Seems like only yesterday that blogging was considered hip and cool and thoroughly modern, not to mention a force that would transform the world and probably lead to many lucrative offers. In fact, it was only yesterday. Today, I read in Wired, it’s become quaint, as dated as shouting into a mobile phone the size of a refrigerator, the way Michael Douglas did in the movie Wall Street.
As Wired‘s Paul Boutin explains, blogging peaked in 2004 — about three years before I got into it. Now it’s all Twitter and Flickr and Facebook and YouTube. Video clips and crappy cell-phone photos speak louder than words, and 140 characters is all the text anybody has time to peruse. Nobody cares to read a few deft paragraphs; it’s about phrases, baby, and the shorter the better. Nobody cares about your thoughts; it’s about your impulses. What you feel right this minute. I got a kick out of this quote from longtime blogger Robert Scoble: “I keep my blog mostly for long-form writing.”
When I think of long-form writing, I think of a book like Anna Karenina, not three or four paragraphs about Windows 7. Of course, when I think of a cutting-edge band, I think of the Strokes, who peaked about seven years ago. I’ve made a career out of being a day late and a dollar short. I’ll finally spring for an iPhone on the day they become obsolete. Hell, maybe they are already.
Not that I’m denying reality or complaining about it. Blogs are obsolete, particularly unfocused vanity blogs like this one, run without the guidance and generosity of corporate donors. (Oligarchs: I’m on PayPal.) Fact is, these are post-literate times. Words, rendered in ink or in pixels, don’t quite cut the mustard. Sad news for those of us enjoy the craft. But time hurries on.