Thursday, December 16, 2010

Blogging is Dead! Long Live Blogging!

"Blogging 'Peaks,' But Reports of Its Death Are Exaggerated"
Ryan Singel, Epicenter, Wired, (December 16, 2010)

"Have we hit peak blogging, the point where blogging slowly becomes as antiquated as the CB radio, a niche hobby like woodworking, and a musty, ungainly verb that falls out of the popular lexicon?

"There's hints of it in the new Pew Internet report which finds that blogging by teenagers has fallen by half since 2006, and even young adults seem to be dropping the habit.

"Few of the activities covered in this report have decreased in popularity for any age group, with the notable exception of blogging. Only half as many online teens work on their own blog as did in 2006, and Millennial generation adults ages 18-33 have also seen a modest decline — a development that may be related to the quickly-growing popularity of social network sites.

"At the same time, however, blogging's popularity increased among most older generations, and as a result the rate of blogging for all online adults rose slightly overall from 11% in late 2008 to 14% in 2010...."

The Lemming is one of the old coots who's blogging these days - and has been for a few years now.

The article mentions Twitter, Facebook, Cute Overload, and texting as things that aren't blogging, but are: sort of.

Then, there's this:

"...But perhaps Pew has stumbled on something — that we are witnessing another nail in the coffin of nuanced communication, which has been on life support since the advent of instant messaging and nearly snuffed out with the prevalence of texting.

"Regardless if that's true or not, the central vision of blogging — give citizens a nearly cost-free online printing press and let them make media — hasn't died, even if many people find that it's too much work for too few readers to write up their trip to Greece or opine at length on Sarah Palin or the indignities of Comcast customer service...."

Dictionary time.

"Nuanced communication?"

"Nuance" is defined as "nicety, shade, subtlety, refinement (a subtle difference in meaning or opinion or attitude)" by Princeton's WordNet.

The Lemming has been hearing and reading about how shallow and simplified these here now newfangled things are - for quite a while. Maybe that's why this statement didn't quite convince me:

"...another nail in the coffin of nuanced communication, which has been on life support since the advent of instant messaging and nearly snuffed out with the prevalence of texting...." (That's right: You read this before, a few paragraphs ago.)

Maybe it's the word "prevalence." The Lemming has read about how the prevalence of jazz is undermining civilization: ditto rock and roll, television, and, more recently, the Internet.

And yet, somehow, we're still here.

Looking around, the Lemming notes that - sure enough! Things aren't just exactly the way they were back in the 'good old days.' Of the sixties, fifties, forties, thirties - back to when graybeards opined on how writing was ruining the memories of youth. And, probably, to when some reckless lunatic stuck seeds in the ground and waited for them to sprout, instead of hunting and gathering like decent people.

As the Lemming wrote in another post:

"...On the other hand, if it weren't for this dangerous new technology rotting away the mental powers of its users and (potentially) deceiving them into thinking that they actually understood what they'd read: we wouldn't know what Socrates and Plato had on their minds...."
(Drifting at the Edge of Time and Space (August 23, 2009))

No, the Lemming isn't worried about the 'death' of 'nuanced' communication. Any more than I'm worried about the deleterious effects on that other newfangled information technology: writing.

The Lemming will grant that communication with others on, say, Twitter, is not the same experience as reading one of Charles Dicken's novels: followed by genteel discussion in the parlor. On Twitter, I'm Aluwir, by the way.

Twitter, for example, limits each posting to 140 characters. That's not very much. At all. There is little to no room for subtlety, or "nuanced" communication.

That's okay with the Lemming. Twitter is for short, even terse, communication. Blogs like this one are where more "nuanced" - or verbose - communication can happen.

Like this post.

"Blogging is Dead! Long Live Blogging!

In a way, the Lemming is amazed that teens kept getting into blogging as long as they did. That's no criticism of adolescents, or blogging: just a recognition that teens, generally, aren't notorious for sticking at one sort of activity for extended periods.

Me? The Lemming hasn't been a teen for - quite a long time. I don't expect blogging to wither and fade away, or for me to stop writing these posts.

The article hit, in the Lemming's opinion, on an important point with this: That folks may have discovered that blogging is "...too much work for too few readers...."

Considering how much work writing is, it's amazing that so many folks stayed at blogging for so long. Blogging - any sort of writing - is work for the Lemming, too.

But like the fellow said: "Find a job you love and you'll never work a day in your life." The quote's often attributed to Confucius, but the Lemming hasn't been able to confirm that. Statements like "Fine words and an insinuating appearance are seldom associated with true virtue," or "everything has its beauty but not everyone sees it" seem more consistent with Confucian thought - and that's another topic.

It's unlikely, in the Lemming's opinion, that blogging is "dead." Changing, yes.

As for fearing that "nuanced" communication is done for? The Lemming remembers quite a few of the 'good old days.' And, as I've said a few times recently: they weren't.

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