Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Blogdeath anyone?

Blog Doom
Paul Boutin, writing for Wired, recently posted a blog advising readers: “Thinking about launching your own blog? Here's some friendly advice: Don't. And if you've already got one, pull the plug.”

It seems that he believes that blogs, once the realm of personal ruminations, have become supplanted by “professional” blogs, many of them the online equivalent of a magazine, like the Huffington Post, or Engadget, the post-millennial Popular Mechanics.

Even though he himself was blogging for Wired. And he has his own blog on Valleywag.

Furthermore, he wrote, “When blogging was young, enthusiasts rode high, with posts quickly skyrocketing to the top of Google's search results for any given topic.” Nowadays, you’re lucky if your blog shows up on Google at all. On the other hand, flamers lurk! And “text-based Web sites aren't where the buzz is anymore.” Plus a guy Paul knows stopped writing his blog. So there you go. Who needs the hassle?

Mr. Boutin wrote, “Twitter — which limits each text-only post to 140 characters — is to 2008 what the blogosphere was to 2004.”

What? The blogosphere had a year? And now we have to pay really really close attention to Twitter? Twitter? The equivalent of scribbling with Magic Marker on a bathroom stall? It gets a whole year too?

He continued: “You'll find Scoble, Calacanis [famous names in Internet world] and most of their buddies from the golden age there.”

Golden age? What is this, ancient Greece?

“They claim it's because Twitter operates even faster than the blogosphere. And Twitter posts can be searched instantly, without waiting for Google to index them.”

Wow. You can find half-thought-out nitwittery in nanoseconds.

He concluded: “As a writer, though, I'm onto the system's real appeal: brevity. Bloggers today are expected to write clever, insightful, witty prose to compete with Huffington and The New York Times. Twitter's character limit puts everyone back on equal footing. It lets amateurs quit agonizing over their writing and cut to the chase.”

That’s what we need, more unagonized amateurs blurting whatever pops into their heads.

He gave an example: “@WiredReader: Kill yr blog. 2004 over. Google won't find you. Too much cruft from HuffPo, NYT. Commenters are tards. C u on Facebook?”

The message I’m getting is that once you cross over to Twitter you start writing like the Hulk? This good? No. Hulk smash.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't speak to the modern way of blogging, but I ran across a delightful discovery while reading Sol Steinmetz's cute little book Semantic Antics: How and Why Words Change Meaning. Steinmetz quotes Ian Shoales to show off the specific use of a word. I don't know if this is the first time he's gotten to be part of a dictionary-inspired product.

4:13 AM  
Blogger Merle Kessler said...

Thanks, Austin! I tried to Google the citation, but Amazon won't let me search the .pdf file, because I haven't bought anything from Amazon in three years. Message: if you don't shop, you lose. Wake up, America!

8:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found my copy of the book, which was being evasive this morning. From the entry Repugnant beginning on page 190:

According to the American radio commentator Ian Shoales, ``People on the East Coast regard people west of, say, Philadelphia as ... slightly repugnant, alien life forms.''

Shoales's use of repugnant, meaning ``disgusting, offensive, loathsome,'' has been in English a relatively short time. It was first recorded in 1879, in a translation from French, and was derived from th earlier meaning (1777) of ``distasteful, objectionable (to)'', as in actions repugnant to the moral sense, restrictions repugnant to one's feeling.

It goes on to talk about the word's original meaning in Middle English and then finally the Latin from which it originally came. (I'm a little fuzzy on how it got from English to French and back again, but apparently this sort of thing happens all the time etymologically.)

5:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's life east of Philadelphia?--WJ in San Jose

8:58 AM  
Blogger Sara Pickell said...

I get this unsettling feeling that Mr. Boutin thinks that being the "most read, most searched for" blogs is all anyone wants from a blog. Why, if you can't be in Technorati's top 100, for what other purpose would you wake in the morning, drink your coffee and express yourself in writing and pictures?

1:38 PM  

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