So I take a few days off (I know, I know) and it seems like things have been very interesting!
Lots of discussion on Twitter and via a few blogs about whether there was ever a blogging “Golden Age”.
Thanks Kate for kicking it all off with your post about professional discourse and blogging.
And there’s been another discussion about imposter syndrome:
I feel like the discussion has passed me by already, and I don’t know what else to say that really adds anything.
Having said that, I can’t let myself cop out and not add my two bits.
Was there a blogging Golden Age?
For what it’s worth, yes, I think there was. It was because blogging was a Bright and Shiny Thing at that point. We’ve moved on now, and there are a lot of other sites and media competing for our attention and time – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other blogging platforms that have changed the medium slightly, like Tumblr and Medium and so forth.
Back then, in the Golden Age, blogging was how I connected with other people. Now I use Twitter, and increasingly, Instagram. (Like Kim, I don’t Facebook.)
Re Facebook, David Weinberger says it best:
For example, when blogging first blossomed, it was seen by its early enthusiasts not merely as a form of publishing but as a type of community-building. Our blog sites were our personal presence on the web, and we viewed ourselves as social. That’s why the “blogroll” was standard equipment on the early blogs; it was a list of blogs that constituted your bloggy neighborhood. You read those blogs, you commented on them, and they did the same to you. We supported one another emotionally, intellectually, and sometimes in the physical world.
The blogosphere did not scale. I believe that problem could have been solved. But then Facebook happened.
In many ways, Facebook fulfilled the dream of blogging. It was fully social, came with sophisticated social-network maintenance tools, and was inviting even to those who didn’t like writing, didn’t have the free time to devote to it, and didn’t enjoy the self-assertion a daily blog requires. But my delight about Facebook is at best mixed for one crucial reason. We built the blogosphere ourselves. We wrote the posts, we linked to others, and what emerged was ours. At the time it stood in contrast to the content coming from the professional media. That content was written bythem for us to consume. Blogs were ours.
Facebook is not ours. It’s theirs for us to use. Facebook is now a far better Roschian prototype of the Internet than old-fashioned blogs are. The fact that I resist that fact makes me a prototype of a sad old man.
Twitter does enable us to have conversations, but the problem is that that the conversations there are so ephemeral. Posts, and their comments, are neatly captured and easily referred to again in the future. Try searching Twitter for a conversation that’s more than a few hours old, if you follow more than a few people. Also, 140 characters. The number of times I’ve found my poorly written tweets misinterpreted or I’ve misunderstood someone else…
I have never really blogged here on topics related to the library profession. That’s because (I think) this blog started off as a way of investigating the Web 2.0 phenomenon. If not for blogging I would never have managed to control and harness my imposter syndrome. When I started blogging I had to regularly battle against thinking that I didn’t have anything to say that was particularly valuable or interesting, and that I knew nothing. I referred to my inner critic, back then, and talked about “superstar bloggers” and how my blogging was not as worthy, somehow. (Walt Crawford even pulled me up on this belief!)
Blogging really built up my self confidence. I started off by writing little posts here, learning a lot of new things through connecting with others (as well as learning what I thought about some things), and using the new skills and new confidence to try new things. I learned a lot about librarianship. I got over my fear of public speaking this way. I met and have gotten to know many many people.
I agree, Kathryn, blogging takes time. You have to work at it – you can’t start a blog and expect that people will read it or keep reading it, if you don’t invest any time or energy into it. But I think the rewards are many, and priceless.
I think I’m convincing myself that we need to start another Golden Age of Blogging 🙂