Paul Boutin writes
Writing a weblog today isn’t the bright idea it was four years ago. The blogosphere, once a freshwater oasis of folksy self-expression and clever thought, has been flooded by a tsunami of paid bilge. Cut-rate journalists and underground marketing campaigns now drown out the authentic voices of amateur wordsmiths. It’s almost impossible to get noticed, except by hecklers. And why bother? The time it takes to craft sharp, witty blog prose is better spent expressing yourself on Flickr, Facebook, or Twitter.
I disagree with Boutin on the entirety. Consider the logic: If the blogosphere (here cast as a monoculture) has been “flooded by . . . bilge” then this does not mean that the oases have disappeared. Have the “authentic voices” been drowned out, or has the blogosphere sprung lots of different “authenticities” (polyculture)? As to the last sentence: why? Is or has the objective been to get noticed?
Sure, you can get noticed, but you can also gather a few readers, just as you would a few friends, and keep truckin’. What’s wrong with that? I don’t have a lot of readers but I love the readers and writers who do come by.
Boutin’s is a corruption argument. But people are writing and reading weblogs. The culture will evolve and change, as will Facebook. Good text-based weblogs will continue with people who love to write and read. And, by the way, is it easier to load video onto YouTube than write into a weblog? Hm, where do I get the video?
Thanks to Susan for the link.
P.S. Why can’t the same argument be made against writing of poetry, fiction, or non-fiction?
I think that the same argument has been made against writing when you consider the publishing of same. With the ease of production (computers) and the audience and support of the internet, more people are writing stories in any form. This naturally “floods” the market with “bilge” as new writers seek publication. But that doesn’t mean that there is less, but rather more, really good stuff out there as well. Is it harder to get published? No more so than BC (Before Computers), just more work for the publishers, and more places to submit as new small houses spring up.
Then there’s the once frowned upon self-publishing market, and that’s not always a bad idea either. If you need an audience, there are plenty of opportunities and a weblog is one of them. If you’re good, people will read; if you write “bilge,” they won’t; but you still have the chance to see it in print (screen print) and feed your ego.
Some blogs survive, just as do good books. If you’re writing to be noticed, maybe the social networks such as Facebook, twitter, etc. are the way to go, where you can claim hundreds of readers. Though I strongly doubt that this is the purpose of following and being followed or that it’s satisfying to the real writer, since truly reading 1700 different people’s daily twitterings would not allow for potty time.
I just want to know how the money thing works. All this time I’ve been trying to be honest, worthy, genuine, when it’s bilge they’re looking for? Nuts.
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