the problem with bringing back blogs is02 Jan 2020 tagged in internet
The problem with bringing back blogs is that Twitter is still the distribution platform. I never bothered to put analytics on this website, because to do so would be to give Google the ability to further spy on my readers and that kind of defeats the purpose of blogging in 2k20? It’s sort of like becoming a vegan and then exclusively eating vegetables from mega-corporate farms, or getting really into quinoa without attending to how you’re destabilizing Peruvian foodways or something.
The problem with bringing back blogs is everyone wants to read longform writing but no one has the time to produce longform writing without receiving a paycheck for it anymore, which dovetails with the larger issue that no one has time to do anything anymore without receiving a paycheck for it because all of our paychecks are too small. So instead of bringing back blogs maybe we should focus first on bringing back livable paychecks.
The problem with bringing back blogs is that as a graduate student I’m acutely aware of the fact that I’m supposed to be pouring all of my energy into remunerative writing—if not financially remunerative then at least reputationally. The interesting thing about writing for journals is that I don’t see a dollar from it (except the virtual dollars in the form of the promise of future earnings in a tenure-track job) but that, depending on the journal, my research is actually quite remunerative indeed, just for the journal instead of me. If I wrote blogs instead of articles, no one would profit from my writing at all! And that just seems rude of me tbh.
The problem with bringing back blogs is that there felt like there was a brief moment in the late 2000’s/early 2010’s in which blogging was actually a vector toward meaningful discourse, even in the wake of Google Reader (RIP). Again, this moment feels like it’s passed for a variety of reasons, including but not exhausting: 1) no one knows how to read your blog anymore unless it comes in the form of a newsletter or podcast or something; 2) no one has the time to read your blog anymore when they could instead read your tweet about your blog which you have to inevitably post because see point #1; 3) there aren’t any jobs anymore so the blog ain’t gonna help anyway; 4) blogs feel increasingly part of a kind of gestural cultural performance, viz. “reading the New Yorker” “while holding a cup of tea” “after having woken up at dawn to do mindfulness exercises,” etc. and you see where I’m going with this.
The problem with bringing back blogs is that now that the blog has become the “longform” choice as opposed to the “shortform” of Twitter, etc., there is the expectation of a certain length in order to justify the blogginess of the enterprise rather than the tweetiness of the enterprise, and then you get posts with entirely too much extra padding. A corollary to this is recipe blogs, which are sort of the last gasp of Blog Culture if you think about it. We all rely on the recipe blog and we all make fun of the recipe blog’s lengthy preambles before getting to the damn thing but perhaps what we’re really resisting is the old-fashionedness of the recipe blog, which presumes that we have 1) leisure time and 2) interest in another person’s life beyond our own.
The problem with bringing back blogs is that the length of the blog provides even more opportunity to share thoughts which in turn provides even more opportunity for some Nazi to come around and find my blog post and then harass me about it in some fashion. This is just a problem with the internet more generally but it’s worth noting that just because we all move to blogs doesn’t mean we no longer have to solve the broader social problem of “the Nazis are back and also run the government.”
The problem with bringing back blogs is that we all agree that when Google Reader died something about the blogosphere also died, but that neglects the fact that Feedly still exists and basically does all of the same things that Google Reader did, except some social functions that I’m perhaps diminishing the importance thereof, but in any case the point remains that we could have switched to something else but we didn’t? And why didn’t we? A provisional answer: the serotonin hit of Twitter’s instant posting plus intense sociality is too addictive to bear, such that we were always going to stop blogging and Google Reader’s demise was the symptom rather than the cause. In this regard the death of Google Reader is intensely frustrating because it forces us to admit that Google was right about something dark about ourselves.
The problem with bringing back blogs is that you can’t bring back blogs without deleting Twitter. And you can’t delete Twitter without a lurking voice in the back of your head telling you that you need Twitter for jobs, networking, new sources of info, and also cat photographs, intensely cringey political posts about the aforementioned Nazis everywhere, and the feeling of participation in a commons in a time of intense disarticulation. Maybe you can go to Mastodon but we still circle back to point #1: blogs aren’t a distribution platform anymore.
The problem with bringing back blogs is that after a certain point you have to stop blogging and work on the stuff you actually need to work on, for instance the fellowship application I have neglected doing for thirty minutes in order to type out this blog.
But the good thing about blogs is this is my website, and I own it, at least sort of (someone else hosts it), so I don’t have to spell-check, I don’t have to proofread, I can just hit send and move on with my day. Besides, no one actually reads the blogs till the end anymore, do they?