Saturday, August 14, 2010
Is the Blog in Decline?--A Friday Journal
An article in this week's Newsweek was dashing my hopes for the future of blogs.
Almost a year ago I started this blog.
I love books and traditional modes of publishing. I resisted the idea of a blog (web-log) on philosophical grounds, insisting that like most technology it was a passing fad, and that folks were too impatient for the latest gadget to make blogs work in the long term. Blogs were for narcissists, I thought, or were too immediate to demand deeper thought, or were published so quickly as to provide little time for fully developed writing.
But after a while, the thought of making immediate connections with readers through my original writing was attractive, and so I decided to at least look into it more.
After inspiration in the form of Arianna Huffington's Book of Blogging, and a few trips to my favorite Huffington Post, I researched and found the easiest and most manageable blog instrument, and got started.
I decided to use the blog as a personal journal, a way to experiment with different forms of writing, to develop pieces on topics I loved, to write outside my comfort zone at times, to have fun with pictures and links, and to make friends and connections.
It shaped up into a journal I have grown fond of, and I have worked hard at it, and provided the best writing I was capable of creating, and tried to do even better. I confirmed that while writing is my great love, editing is my passion, and I labored for hours on many pieces to get just the exact right word, the perfect rhythm, and went over and over some pieces even after they were "published". I am thrilled that I have actual followers who comment...and I have learned much from fellow web-loggers.
I felt that I was taking the first step in a concerted effort to reinvent myself, stay relevant, and more completely develop my love (and modest talent) for writing, especially my beloved film essays, and sentimental pieces about dogs and animals.
Now, according to Newsweek, "Amateur blogs, the original embodiment of Web democracy, are showing signs of decline......about 95% of blogs are launched and quickly abandoned. A recent Pew study found that blogging has withered as a pastime, with the number of 18- to 24-year-olds who identify themselves as bloggers declining by half between 2006 and 2009."
So now the pride of my re-invention process was about to reveal me to be a dinosaur!!
I refuse to believe it...and so should all devoted bloggers everywhere.
For a guy like me whose interests are broad and who moves quickly between them, blogging has helped me prove my devotion to a purely creative activity on a regular basis. My portfolio is on line for the whole world to see. It's not as glamorous as being on-stage basking in the applause of an audience, but it is just as exhausting sometimes! And a comment to me is like a standing ovation.
The Newsweek piece hit me at first as particularly discouraging, in an odd way vindicating my original disdain for the form as too temporary, not fit for perseverance, and doomed to the scrap heap of past technologies.
But there is so much that is exciting on my fellow blogger's sites, so much dynamic discourse, experiment, and dissent, that I conclude that this form is not going to go away entirely.
Maybe there is a place for a new kind of hybrid shop....in which readers may browse blogs the same way they browse books in a bookstore....a new industry of blog-publishers who can fashion "book-covers" for thousands of blogs, with some kind of flash drive contained within, so a reader may "purchase" the blog, and once loaded into a computer or reader, it keeps getting updated as the blogger keeps writing.
This will satisfy those who, blessedly, care to browse, and hold the work in one's hands, even sample a bit, and purchase it in a public shop, with the welcome distraction and potential human contact inherent in the best bookstore experience....
Anyway, until I find a way to make that naive dream a reality, I for one will keep going here....