I suppose I owe a credit here to Robert Peake, so Let me get it out of the way before I go further into this. I will do so for three reasons.
- It was after reading his post Blogging, Reincarnated that I was lead to Paul Boutin's Twitter, Flickr, Facebook Make Blogs Look So 2004
- By my citation of Peake's blog I am actually acknowledging that I read someone else's blog, thus affirming the relevance of such a practice to me.
- While I have no way of knowing if this is the case, Robert may actually achieve some boost to his ego by my mentioning his blog. In any event, doing so is harmless.
It is true what Boutin writes about how blogging has evolved into something that become an industry. It is also true that most bloggers will never have the draw of a Daily Kos, The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan or Wired Blogs.
When I started blogging this blog, (though there was one earlier) in September of 2003 I had no delusion, no expectation that my blog would be read daily by tens of thousands of people. I am not now looking down the long barrel of disappointment and feeling threatened by any of the big name bloggers. Suggesting that if I quit now I would be in good company because Jason Calacanis who made millions blogging gave it up is insignificant to me. Perhaps if I made millions at anything I might give it up to tend to dealing with my financial portfolio in these turbulent times but I'll cross that bridge when it becomes a problem.
Blogging going mainstream is in fact a tribute to its success. Oh I know, success can be too much of a good thing. Boutin suggests that Twitter, Flicker and Facebook make blogs look so, 2004ish. Many people have taken social networking to these levels and maintained blogs at the same time. And yes many of the big name blogs have become impersonal. That is not necessarily true of the countless other bloggers who are not commercialized.
The niche of writer and or poet bloggers fills a large void that has become a part of the changing social fabric in our culture. In recent years we've seen dozens of publication of the correspondence between peers - the likes of Robert Lowell, James Wright, Helen Bishop, Ted Hughes, Anne Sexton, etc. In the days when U.S. Mail was full of folksy letters and banter between people, writers had a chance to openly express themselves on a more intimate level with other writers. The present day writers has lost that touch. It is not necessary for me to feel I am being read by thousands upon thousands of other writer/poets. There is however a benefit in that smaller networking, from sharing trials and tribulations, rejections, successes, writers blocks and new ideas with a few others and at the same time listening to them as well.
Twitter has caused a good deal of interest among some people. I could argue however that it is just taking mass instant messaging to another level and instant messaging is so 1990ish. I have a facebook. I broke down and did one, but largely because of the messages from the countless literary journals that have a presence there and a few people who (coughing here) actually have blogs. It is a connecting source but hardly the same as blogging.
Boutin may actually be able to persuade some people to stop blogging. But if he is successful in making his point that blogging is really so passé he could wake up one morning and find that no one is reading Wired's Blog. But that would give his argument a whole lot of credit.