Nicholas Carr has a blog post on blogging.
October 15, 2008
In the new issue of the Atlantic, veteran blogger Andrew Sullivan writes a thoughtful and generous paean to blogging, which he calls - and he means it more as compliment than as criticism - "a superficial medium":
By superficial, I mean simply that blogging rewards brevity and immediacy. No one wants to read a 9,000-word treatise online. On the Web, one-sentence links are as legitimate as thousand-word diatribes—in fact, they are often valued more. And, as Matt Drudge told me when I sought advice from the master in 2001, the key to understanding a blog is to realize that it’s a broadcast, not a publication. If it stops moving, it dies. If it stops paddling, it sinks.
Nicholas references Andrew Sullivan’s “Why I Blog”
For centuries, writers have experimented with forms that evoke the imperfection of thought, the inconstancy of human affairs, and the chastening passage of time. But as blogging evolves as a literary form, it is generating a new and quintessentially postmodern idiom that’s enabling writers to express themselves in ways that have never been seen or understood before. Its truths are provisional, and its ethos collective and messy. Yet the interaction it enables between writer and reader is unprecedented, visceral, and sometimes brutal. And make no mistake: it heralds a golden era for journalism.
Why I Blog
Andrew makes excellent points.
Yet the interaction it enables between writer and reader is unprecedented, visceral, and sometimes brutal. And make no mistake: it heralds a golden era for journalism.
Anyone who has blogged his thoughts for an extended time will recognize this world. We bloggers have scant opportunity to collect our thoughts, to wait until events have settled and a clear pattern emerges. We blog now—as news reaches us, as facts emerge.
The blog remained a superficial medium, of course. By superficial, I mean simply that blogging rewards brevity and immediacy.
But the superficiality masked considerable depth—greater depth, from one perspective, than the traditional media could offer. The reason was a single technological innovation: the hyperlink. An old-school columnist can write 800 brilliant words analyzing or commenting on, say, a new think-tank report or scientific survey. But in reading it on paper, you have to take the columnist’s presentation of the material on faith, or be convinced by a brief quotation (which can always be misleading out of context). Online, a hyperlink to the original source transforms the experience.
But blogging requires an embrace of such hazards, a willingness to fall off the trapeze rather than fail to make the leap.
Some of the points I most attached to are:
It renders a writer and a reader not just connected but linked in a visceral, personal way. The only term that really describes this is friendship. And it is a relatively new thing to write for thousands and thousands of friends.
A good blog is your own private Wikipedia.
And, then I realized differences I am trying to do with the Green Data Center blog.
A traditional writer is valued by readers precisely because they trust him to have thought long and hard about a subject, given it time to evolve in his head, and composed a piece of writing that is worth their time to read at length and to ponder. Bloggers don’t do this and cannot do this—and that limits them far more than it does traditional long-form writing.
The torrent of blogospheric insights, ideas, and arguments places a greater premium on the person who can finally make sense of it all, turning it into something more solid, and lasting, and rewarding.
The one big point Andrew missed for Why I Blog is the metrics. I know how many people view a post in RSS readers and click on links. I can see when search engines bring traffic. The problem with traditional publishing is it is open loop. Adaptable efficient designs have closed loop control systems. Publishing on a blog with tools like Feedburner, Google Analytics, Quantcast, and Typepad Stats allows me to get information on how well things work and what I need to change.
I blog because it is a closed loop publishing system.
And, one of the top features I look for in a Green Data Center is whether the engineers and operators use control theory to build closed loop feedbacks.
How else do you know if things are working the way you expect?