder. The more truths you spill out, the more generic you become.”


Anonymous said...

I sometimes think I should have a Twitter accound that only tweets "read my blog" and a blog that only says "follow me on Twitter".

Geoff said...

Or in my case "Somebody with a lot of followers re-tweets something you've written and the next thing you know you've woken up to two fewer followers".

I must admit that since I stopped using Google Reader and looking at my stats I've found blogging much more relaxing.

wv - tinear

Romeo Morningwood said...

The Blog is dead! Long live the Blog!
I have no idea because I can't handle crisscrossing teh Blogger/Facebook/Twitter worlds.

I had my 5 years of Blogging and admit that I gave into writing popular shite far more than I care to admit.

What I would like to do is get off of Fb but I'm far too lazy..and I've rehashed my life story and cosmology on my blog so often that I am sick of me and my half baked let it be written, so let it be done.

Rog said...

Bloglines is shutting up shop as well.

It's easy to forget the suicidal failure rate of new Magazine publishing launches over the last 30 years.

Billy said...

Once again Coupland hits the nail on the head.

The bastard.

Annie said...

I really want to be part of the blogging revival but I have blog fear

Tim F said...

I know, zettel, it’s all a bit circuitous, isn’t it?

I wonder if anybody actively wants to get their stats down, Geoff?

I'm slowly weaning myself off FB, Donn, but I do have the occasional SQUIRREL!! moment.

True, Rog. But we don't write the mags, so it's no wonder they fail.

Yeah, Billy. Bloody beardy Canadians.

Don't fear the Blogger, Annie. Wrestle it into submission.

Valerie said...

Hmm. One of the reasons I probably do better with my knitblog than with my 'other' blog is that the 'other' blog has no narrative. I recently deleted some posts because they had too few readers and I felt I was going in a poor direction there. I think you do have to have some kind of consistent voice/story to tell, and I do on one blog and don't on the other --which strikes me as strange. Because I thought it was about me (the blogger), but I think it's actually about the blog.

Annie said...

blogs seem kind of quaint at the moment. Twitter is scary, kind of like a continuous shouty popularity contest. That is my (slightly pissed) contribution.

Tim F said...

I did a blog with a narrative, Valerie, but I got bored pretty fast.

Blogs seem quaint, Annie, but so does Catholicism, and look at all the punters who came out to see SuBo. And the Pope, obviously.