Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Blogging? It's So Last Year Dahlings

I remember when faxes and fax machines were first around. You probably don't.

They were the best thing since the sliced wheel. For a period of a few years people were excited at the way the fax was going to revolutionise the way we worked and lived. At first fax machines were prohibitively expensive and only owned by companies, rich people and gadget freaks.

Two blokes I worked with, Derek and Richard, you know the ones, had a great idea. They were going to set up a network of shops, rather like Post Offices, in which there'd be a fax machine and people could pop in and send and receive faxes. I, in my early twenties, was amazed at their foresight and ingenuity and wished them well as they pursued their dream.

Scientists and R+D people put their heads together and tried to work out how to make thermal fax paper that didn't fade over time. That was the only thing that was preventing the world being run by fax. Signatures would fade and hard copies of everything were needed. Eventually the boffins managed to make faxes that could be printed on plain paper and the only thing to be overcome was the issue of faxes not being legally binding.

And then some bloke, I think it might have been Indi, went and invented the internet and everything changed. Faxes became to the net what snailmail was to the fax; slow and cumbersome, outdated and outmoded.

Here I am, over three years since I began my blog, and I look at blogging and wonder if the same thing is happening.

You see when I began to write on LLD blogging was pretty much all the rage. Facebook was popular and huge, but it didn't really have much of an overlap with the average blog. It was there as the social networking tool and doing a mighty fine job.

Twitter? Well I'm not sure if it actually existed but, if it did, then it was no way near as big as it is now.

In these few months later everything's changed.

Facebook, Twitter and god knows what else have become platforms on which people can more or less chuck out blog posts, albeit in slightly different forms to that on a full and all up proper blog.

The well written and classy blogs, those that are full of meaning and great language are still around, hopefully for a long time. It's not easy to write one of those eloquent posts when you're struggling to find the correct key on a Blackberry or trying to chuck out a quick bit of information as you're grabbing a quick poo while at work (hopefully in the bathroom not at your desk).

But the Pimped Up Diary type of blog (courtesy D Blacker) such as this has a questionable future for sure.

It's nice to read what people have been up to and catch up with their recent adventures, triumphs and kawasakis. But it's no longer as exclusive as it used to be, which many might say is good. This Twitter business is, I'm told, all the rage. A, my fifteen year old, has a Twitter thing as has most of the rest of the world from Stephen Fry to Gypsycum. I'll probably have to do it too.

Then you'll read my Twitter updates and get used to reading things like

"RD is having a crap"

instead of the humorous and wittier approach that you're so accustomed to now along the lines of:

"RD just won a battle with a particularly vicious turtle's head, but the paperwork was messy."

Essentially both sentences give you the same information. It's just like reading a decent newspaper compared with quickly scanning through the headlines while they scroll along the bottom of the screen on your favourite news channel.

Facebook, with it's very obvious need to try to catch up with Twitter, is littered with pieces of prose that I would have seen on "proper" blogs not so long ago. There are notes, attachments and links to writing by everyone from Man Booker prize winning authors to K, my almost thirteen year old.

People with blogs put links up on FB to their latest post and we can read the post on FB or on the blog itself. And, as old fashioned blogs have become a bit popular and gained readers, the anonymity of the bloggers has faded away too. Most people who read regularly know who Electra is, who I am and who Java is anyway. It's probably fair to say the we're quite indifferent about it as well, that we don't mind either way who knows these things.

It also means that there is little difference between putting something on FB, where most people use their real identity, to writing a blog post under a pseudonym.

I've seen so many of the good old regulars in the Lankanosphere fall by the wayside recently that I'm left with a puzzled brow and a curious frown as I wonder where we'll be in a relatively short time.

Will old fashioned blogs still exist or will they be like faxes and still be around but not up there at the forefront of communication and only really used by parents?

Or will blogs be the domain of real writing types and Twitter and FB be the places for the pimped up diary?

Your thoughts will be most, how do you say it, welcome.

I never found out what happened to Derek and Richard either.


Anonymous said...

Well, there still are a few good blogs around,like yours! But, yes I do think the, let's say,'advent' of newer stuff has started to make blogging less the rage that it once was!More fun stuff around for people has come about thru FB twitter and all I hear!

Unlike specific subject blogs,diary format ones tend to get repetitive and I'm sure after a while it's just pure torture for readers to come over to see what you ate for breakfast or where your next holiday is...gets boring to read as well as write!Unless you are brilliantly inspired each day!

All said,I doubt that they will vanish totally if written captivatingly(is that a word?) enough!

Unlike mine...which did just that!

Not that anyone's noticed!

Have a great day!

The Single Couple said...

My thoughts exactly. I do think blogging has turned out to be kinda "old world" now, although there certainly are some who have managed to hang on to their audience. What I came to hate were the recent trolls and counter-trolls who seem to have invaded the blogosphere thereby forever changing the way bloggers felt about privacy issues.

David Blacker said...

Did you just say Gypsy cum?

maf said...

Blogging has a future and a prominent one at that. I, for one spend a decent amount of time each day trawling thru blogs on global economics, political/news opinions, technology and the sri lankan blogsphere. I mostly glance thru headlines thru my netvibes account but I know plenty of others who do likewise. When you want to solicit or explore opinions from the blogsphere (for example right now) then a blog is a powerful medium especially when you have a distribution channel such as kottu and decent name ("RD").

You don't get this with Facebook/ MySpace or Twitter. Anecdotedly I log into facebook about once a month or so and twitter when there is a major news item unfolding ( eg the mumbai attacks). I use faceboo to see what the friends I haven't been in touch with have been up to and update a bunch pics about my newborn. I have still not figured out what i am going to use twitter for but I am sure it has its uses (especially the search function when major technology events happen). It may be that I am now 40+. I know firends in their 20's and 30's still trawl thru facebook far more regularly usually spending upto an hour a day but I believe this trails off after a while..

so keep blogging old boy.. there is an audience for the RD branded word

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Anonymous -Thanks for the compliments. I think you're very correct in what you say about the fun stuff being on FB and Twitter. Maybe blogs will become the more serious outlets in the future and laughs will be had elsewhere.

TSC - I understand why you feel that way about the trolls but also feel that, by writing a blog, we should be prepared to take a certain amount of criticism and negativity from people who just don't like what we write. I struggle with the "personal" slagging off, but it's ultimately my choice whethere I write a blog or not.

DB - No. I said Gypsycum, with no space. You have a dirty mind.

Maf - Thank you for the nice comment. To be honest it's not that I'm having any doubts about writing my own blog. As long as I enjoy it and have the time I'll probably continue. My wondering is about the long term future of blogging, and I think you're probably right about blogs having their USPs that other mediums currently don't have. C sends her regards.

Rehani said...

As per a recent survey, about 95% of the total 135 million blogs have not been updated in the last 120 days. So its just about 5% who really blog regularly RD. See the stats, only 5% in 120 days. Thats shocking.

As for your blog, i come looking for gossip in the life of an old divorced bloke who is totally wicked :) Its that simple. And i visit Dominic's coz i love photography, then NB (who some sad souls think is me) for controversy and then Indi for current affairs and ofcourse Padashow too for entertainment. And there are so many other blogs i read for a variety of different reasons. I guess each blog is different. As for me blogs are here to stay though future may seem bleak.

As for facebook, i'm not that convinced yet. I do have an account as Rehani Carimjee but thats with limited access to a carefully chosen 37 members who are my family or close friends. I know some of them have like 5000 friends, god knows why and how this is possible. But i use it selectively. And yes i do have twitter, but that again is restricted to close circles only. Obviously you don't want every tom dick and harry to know you are going for a hair cut tonight. do you? :P so i'm kind of careful. But with my blog, i'm kind of liberal. I want people to know about my blog first and then read what i have to say. And in my blog, i'm careful not to leak any of my day to day personal happenings. Its that simple again. I don't want to look back after 6 years and say "Sheesh...i've been a bitch 6 years back" Its going to be quite embarrassing to say the least. So i just blog about cats, fish, dhal curry, pol sambol, mount beach, toyota cars and so on. Life is safe that way.

I guess, blogging is fun as long as you don't over use or misuse it. And i think i will survive the next 3 years atleast. And yes, rehani will read this old bloke RD's daily gossip though she is unlikely to comment on every post. I am just too lazy to comment :P but when i do, i do make a lengthy one like this one. :P

Gypsy said...

Hahaha, Gypsy cum. Gross. Have to say my favourite is Gypsicle :) And Gyppo will always have a special place in my heart.


Ps - I love Twitter.

Pps - For the 758342518095720953th time, GET TWITTER.

David Blacker said...

Yes, like all the other poofs.