Is Blogging Dead? Yes, No, Other: I Choose “Other”

C+W2011 Panel E13
Is Blogging Dead? Yes, No, Other
I Choose “Other”

In this panel organized by Steve Krause, several of us spoke for three minutes each, after which we had a rousing conversation with the audience. Panelists included Bradley Dilger, Carrie Lamanna, Liz Losh, Brian McNely, Brendan Riley and Andre Peltier (we missed Aaron Barlow and Judy Artz). It was a a great format which I hope we will repeat. Below are my slides as well as my comments.

While many digital practices are similar to blogging in tone, genre, and vehicle, it seems to me that Web 2.0 applications have both popularized and reified blogging in several ways that are less productive than they could be. This generalized notion of what a blog is can serve to limit the possibilities. Taking Rosenberg’s notion of blogs as allowing us to “think out loud together” and speaking reductively in my three minutes, there are a few provocative statements I’ll make about blogs, before suggesting my choice of “other” to the query about the death of the blog. Most of these are the tendencies of the architecture of blogging software, of course, and can certainly be hacked.

1. Blogs privilege time over space and help reinforce the notion that what’s new is best, and often that what is popular is best.
2. Blogs focus on the individual rather than the conversation. Comments are certainly present, but they are submerged and don’t really need to be.
3. Blogs privilege text over media.

The continuum on which blogs belong, I suggest, begins with frequent web page updating, discussion forums, MOOs, and end with Facebook posts, the Huffpost, In Media Res, Twitter, and they are enhanced by embedded media such as Picassa albums, Slidshare, Vuvox, Prezi, as well as micro blogging applications like Posterous. A few years ago, there weren’t many spaces for these exercises in thinking out loud, and so blogs blossomed. Now, however, given these other forums, the more conversational and collective types of public writing seem to be emerging. So while I don’t think we are ever going to abandon our digital public presence, I think we might shift it to places like Academia.edu, Or we might make our web sites more blog-like, or our blogs more web site-like.

In the spirit of thinking out loud together, I’ll end by saying simply, “The blog is dead. Long live the blog.”

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