The rather indefinite and unspecific ten-year anniversary of blogging is apparently upon us. This article by Scott Rosenberg in the Guardian neatly covers the historical context, from one view at least. What is most interesting though is the debate that rages around the medium. Prominent media commentators decry the demise of responsible informed debate. It is true that publishing thresholds have reduced to the point where little responsibility is required for text ‘published’, though it may only be published to a reading audience of a few. As John L Walters puts it in the editorial to this quarters Eye magazine, “it looks like writing, with characters and spaces and punctuation (and sometimes in the correct order), but it lacks the credibility that comes with publishing an article; the responsibility and the (sometimes unwelcome) constraints that go with the territory”*. The debate will of course continue, but we thought the following were the critical points of note which need to be drawn from the arguement so far.
1. However much you hate blogs they are not going to go away. And they don’t have to be read.
2. Blogs often get stuff wrong, but they hold the potential to be more quickly ‘rectified’. Wisdom of crowds is a powerful notion and one that ‘professional’ writers look down upon at their peril.
3. Rather than devaluing writing, blogs can also instill a greater appreciation of the written word. To say that blogs are killing ‘serious’ journalism and critique is as nonsensical as saying that sunday afternoon amateur football is killing the professional game. Quite clearly the opposite is true, a healthy active grassroots can only be good for the subject area as a whole.
4. Writing a blog has improved my writing skills (marginaly maybe, you can argue), but more importantly it has forced me to examine more closely the way things are written and the way writing style can embody content.
* Returning to the article in Eye, JLW also neatly sums up all the positive aspects of an active blogosphere, the crux being that the medium itself shouldn’t be brought into question, rather the awareness and consciousness of its scope and limitations when using it.
To conclude with a higher verdict and opinion on the subject, as it’s unlikely that we’ll ever get to the bottom of this one ourselves, apparently God hates blogs, journals, spaces and some photo sharing.