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 Faxes became to the net what snailmail was to the fax; slow and cumbersome, outdated and outmoded.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.