Apparently blogging is 25 years old but the current landscape looks very different from what the pioneers came up with, or even what I encountered when Cultural Snow took its first baby steps in 2005. In The Guardian (the only British newspaper that really got its head round the idea, integrating blogging into its news/views mix at a very early stage), John Naughton looks at the early years through the idealised prism of Habermas’s public sphere and obviously there are still people keeping that faith.
But social media and, more significantly, money have combined to piss on old Jürgen’s chips. Blogs aren’t dead but the phenomenon got so mixed up with other digital platforms that you can’t really see the join. There’s now a magazine (Yes! Dead tree media! The very thing we were supposedly endangering!) called Blogosphere but it’s not about the sort of blogging I remember, where we’d collectively ponder the meaning existence, but also have time for complete gibberish like this. No, it’s “all about influencers and the influencer industry” which is essentially people with very white teeth and no perceptible body hair being paid to pretend to like things. I think if one of them had popped up 10 years ago we (Patroclus and Slaminsky and Billy and LC and RoMo and Spinny and many more) would have stomped them to death with the sheer force of our self-righteousness. And, y’know, I think we would have been right.
PS: A lesson in how to deal with influencers.
PPS: By Kathy Macleod:
PPPS: More influencer stuff.