Magical Realism, Writing, Fiction, Politics, Haiku, Books

lunes, febrero 21, 2011

I'm Not Going Nowhere

Today the New York Times reports that blogs written by children are waning because young people have gravitated to Twitter and Facebook. It neglects to note that many of those blogs, especially those written by junior high schoolers, weren't anything you would ever want to read on a regular basis. There are exceptions: if the blogger were your own kid, and you wanted to know what s/he was up to, a service well provided now by Facebook and Twitter, you might find the blog interesting. Or at least telling. This has something to do with the evolution of the Internet.

Writes the Gray Lady:

Blogs were once the outlet of choice for people who wanted to express themselves online. But with the rise of sites like Facebook and Twitter, they are losing their allure for many people — particularly the younger generation.

The Internet and American Life Project at the Pew Research Center found that from 2006 to 2009, blogging among children ages 12 to 17 fell by half; now 14 percent of children those ages who use the Internet have blogs. Among 18-to-33-year-olds, the project said in a report last year, blogging dropped two percentage points in 2010 from two years earlier.

Former bloggers said they were too busy to write lengthy posts and were uninspired by a lack of readers. Others said they had no interest in creating a blog because social networking did a good enough job keeping them in touch with friends and family.

Yeah, ok. Does that mean that blogs are waning, as the headline pronounces ("Blogs Wane as the Young Drift to Sites Like Twitter")? Well, only sort of. It means that people select the service or platform that serves their needs.

There's not much of a story here. In the beginning, before blogs, there were Listservs. They're still around. They put an email in your box about something you're interested in. Nothing more, nothing less. Nothing mysterious. You could send the same email to a thousand people, all of whom were willing to receive it. In the beginning, the Listserv was all there was, so it had to do everything.

Then there were blogs. And blog-like things, Livejournal and MySpace. These bloggy-like things, I think, are now pretty much fossils. Real blogs? Not at all.

Initially, a lot of what got put up on blogs was awful to read, but that didn't matter because again that was all there was. Heaven knows how many abandoned blogs there are. Blogs with one entry, "Oh, so now I can blog, see?" Blogs that haven't had an entry in 5 years. Blogs that nobody ever read. The list goes on. The extinction level was and is enormous. Blogs require writing and a certain level of persistence. If I returned to a blog and saw that nothing had been posted for 90 days, I knew it was most likely dead. That happened frequently. Still does.

Then along came Facebook and Twitter. Facebook is great to keep in touch with people. You can return to what was posted last week or last month if you want to. Twitter on the other hand is much quicker, but doesn't leave much of a trail. If you have a lot of people you're following, it scrolls fast and is always on to the next thing as fast as you can refresh.

All of this depends entirely on what you want. And because people probably will want something that these outlets don't yet provide (I don't know what that is), there will probably be the next new something launched right after I post this.

People who use the Internet find the services that let them do what they want. I use Twitter (@thedavidseth), I use Facebook (my real, 3 word name). I have a couple of Listservs I use (e.g., this one about the death penalty) that I've kept going since 2002. The idea, and it's a very modest one, is that various platforms are good for some things and not so good for others. When there were few options, everything got used for, well, everything. Now there are enough options that people can gravitate to what seems works for them, and they do.

This particular blog, The Dream Antilles, serves me excellently to do what I want it to do: it provides analysis and opinion, and it has particular subjects that it is about. I spare you a list. If you're reading this, you know what the focus is (or can easily find out) because there are more than 950 posts. And you no doubt know (and hopefully forgive) the idiosyncrasies and extremes of your humble bloguer@.

So this blog is not waning. No, it's continuing. Here's Dylan:

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