Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 20:38 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 20:38 | SYDNEY

Is blogging over?


Sam Roggeveen


12 July 2011 08:46

Jonathan Rauch, guest-blogging for Andrew Sullivan, writes:

For people who want to read and think, which is still a lot of people, the worldwide web is an incorrigibly hostile environment. Thank goodness, it is already in the process of being displaced by the far more reader-friendly world of apps, which is hospitable to quality writing and focused reading, as opposed to knee-jerk opinionating and attention-deficit-disordered skimming. The blogging format, I believe, was an outgrowth of a particular technological moment, specifically the gap between the decline of paper and the rise of HTML5. Its heyday is over.

There are a few great bloggers out there. Andrew Sullivan is one of them. But they're depressingly rare. If some strange magnetic pulse wiped out every blog post written since the format began, hardly anything memorable or important would be lost; and, after 15 years or whatever, it's too late to hope for maturation. The medium is the problem. The Web is great for shopping and research, but intrinsically lousy for serious reading and writing. Over the past decade and more, the most striking fact about the blogosphere is how little it has produced of distinction or durability.

That last claim is probably true, but would be no less true of the world's newspapers or talk radio stations. That doesn't make either format 'intrinsically lousy'; it just means they are inherently transient, ephemeral and, yes, superficial. We can value them for what they are while acknowledging their limitations.

It's also true that most of what the world's newspapers, radio stations and websites produce is crap, and the trick is to filter out the crap to get to the good stuff. Blogging, or the web generally, hasn't changed that timeless fact. But what it has done is make it both harder and easier to do the filtering. Harder because there is just so damn much of it, and easier because there are amazing tools and talented people on the web whose help you can draw on for free.