I'm Not Dead Yet- Blogging

session scratchpad for Northern Voice 2010.

Every few months some pundit posts something online stating that blogging is dead (invariably posted *in* a blog). The only thing truly dead is a statement that "X is dead". Yes, blogging defined as publishing in blog software may be on a downslope, but blogging as the act of self publishing online has just diffused to more outlets from status messaging to YouTube dialogues, and in fact, is more vibrant then effort. Come debate me, and bring out your dead (there will be coconuts ringing out).

Opening Shtick - clip from Monty Python


Presenters enter with coconuts ;-)

Poll audience for how many have their own blog (hand raise or survery)

Now ask who has posted something in the last week (or month)

Okay, ideas on how to structure this-- completely un thought of.

Instead of making us take sides, what if we each look at both sides? .e.g first round is reasons to think why blogs are dead:

Blogs are Dead http://cogdoghouse.wikispaces.com/BlogsAreDead

  • prolific bloggers have stopped (joel on software www.inc.com/magazine/20100301/lets-take-this-offline.html# )
  • people spending more time in social media
  • it takes too much time (did not say these were good reasons)
  • spam has killed the fun
  • no one reads or comments any more
  • Maybe not sign of death, but something akin to toe fungus- people who leave comments on my blog posted in facebook; or flickr comments posted in plaxo -- if remote comments cannot be connected to the source (no comment tracker really works), then comments not attached or close to the content are dead skin.
  • ???
We each present two examples to support why blogs are dead.

Questions to ponder:
  • who cares? how does it really effect the work to have less navel gazing
  • "get over it, everyone is in facebook"
  • what is impact of not having a personal history/archive -- ie shitty search for Twitter
  • role of advertising - we don't pay for anything, and ads fill in the gaps
  • the tension between the generative web, and the applicized spoon-fed TV like web -- my generation went 'from Adbusters to Adsense'
  • development of the commons
  • if indeed web is as important to social fabric as people like to claim - ownership and control should not be insignificant, and people like us at NV, or academia need to assert values beyond making a quick buck

Quotes to Ponder:
  • It is right that he too should have his little chronicle, his memories, his reason, and be able to recognize the good in the bad, the bad in the worst, and so grow gently old down all the unchanging days, and die one day like any other day, only shorter. --Samuel Beckett


Blogs are Not Dead http://cogdoghouse.wikispaces.com/BlogsAreAlive

Again we present the opposite side, with each showing/talk about 2 examples.
  • rise of multi-user sites in .edu (who first grabs UMW as an example?)
  • use of WP as CMS at UBC?
  • use of blogging software as a content platform (e.g. I Can Has Cheezbiuger runs on WordPress)
  • people do blog like activity in multiple places
  • Its not really about the software or the thing itself, its about the expression
  • power of "narrating what we do" (Jon Udell)
  • Brian would like to do a rant on the stupidest blog post ever by a supposedly smart person - http://scobleizer.posterous.com/why-i-dont-use-google-reader-anymore
  • Can I just say: Motley Read?
  • If microblogging exists and we have "teat tweet" how can blogging be dead?
  • All that micro-blogging, status updating, twitter, facebooking shit has to link somewhere
  • ubiquity-- or near-ubiquitous accessibility-- is characterized as a "watering down" leading to a situation where the chaff can't be sifted from the wheat-- but the example of poetry publishing puts the lie to this characterization. Look at how copy machines and the paper zine-scene grew into a revolution in publishing. Look how the conceptual art movement fed a whole new generation of artists. In both cases precisely BECAUSE everyone could do it. Let a million goddamn flowers bloom.
  • Paul Boutin says blogs are dead , so they must not be. And I defy anyone to explain to me how Paul Boutin's entry isn't itself an example of blogging...
  • Is anyone else sick of the binary Aristotelian zero-sum fucked-upedness of the blogging is dead meme? What happened to harmony and together strands make a cord stronger than any individual and kum-bay-fucking-ya?
  • Strangely enough, I write some long email and some short emails, some very specific, some general, some with links, some without. Guess email is dead. I write stories in my notebooks that are pretty long... and also single line poems. I reflect randomly and cogitate specifically. Guess paper is dead. I just had a really long talk with a good friend... but a few days ago we exchanged just a few words. And we've been mad at each other and cried together and sometimes are happy to see one another. Guess conversation is dead too.
  • I've lost some weight over the last 6 months... there's less of me and I'm smaller. In the tech-prediction world that would make *me* dead.
  • Scoble said it too , so it must be wrong. On the other hand, he said it on his blog -- and admitted that he retains the blog for "long-form" writing. Kind of like saying I retain business cards for business card information and notebooks for longer writing. In other words, he retains his blog for, well, blogging. Is it just me or is this "blogs are dead" thing really about being a little bit dead, which is a bit too much like being a little bit pregnant?
  • Can we just throw Shirky's book at everyone?


Questions to ponder:
  • What might we be asking "is dead" 5 years from now?
  • Why is the fact that not everyone wants to be-- or should be-- a blogger mean blogging is dead any more than the fact that not everyone wants to be a guitar player mean guitar is dead?

Quotes to ponder:
  • All I know is what the words know, and dead things, and that makes a handsome little sum, with a beginning and a middle and an end, as in the well-built phrase and the long sonata of the dead. -- Samuel Beckett
  • The communication of the dead is tongued with fire beyond the language of the living. --T.S. Eliot
  • I am still of opinion that only two topics can be of the least interest to a serious and studious mood - sex and the dead. --W. B. Yeats
  • Unbeing dead isn't being alive. --e. e. cummings
  • I am not afraid of death, I just don't want to be there when it happens. -- Woody Allen
  • One is still what one is going to cease to be and already what one is going to become. One lives one's death, one dies one's life. --Jean-Paul Sartre
  • We shall heal our wounds, collect our dead and continue fighting. -- Mao Tse-Tung


  • If I were a writer, how I would enjoy being told the novel is dead. How liberating to work in the margins, outside a central perception. You are the ghoul of literature. Lovely. Don DeLillo

  • Woe, woe, woe... in a little while we shall all be dead. Therefore let us behave as though we were dead already. -- Raymond Chandler

  • I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead; I lift my eyes and all is born again. --Sylvia Plath


  • Men fear death as children fear to go in the dark; and as that natural fear in children is increased by tales, so is the other. --Francis Bacon

  • The Teutons have been singing the swan song ever since they entered the ranks of history. They have always confounded truth with death. --Henry Miller