Thursday, January 29, 2015

Even for Andrew Sullivan, blogging isn't dead; but it's hard to make extended trips to the real world

So Andrew Sullivan has stirred things up with “A Note to My Readers” that he will stop blogging, or at least suspend it for a while, and go back to the real world (that reminds me of John Galt at the end of “Atlas Shrugged”, at the end of the book).  His link is here.  I don’t quite understand how his pay meter or tip jar worked, because I don’t run one.
And Chris Cillizza in the Washington Post says, “No blogging isn’t dead”, (here)  any more than “God is dead” (as with that Time issue in the 1960s, with the movie “Rosemary’s Baby” (gratuitously remade for TV recently), or even the more recent series “Resurrection”, which says the same thing). 
Blogging is indeed a “publishing platform”, and before blogs we had “flat sites” like by “hppub” which got replaced by the more aptly domain-named “Do Ask Do Tell” after my books. 
But once you start you have to stay at it.  You have to take your digital life with you when you go on vacation.  That makes long trips to remote areas, especially overseas, impossible, especially volunteering overseas. And that, as I noted on the previous post, is becoming more critical as terror threats interfere with travel and possibly the use of electronics on trips.   It also makes a lot of conventional employment impossible because of “conflict of interest”.  But I started this late in life, when I had quasi-retired.  I could “afford” to make it a second career and not peddle life insurance (like an obligatory huckster) instead.

The newer forms of social media, mainly as implemented by Facebook, have tended to place more emphasis on having people actually know you or have a specific connection to you, before getting news from you.  That isn’t necessarily good for me at all, yet Twitter and Facebook have turned into relatively effective platforms for “broadcast” in practice.  Given how that is being abused in the world (recruiting propaganda and copycats -- one example), I wonder if that can last (see Saturday’s post).  

Update: January 30

Ezra Klein weighs on on Vox Media about Andrew Sullivan's "taking a break", with a piece "What Andrew Sullivan's exist says about the future of blogging", here.  It's true, as I noted above, there is a lot of tension between modern social media, with the need to generate ("viral") contacts with specific people, and "older" forms of blogging (like around 2006) with the focus on a "conversation" about an area of content (requiring contextual knowledge), and even older "flat sites" associated with self-published books -- my model going back to 1997.  (Remember "Hometown AOL"?)  As I found then, when I worked as a substitute teacher, putting out controversial material this way, to readers who find it and don't bother to look up and understand the broader context, can lead to dangerous misinterpretation, what lawyers now call "the implicit content problem".  

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