Kevin Drum's piece "Blogging Isn't Dead. But Old-School Blogging Is Definitely Dying" is not without some truth, but overlooks key things. Most importantly, that when old-school blogging was in its full flower, text was the only easy way to share yourself online. Now it's almost as easy to create and distribute art or audio or video or combinations of those as it was to submit a long post in the Blogger submission page. We have a great diversity of expression happening, particularly in video.
Beyond which now, with a good computing device in everyone's pocket, it's no longer necessary to save everything up into one chunk you laboriously craft over a long evening at home. The conversation truly can be dialogue, with reactions and riffs taking place within minutes or even seconds. Yes, Twitter and other easy technologies for portable sharing of ideas and images are sometimes knee-jerk, but heaven knows so have the comments under blog posts always been. Nor has >140 characters ever been an unusual length.
One of the strengths of new-school sharing is that it allows conversations to easily extend and expand not only over a growing audience but also over time. Yes, we had follow-up posts back then—and that inter-blog dialogue was always a joy—but it was hard to find and even harder to maintain momentum. Now, between Twitter and, to my mind the best combination of the old and the new, Medium, it's possible to more easily find the pieces of reaction which wander around the web, rebounding from and influencing each other.
I started blogging before the word was coined and have never stopped, but—like many—my means of output have expanded as opportunity grew. Wordy posts pour out of us when words are all we have, but we have so much more we can do now, and more ways to use our words. Since Flickr and Twitter and Medium and the opportunity to take my long-form work into finished books through self-publishing, I write fewer blog posts, but I am even more creative and connected through the web than I was back in the day.
Old-school blogging isn't dead, it's growing up, and growing up beautifully into something new.
Have we met?
I asked that question here on this site in September of 1998 in a post one month before MetaGrrrl.com would turn into what we would later call a blog.
I say I’ve never met Karawynn, Jamie, Carl and Justin. What the fuck does that mean?
I sit next to someone on the bus, I shake hands with a co-worker’s client who I’ll never see again, I chat with the bank teller and somehow these are people I’ve met?
My body doesn’t encompass me.
I don’t have to breathe the same air to be in the same place as you.
Have we met?
What a different world we live in now. We’ve been through radical changes in politics, technology, and cultural norms. Our days have transformed as the non-present world becomes present through these magic devices in our pockets. I live in a different city. Have a completely new career. Am in another relationship.
What hasn’t changed? Many of those people that some folks used to say I’d never met are still a part of my daily life.
So here’s my question for them, and for you, what has made these “virtual” connections so strong?
How has the way we built the web and the mobile internet and our tech-centric cities strengthened and weakened those chains since that year, 1998, when it seemed like maybe this world wide web thing might be sticking around?
A conversation 14 years long
My domain transfer from Dotster (formerly 000domains.com) is now complete. To their credit, they provided adequate service for years until their platform migration snafu and did address all my open support tickets even after I had begun the transfer process to pairNIC. However, I am greatly relieved to now have all my domains with pairNIC, who are just great to work with and have a higher caliber of technical expertise directly available to customers.
Let me know if you encounter problems with accessing any of my sites or if any mail bounces, but I think everything is now working correctly.
It's not a radical change, but my online self is now looking more put together thanks to the skilful minstrations of Mr. Lance Arthur.
Do let me know if you find anything amiss, but, frankly, after the work he did both for appearance and cleanliness of the underlying code, you're more likely to find something working that used to be broken (or at least kinda janky).
The biggest changes took place on Discardia.com, which is now not only prettier, but more functional and a far better reflection of Discardian principles.
Hiring someone who actually knows what they're doing is worth every penny.
As you can see, exciting changes are taking place around here.
It took me quite a long while, but I have—over a decade after it ceased being my day job—finally embraced the fact that since I'm not a web designer anymore, that means I can hire someone else to do it for me. Because the someone I have hired is also one of my most trusted friends, this revitalization of my sites will take place with the same devil may care attitude as changes I made myself in the past. You may see all sorts of crazy, halfway-to-their-final-state stages of the process. Pardon, as they say, our dust.
[animated gif of construction guy]