09 May 2006
Have Rumours Of The Death Of Blogging Been Exaggerated?
Well, it seems like every cultural commentator worth their BlackBerry these days is claiming that blogging is dead or dying. Not the act of blogging itself - there are, after all, more blogs out there than ever - but blogging as a social phenomenon. Yesterday in Crikey, one of the contirbutors wrote this missive, comparing the current blogging situation to that of CB radio in the late 1970s:
"A year after he got [the CB radio], we would tune in and roam the frequencies. Airy nothingness. I was reminded of this recently while trawling the blogosphere – which is increasingly taken up with blogs that appear to be dead, dying from neglect or stillborn, with one or two initial entries, now years old.
It's eerie and suggests to me that we are entering the next stage of the online revolution, in which the mass expansion of blogs will begin to contract – especially those which are publishing out towards a putative audience, rather than simply being an online diary.
As with CBs, what thrilled people with blogs was "the ecstasy of communication", the pure fact of being out there in the wide cyberworld – in other words, the form rather than the content. What stales the experience is what some have thought was its greatest attraction – its networked capacity, which makes everyone producer and consumer, and hence collapses the notion of an audience (since time does not expand, while blog numbers do).
What most realise is that blogging is the illusion of connection, publishing into a void and thus doubly isolating. Those blogs that survive will and are evolv(ing) into multi-person sites, some with collective and decentred ways of uploading, others with hierarchies essentially identical to paper editing.
This repeats the birth of newspapers out of the "pamphlet wars" of the 17th century – the latter a product of the creation of a cheap, single operator platen press. This may be the necessary stage of development required to create a media sphere which genuinely overturns the mass media model – one in which a range of well-edited moderate circulation outlets can charge and get subscriptions. Whether they could turn into full newsgathering organisations remains to be seen.
However, I think the era of commentary done by interlaced single blogs may come to be seen as being as much part of an era as a time when talking to a load of frozen fish barrelling down the Hume seemed like a really neat thing to do. "
Well, that's his opinion. I hope he's wrong, but I rather fear not. I've been blogging since January 2004, and I've noticed the change in the blogsphere since then. Once reading the personal blogs of people you'd never even met was exciting, like reading real-life soap opera; and alot of the people who ran these blogs were almost famous. But now everyone has their own personal blog, usually only read by their own friends and family (and I must be some strange exception to this. Most of my readers are people I don't know, and almost none of my close friends read it). Anyway, it may be the case that blogging is not so much dead, as it has moved to become so mainstream it doesn't mean anything anymore.
This place has changed, after all. In my early blogging days, I often posted several times a day, and it was nearly all personal stuff (it was the novelty of the whole thing, plus, and I must be honest, I was in love with the sound of my own "voice"). Now I usually just post a couple of times a week, and it's often not personal at all. I think it's fair to say the Pod is lacking direction...
But now I'll shut up, and throw open the floor (I hope no one falls through). Is blogging dead, meaningless, or just changing direction? Have traffic exchanges like Blog Mad changed the face of blogging - for better or for worse? Will the future of blogs lie in the themed blogs, or the original personal ones? Is there actually a place for everyone?
Your opinions, please.
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