Wired News has an article about how blogs have recently been responsible for bringing issues, such as Trent Lott’s big mouth, to the attention of the media.
It also includes some less-than-flattering comments about the majority of blogs:
But it’d be a big mistake to think that these Internet diarists are all supporting noble causes and high ideals. In fact, the biggest interest that bloggers seem to have is blogging itself, said MIT Media Lab researcher Cameron Marlow, who tracks such things on the Blogdex website. Only items about the Google search engine and those cult-inducing Apple computers seem to be able to pull bloggers away from the mirror.
“Bloggers are navel-gazers,” said Elizabeth Osder, a visiting professor at The University of Southern California’s School of Journalism. “And they’re about as interesting as friends who make you look at their scrap books.”
She added, “There’s an overfascination here with self-expression, with opinion. This is opinion without expertise, without resources, without reporting.”
Okay, so maybe this blog isn’t professional journalism. Maybe it is as boring as somebody’s scrapbook or vacation pictures. But at least I’m not cornering you and shoving it in your face and expecting you to ooh and ahh over it.
Seriously, I’d already been thinking recently about the nature of blogging. I’d been looking at how my recent entries seem to be getting a little monotonous, and wandering around some other blogger sites looking for ideas for improvement here, both in presentation and content. And I think I’ve reached the conclusion that it really isn’t worth the trouble. I’m not a professional journalist; I don’t have the time or the background to do the kind of analysis that appears in some of the better blogs. And I’m not enough of a technogeek to want to spend a lot of time on the topics that interest a lot of bloggers. So this blog will probably basically remain what it has been; a collection of ramblings about personal life and some commentary on recent events. Take it or leave it; it’s free, and I never promised Pulitzer-quality writing.
I suppose it might be interesting to ponder why bloggers continue to blog. Is it really narcissism, a need to see ourselves published? Maybe. For most, it’s probably just the novelty. I predict that in another year or so, the number of active blogs will probably drop off. I think blogs are much like the personal websites that so many of us created long ago, just because we could. I built my first website in 1994, just because I wanted to play with the technology, not because I really had anything interesting to present. Like so many of its genre, it started out with a few pictures of self and pets, and a bunch of links to other sites. A lot of personal sites that got built back then have already disappeared. Many others are still alive, but forgotten and not updated. Mine almost fits into that category. While I’ve added some new stuff, little has been removed. And many of the pictures were already old when I first put them up, because I didn’t have enough recent ones. So there are 20-year-old pictures of me water-skiing, and 25-year-old pictures of me riding. I can see how that might bore Prof. Osder.