A Medium Communicates with the Spirit of Blogging

The discussion earlier this year about the death of the blogosphere is surely exaggerated.  OK, my blog was “resting” for most of this year. My excuse is general busy-ness – moving house, moving office, and changing roles at NICTA. But recently I had the enthusiasm and time to write a flurry of blog entries. (I’ve had more time during my newly extended train commute, but notwithstanding that, I can see my blogging enthusiasm comes in bursts…)

Isn’t this how most of the blogosphere works? Most bloggers are amateurs, writing about their family, pets, or hobbies. The glamorous fantasy of blogging driving democratic journalism and incisive public commentary is true, but it’s only ever been true for only a tiny part of the whole.

It takes a certain perverse commitment to blog regularly if you’re not being paid for it. Of course increasingly, some bloggers do get paid for it – either as journalists, company employees or, for an elite influential few, through significant online ad revenue. But the fact that some people are paid for it doesn’t significantly affect the cost or value of blogging for the mass of amateurs.

So Nic Carr’s wrong to say that blogging “outside the bounds of the traditional media is gone” – the blogosphere is not dead. Yes, as the Economist says “Blogging has entered the mainstream” – blogging is now accepted a part of the spectrum of modern media. But non-mainstream blogging hasn’t died. There are still plenty of blogs about family, pets, hobbies, and there are still individuals reporting and providing independent social commentary.

Ironically, at the same time as blogging technology is becoming accepted by the mainstream media, it’s also becoming accepted for other more industrial purposes. Blogging technology is no longer just for blogging – the formats that support blogs (RSS, Atom, etc) are used as a REST representation for representing  time-series content, including mundane things such as home loan product announcements.

It’s certainly not dead, but both socially and technically, blogging is growing and adapting. It used to be the message, now increasingly it’s the medium.