19 Aug 2019

Blogging in the mainstream

I’m not sure how popular blogging is these days; I’ve read about a mass turning away from traditional blogging in favor of Facebook. My own evidence is only anecdotal. I find quite often when going through my bookmarks that blogs I had once visited now lie dormant, neglected and forgotten, or worse, show a 404 error code.

But together with this, popular news sites like the Guardian are now full of articles that read more like blog posts, and would be better suited to the blogosphere, instead of taking up space for the news I’d gone looking for.

Last week when I came to the end of a glowingly positive take on a just-terminated Netflix science fiction show – one which I had given up on after a single episode – I was just thinking well maybe I hadn’t given the show enough time, when I glanced at the talkbacks. The first commenter said that this show was truly juvenile rubbish and that if he encountered more stories like this in the Guardian he would cancel his sub. And I thought wow – I still have that gullible mentality that if something is appearing in a reputable journal like the Guardian, then it must have some sort of value. But actually, this more critical reader was dead right. The story was just a shitpost. It belonged to the democratic blogosphere, where everyone can post, and we keep our noses primed accordingly.

So that’s what I did today when reading a blog-type story about coffee – also in the Guardian, called: My neverending search for the perfect cup of coffee. Perfect blog material indeed, with lines like “The perfect cup of coffee is like the perfect lipstick: a quest that will end only with your death.” Which isn’t strictly grammatical. It’s a pleasant post, though you don’t actually learn anything (partly because she’s lazy about hyperlinks).

I love my blackened stove-top Bialetti for reasons to do with nostalgia and all-round stylishness, but it makes pretty mud-like coffee: good for days when you’re knackered, but very bad indeed when the last thing you need is to be wired like Frankenstein.

It doesn’t matter – it’s an engaging and enjoyable read – perfect blog material. Just a pity I’m reading it in the Guardian. I could be moseying around Medium or WordPress instead.

But maybe I’m being too narrow in my views. I think as I’m growing older I’m becoming dogmatically taxonomic. Hey Bob, you’ve misfiled that in the wrong folder again and assigned the wrong file name. And how can I relate to the subject of your email, if you’ve written about it in a reply to something completely different?

There’s a legitimate middle ground of excellent themed webzines that are entirely blogs. Like 972mag.com or Scroll.in. There are dozens of these. I don’t think many people go to them with the same religious regularity that they go to news sites. It’s more likely that someone recommends a story on Twitter of Facebook, and they follow a link, and then perhaps find themselves reading more stories. And one of the reasons that I’m coming across these blog type stories on the news sites, rather than in the blog venues, is that I’m not so much into social media lately, and have been neglecting my news-feed aggregators.

TLDR; – hard to say; it’s like that story about coffee. Just a few reflections.

Tags: blogging
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