It's often written that Twitter and Facebook have killed blogs, and there's probably a lot of truth in that. Why wade through some no-mark's poorly written essay on the futility of their life when you can digest the essence of it, with a hyperlinked YouTube video for good measure, in 140 characters? And think about it - when's the last time you heard about a blog "success story", you know the sort - an unheralded and previously anonymous blog gathers momentum through word of mouth (or word of mouse, if your prefer) and the next thing you know the blogger has a book deal or has been snapped up by a magazine/record label/film studio/publishing house. It used to happen, not often, but often enough to be talked about. But when did it last happen?
However, I do not believe social media have killed blogging. Rather, I see the advent of Twitter et al as just another step in the rapid Darwinian evolution of the humble blog. Because it's so much easier to just scroll through tweets, for a blog to prosper it has to be really good - it really is survival of the fitness. Natural selection. The wheat has been, and continues to be, thoroughly separated from the chaff. The cream has risen to the top, et cetera. I'll give the cliched metaphors a rest now.
Much as I have tried to embrace Twitter, I still continue to read, and love reading, blogs. But then I try to only read the ones that are fit enough to survive. For example, before work this morning I had a read of the blogs to which I subscribe. Amongst other things, they served me up the following delights:
- A well written and thoughtful re-appraisal of Billy Bragg's Don't Try This At Home, courtesy of The Vinyl Villain
- Ten songs about Ohio (previously I could only name one), thanks to Rol at My Top Ten
- An excellent live performance from Ian Dury and The Blockheads, courtesy of London Lee at Crying All The Way To The Chip Shop (+2 kudos points for spotting the reference in that title)
- A cover of Morrissey's Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself? by (the new to me) Metric, via Cover Me
...and more besides. These are all worth a moment of your time, as are all the other good blogs in the blogroll to your right (when Yahoo Pipes is working, that is). A decent blog spreads news, message and opinion, just like Twitter, but in a depth and with a knowledge that just cannot be encapsulated in 140 characters... and that, Constant Reader, is the joy of good blogs.