When I first read the Norwegian free magazine Spirit’s article on blogging last month, I thought commenting on it was a bit beneath me. (Haughy Intellectual? Me? Never!) I thought the argument: "I don’t think what some people are writing in their blogs is interesting, so I don’t think blogs in general have a future", just wasn’t worth the effort. It’s like condemning all television because of Big Brother and soap operas – but then again, that’s what many people do. So maybe, I thought, maybe I should write something about this article after all. Then the next issue of Spirit had an article about podcasting, declaring that this would take over after the blog trend had been killed (by Spirit themselves?) So that’s that: I’m commenting Spirit’s views on blogging.
First of all, I may be biased, since I have my own blog and I started blogging very late. Naturally, I should be terrified that blogging will become "out" just as my own blog is getting started, right? Well, not really. I’ve never been afraid of being old-fashioned, and I don’t think most of my readers will desert me because of Spirit’s criticism anyway. And while I have nothing against podcasting (although I’ve never podcasted anything), I don’t see podcasting taking over the "bloggosphere".
Why not? Well, why haven’t books on tape stopped people from reading printed books? The printed word has several advantages over the spoken one. Everyone can read at their own pace, without disturbing anyone around them, and they can listen to music at the same time. Reading a text also requires less advanced technology than opening a sound file, making blogs a bit more available than podcasts.
"Don’t judge a book by its cover." "Don’t shoot the messenger." And don’t judge a message by the genre it is presented in or the technology it is presented with. It’s about time people understand this, yet just as many people maintain that a hard-cover book is somehow automatically higher quality than a magazine, and that watching TV is always a waste of time, Spirit has apparantly decided that blogs are stupid because they’re blogs. It is essentially the same as the idea that the Internet is evil because it is possible to come in contact with child rapists through it, or that cell phones are a threat to parents because they let children communicate without the parents listening in. Yet somehow, child rapists have always existed, and parents have never had complete control over their children’s lives. It’s just so much easier to blame technology than to accept that human beings are responsible for their own problems. Annoying, stupid people with big mouths and small brains will always find a way to push their silly problems and completely wrong views of the world on the rest of us, and writing a blog is just one of many ways for them to do this. The good news is: no one’s forcing you to read those blogs.