I wonder how many out there in the blogosphere would agree with Paul Boutin when he says, “Thinking about launching your own blog? Here’s some friendly advice: Don’t. And if you’ve already got one, pull the plug“, which is how he starts his insanely illogical piece titled “Twitter, Flickr, Facebook Make Blogs Look So 2004“. I have found this phenomenon of skepticism tingled with speculation a little amusing. Amazon launches Kindle and half the world starts preparing for a funeral of the printed page. Bloggers start posting widely about books they read, some actually able to critique it as well as can be, and intellectuals start shedding tears for the good old days of journals and professional critics. Now, while social networking through innovative internet comes in, the Boutins of the world argue that [t]he time it takes to craft sharp, witty blog prose is better spent expressing yourself on Flickr, Facebook, or Twitter. I am yet to understand why we live in the age of exclusives. Can Kindle not co-exist with the printed page? Do journals have to wind-up because of literary blogs? Are blogs already things of the past due to something as flimsy as twitter or facebook?
On one hand, if you compare just the social networking aspect of it, I am sure no one would argue that innovations such as Twitter, Flick, Facebook, Friendfeed, Meebo, My bloglog etc. outdo blogs in most aspects. But the question that remains is whether blogging is primarily about social networking. Did you start blogging as a social networking tool? I am sure I did not. I may also agree that in the past, in a non-facebook era people must have used blogs for this purpose, and some may continue to do so. However, it seems only logical to conclude that blogs serve another purpose that these social networking sites cannot even begin to.
I have been blogging on ‘wordpress.com’, free of cost and without having any knowledge of HTML or CSS. I have had no troubles and it has been a more than satisfying experience to say the least. Boutin, however will want me to believe that blogs are ‘impersonal and tedious’. He argues that the onslaught of commercial blogs and online magazines has washed off all that was personal in blogs. However, if we go by that logic, no social networking site has been left alone either. Institutions and companies having Facebook and Twitter accounts is the ‘in-thing’. Because it is also a means by which many people make money, it does not essentially become irrelevant. As a blogger, I have been putting up my views here and there and also been reading genuine personal stuff all over.
The lamest argument possible against blogging has also been taken by Boutin – that your posts will invite numerous ‘insult commentor’. Am sure no one takes that seriously. The walls on facebook are generally more susceptible to being defaced than your blogs by ‘insult commenter’. Another one of his thoughts is that the text based medium fades before the new media on internet. Meaning YouTube makes blogging rediculous. Where he absolutely leaves me bowled is when he says that “Twitter — which limits each text-only post to 140 characters — is to 2008 what the blogosphere was to 2004“. How do you answer that? Smirk.
Finally he discourages you by putting you up to compete with Huffington Post and New York Times blogs, as if you ever ventured out onto the internet intending to do that. What he completely misses out is that the real attraction of blogging is to see some decent writing on relevant ideas and stuff by people not looking to gain anything out of it, which in turn guarantees a reader an honest opinion. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or any of those (great) new things around can never take that away from blogging.
I have been a blogger more for personal satisfaction than anything else and therefore, most of the times, very irregular. I am neither a student nor an expert on the ‘phenomenon of blogging’ or social networking. However, i have used blogs as well as each one of the networking sites Boutin thinks of and I see no merit in anything he says. But maybe some of you who have been out there longer and more often may shed more light on to it?