Bill Thompson suggests that Blogging is all over...because so little of what's on blogs is worth reading.
Aaaaaggh. just as I hate the fact that I currently can't walk past a newsagent without buying an ice cream...I hate the fact that I just can't just let this pass. So, despite my knowledge that this will ultimately get me nowhere. Here goes.....
I find it difficult to put into words just how much I dislike the sort of journo-elitism that results in sentences such as:'more sites are created by people with less and less to say'.
Here's the thing, Bill. The joy of blogging, or online journals or whatever, is that everyone can do it, whether they are genius with something really spectacular to say - such as Bill himself - or a sixteen year old with a sick cat and a non-existant lovelife. The idea that there has to be some sort of quality threshold for this to be a valid phenomenon just so misses the point as to be beyond irrelevant.
The fabulous thing about the blogging phenomenon is this explosion of creativity, faciliated by some very, very innovative tools. Now when you get an explosion like this, quality and relevance to you (two very different things) are always going to be patchy. But the overall result of all this is a much richer and more interesting internet.
Now, each of us can move through the blogscape as we chose. We are free to ignore and follow what we want. Personally, there are now a few blogs I can't do my job without. A few I like to dip into for personal reasons every week or so. Dozens I graze when I have a spare moment. And hundreds and hundreds of thousands that I have absolutely no interest in.
But, the hundreds of thousands of irrelevant blogs don't make the valuable ones any less valuable. Just as the thousands of magazines I find completely irrelevant don't detract from those I read avidly each month (nor does it stop those magazines being fantastically relevant and interesting to people unlike me).
The other thing to realise is that this is still a media form in its infancy. My hunch is that in the UK, we need two developments to make the blogscape a little easier.
1. More thematic blogs
At the moment, there are very, very few blogs around a single subject. (for most blogs - including this- the central theme is 'me, me, me'). There need to be a few more blogs where you know you can go to find out the latest on...well, anything from left wing politics to cross-stitching or dance music, or whatever it is you're interested in. I think this will start to happen over time..particularly as people realise there are smart little businesses to be made (cue rant on nano-publishing).
2. Better aggregating tools
We need smarter tools to help cluster blogs together...'if you liked this blog..then you'll like this one' etc etc. I think that the use of common categories in Typepad (so you'll be able to see the latest posts in 'Food and Drink' or 'Current Affairs') will help here... as will the arrival of Nick Denton's Project Lafayette.
Right..rant over. Time for lunch.
Update: Tom, unsurprisingly, has a go.