Are blogs’ 15 minutes finally coming to an end? London’s Financial Times features a story looking at the rise (and possible fall?) of bloging’s popularity. “At the close of 2002, there were some 15,000 blogs,” writes the Times’ Trevor Butterworth. “By 2005, 56 new blogs were starting every minute. As I type this sentence, there are, according to technorati.com, 27.2 million blogs. By the time you read this sentence, there surely will be many more.
“Still, blogging would have been little more than a recipe for even more internet tedium if it had not been seized upon in the US as a direct threat to the mainstream media and the conventions by which they control news.” Do you believe it? Has opinion become “the new pornography of the Internet”? The article takes a look at the issue from many sides; that’s why I’d recommend it. It’s more a story about our entire media environment here in the United States. For a writer to complete any work of lasting significance, writes Butterworth, they need time to do their work reporting and writing. Butterworth calls blogging “instant obsolescence; the future will never bring an anthology filled with yellowed pages of blog entries from the early 21st century. “The point is, any writer of talent needs the time and peace to produce work that has a chance of enduring. Connolly provided that to Orwell with the influential literary magazine he co-edited, Horizon, a publication that gave Orwell the chance to write some of his most memorable essays.” As a magazine editor, I must agree.
“The present round of chiselling may feel exciting and radically new – but blogging in the US is not reflective of the kind of deep social and political change that lay behind the alternative press in the 1960s,” says the Times. “Instead, its dependency on old media for its material brings to mind Swiftâ€™s fleas sucking upon other fleas â€œad infinitumâ€: somewhere there has to be a host for feeding to begin. That blogs will one day rule the media world is a triumph of optimism over parasitism.” I am the first to admit this phenomenon. I primarily use my own blog to point to interresting articles or books, unlike many others that simply uuse them as online diaries. Is that the real spirit of blogging? I don’t know, but it sounds as if I’m not the only one asking the question.
I just came across this passage from a book that I’ve been reading. It relates to my post from earlier this morning. Novelist Milan Kundera dubbed a term the term graphomania to mean the desire to be published, and insisted that it arises from emotional isolation. He writes that it “takes on the proportions of mass epidemic whenever a society develops to a point where it can provide three basice conditions
1. A high enough degree of general well-being to enable people to devote their energies to useless activities;
2. An advanced state of social atomization and the resultant general feeling of isolation of the individual;
3. A radiac absence of significant social change in the internal development of the nation. (In this connection I find it symptomatic that in France, a country where nothing really happens, the percentage of writers is twenty-one times higher than in Israel.)”
Kundera wrote those words in 1980, obviously before there was an Internet. It’s odd some days when you read about one topic, and words from a much different book or article leap off the page at you.