April 29, 2013

The "golden age" of the blog is over.

Says Marc Tracy in The New Republic, which is a news opinion magazine, once edited by Andrew Sullivan, who went on to be one of the giants of the Golden Age of Blogging. If this is post-golden age for blogging, is it the golden age for anything else? There are these blogging-y things like Twitter and Buzzfeed (and I was going to add Facebook, but Facebook's golden age is past, right?).

Tracy is writing a "eulogy" for blogging on the occasion of the NYT shutting down a bunch of its blogs. But the NYT only had blogs in response to the blogging trend, and were those blogs really blogs? The real bloggers were people like Andrew Sullivan. Circa 2001:
The Internet had empowered a few strong writers to create their own brand (if you were idiosyncratic—say, if you were gay, English, Catholic, and heretically conservative—then all the better) and a few strong big brands to create their own small brands....

We will still have blogs, of course, if only because the word is flexible enough to encompass a very wide range of publishing platforms: Basically, anything that contains a scrollable stream of posts is a "blog." What we are losing is the personal blog and the themed blog. Less and less do readers have the patience for a certain writer or even certain subject matter. 
How impatient can we get? I'm getting impatient with Tracy right now. I want to interrupt and say that blogs are a great format if you have a distinctive voice, and not just if you have idiosyncratic attributes — like gay, English, Catholic, and heretically conservative. The form — the blog — was so great, so powerful, so liberating, that many, many writers said me too, often pushed by an old-style publisher like the NYT that needed to have blogs to seem up-to-date. What made the age golden was the greatness of some blogs, like Sullivan's, not the sheer number of blogs at any given time.
Sullivan's blog was almost like a soap opera pegged to the news cycle—which I mean as the highest compliment.... A necessary byproduct was that even if you were a devotee, you were not interested in about half of their posts. You didn't complain, because you didn't have an alternative. Now, in the form of your Twitter feed, you do, and so these old-style blogs have no place anymore.
So, when there were only blogs, one had no choice, but now that there are blogs and Twitter, no one will choose blogs anymore? That makes no sense. First, blogs were an alternative to old media. You could still read the New York Times and The Washington Post and provide your own operatic drama. There was a time when we read the newspaper and talked with family and friends about the stories over the breakfast table and in the coffeehouses. Later, it seemed cool to enlarge our circle of interlocutors with somebody from the internet, like Andrew Sullivan (or Glenn Reynolds). And if you got the nerve, maybe you'd offer yourself on a blog as somebody who was willing to be a virtual presence in other people's conversations. (And if you are me, you got one of those interlocutors to actually materialize at your breakfast table.)

Old media survived the onset of blogging, and blogging will survive Twitter, and Twitter will survive ??? 

Whatever comes along next will change what lives on from the old days. And the old folks will always tend to think that there was, not too long ago, a Golden Age.

ADDED: I think this is very relevant: "...the rise of the internet media and social media and all that stuff. He hates it. Okay. He hates this part of the media. He really thinks that the sort of the buzzification, this isn’t just about BuzzFeed or Politico, and all the stuff, but he thinks that sort of coverage of political media has hurt political discourse. He hates it." (That's Chuck Todd on "Meet the Press" yesterday, talking about Obama.)

131 comments:

edutcher said...

Sounds like he's mad because the Sullivans have been supplanted by the Reynoldses and the Althouses.

ricpic said...

More like the brass age.

MadisonMan said...

If Blogs are done, as reported by the New York Times, I guess I'll go back to reading the New York Times. Because I can't get information from blogs anymore. They're so over, says the New York Times.

MadisonMan said...

Well, not reported by the NYTimes, but heralded by their shutting down their blogs.

Patrick said...

is it the golden age for anything else?

It is the golden age for the discovery of previously unknown types of dinosaurs. Approximately one or two per month.

lemondog said...

re: golden age, enter the diamond age?

The Internet and blogs freed us from the tyranny and mind-control of the 3 networks.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Enh. Pathetic little article. That the NYT is ditching a bunch of its paid blogs means absolutely diddly-squat about blogging in general. The whole experiment of grafting blogs onto print publications was/is a sideline. I mean, it's nice to see individual bloggers (Megan McArdle comes to mind) getting a salary for doing valuable work that they would've done anyway, but if every publication-affiliated blog disappeared overnight, there would still be a huge, rich, diverse blogosphere. And it isn't going to be replaced by Twitter, because there are somethings that can't be said in 140 characters. Not even in Chinese.

Mitchell the Bat said...

"Barbershop is in danger of growing stale. I'm taking it to strange new places."

-- Barney Gumble

tim maguire said...

The golden age over? Maybe. I used to read so many blogs it was difficult to check each one regularly. Now I read only a few and visit several times a day because there are so few. But that's just me. There are plenty of good blogs I don't read, plenty of popular blogs I don't even know about.

If the blogosphere seems less exciting, it's probably because there isn't an unpopular war conducted by an unpopular president to fight about anymore. Now there's just a sucky president presiding over a sucky economy while legions of political hacks kiss his butt. And what's fun about that?

Nonapod said...

Are readers who were once avid blog followers now choosing Twitter over blogs? Is that a thing that is actually happening outside of Marc Tracy's head?

IMO Twitter is perhaps the most inane form of attention and validation seeking since tatoos and piercings. There's no depth.

chrisnavin.com said...

Possible meme watch:

They've got to find the next big thing now that Obama might be going lame and the political winds a-shifting as they will do.

Blogs are for grandmothers and low sloping foreheads. Google glass is the place to take about social justice.

Maybe I'm wrong. The winds are hard to read.




Farmer said...

Blogging really does seem to be dying. The cool thing about blogs was their immediacy. The bad thing about them was also their immediacy, in that a lot of people hit the "publish" button when they should've been rewriting.

With Twitter you've got the immediacy, but when you make a fool of yourself on Twitter it's easier to argue that your 140 characters are being misinterpreted - hey, you didn't have the space to fully explain yourself. I think that's why celebrities love Twitter.

FWIW, I used to read 8-10 blogs a day. Now Althouse is my only daily read, and I look at two or three others once a week or so.

EMD said...

This is the golden age of brogging.

Which is where you brag about how much money you make via Amazon portals and whatnot.

Brogging. Portmanteau of the Day!

EMD said...

Marc Tracy is talking about the natural explosion and retraction of any new communication technology/market.

Ann Althouse said...

Are people really reading Twitter. I know journalists are using Twitter, maybe because they are forced, but I don't see enough artfully crafted concision, just a lot of abbreviations and news bulletins. There's nothing engaging. It's like the news crawl on TV news channels. What's to hold your attention? I feel like the journalists on Twitter are talking to each other. And then there are the horrible news articles in trad media about what's trending on Twitter.

Farmer said...

Nonapod said...
Are readers who were once avid blog followers now choosing Twitter over blogs? Is that a thing that is actually happening outside of Marc Tracy's head?


It does seem to be the case among people I know. A lot of bloggers tease their posts on Twitter and I think people follow bloggers on Twitter and then choose which post to click over to. Sort of poor man's RSS reader.

I don't follow anyone on Twitter myself. I have an account for my job but I barely even use that. When I saw how unfunny my comedy hero John Cleese was on Twitter I decided there must be something wrong with the format.

St. George said...

This guy needed to write a column about something today. He couldn't think of a subject. He shot the bull with his editor, and this is what he wound up with.

About 90 percent of all such essays are just this. Deadline's coming. Gotta write something. Who cares what it is, so long as people talk about it..and it doesn't offend the advertisers.

Farmer said...

Ann Althouse said...
Are people really reading Twitter.


Yes. Popular comedians and pro athletes in particular have huge followings.

elkh1 said...

They wish.
Big Media's "golden age" is over.

chrisnavin.com said...

Win or lose, there's got to be an enemy. Political cycles will come and go, but social justice, the oppressor, the end of the world, a just, peaceful and verdant future are forever.

It will never be the ideas. They're sacred.

As Obama goes lame, and if Obamacare fails under its own weight, as his foreign policy gets assessed properly, just get ready for a lot of shouting, shrieking, wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Like you do with a 7 year old in a temper tantrum, just be firm and put them back to bed. They'll wake up again someday.

Obama, though, is the winner. Lecture circuit. Organizing for action. Another f**king autobiography.

He's probably put a bust of himself somewhere in the White House.

tim in vermont said...

I read 5 blogs regularly, and no newspapers, unless linked by a blog. All but one, oddly, are written by college professors, Lubos Motl, Judith Curry, Ann Althouse, Glenn Reynolds, and Small Dead Animals.

I never considered anything written by a major newspaper a blog, whatever the newspaper called it.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

I just thought I would add my $0.02.

I've got nothing.

I don't like Twitter or Facebook and I never read Sullivan.

What happened there? Sullivan was the "golden age" of blogging? He seems like a drama queen. Who wants to read that?

Ann Althouse said...

@EMD Part of the problem of the survival of blogging is that people seem to think that blogging should only be amateur and the writers should not be paid. Even where there is a method of monetizing that is cost-free to readers of the blog, I still see this idea that it is somehow inappropriate to make money. I think I'm able to do this — write many posts a day, ever day, for nearly 10 years — because I feel the intrinsic value of the writing itself and because I am not dependent on the blog as an income source and I'm not using it as a means to break into some other writing platform. But I think writers deserve to make money -- book writers, article writers, blog writers. What is the difference?

TMink said...

"Sullivan's blog was almost like a soap opera pegged to the news cycle—which I mean as the highest compliment"

That's a compliment? I take it as a cogent observation, but if that is a compliment, I would hate for him to criticize me!

Trey

Pastafarian said...

Twitter has as much chance of replacing blogging as 1970s CB radio had of replacing the telephone.

#breaker19goodbuddy. They both have that "lol" abbreviation secret code shit, and they're both spectacularly useless.

That having been said...certain blogs have lost my interest lately. Just a few too many inconsistencies.

Let's say, for example, that one particular blogger posts critiques of a black surgeon, who happens to be conservative. Let's suppose the blogger questions this accomplished doctor's intelligence, suggesting that he's incapable of writing a speech he's reading. Then weeks later, she posts a defense of a black representative, who appears to be mentally disabled, stumbling through his own incomprehensibly stupid speech, and who happens to be liberal.

That sort of thing makes me lose interest pretty fucking fast. It's not the presence of twitter, but the presence of better-quality blogs, that that blogger has to worry about. #hypocrisy #liberalracism

Lyle said...

Blogs aren't going away. It's stupid to say so.

Chip S. said...

The Golden Age of blogging is indeed over.

We are now in the Golden Age of blog commenting.

Bruce Hayden said...

I see the point about the golden age of blogging being over. It is no longer the young trendy kid on the block. And, some of the cool kids have gone elsewhere.

That said, absent government regulations, blogging isn't away anytime soon. It provides a good public service, as a way to collect, comment upon, and digest news. The problem is that with, what, eight billion people on the planet, and nearing a third of a billion here in the U.S. (or, let's throw in Canada to get to the 1/3 billion), it is impossible for any single person to know everything important about all of what they are all doing, and what is happening. So, humans use filters to filter out the less important stuff from our consciousnesses. The problem is that for a long time, when the world was much smaller, we could trust the news from the three networks and some newspapers. But, they turned out to be corrupt, using their filter of the news to push public opinion in their desired direction.

So, to replace the old, failed, model, we have adopted a much more democratic solution to this filtering, etc. Blogs and news collectors are selected by reputation, with different people selecting different networks of such. And, they depend on their news collectors and digesters in turn. So, I go to Drudge, Reynolds, Althouse, Volokh, etc., and Ann may, in turn go to some of these sources, plus the NYT, etc. This is all fairly dynamic and fluid, with sources rising and falling over time, as their clientele become dissatisfied, etc.

We all know what the red siren on Drudge means - that something BIG is going down. Even the Obama White House has people refreshing his site just to see what is most important happening in the world. While Twitter, etc. can alert you to breaking news, there is little filtering, of separating the wheat from the chaff, and the less important from the critical. Drudge, Reynolds, along with the networks perform this function. It is just that a lot of people respect the instincts and priorities of Drudge and Reynolds (etc.) more than they do the networks.

But the other function of blogging is just as important, and that is the integration of the news and what is happening in the world, and that happens in blogs like Ann's and Volokh's. A lot of times, you have a vigorous debate going on, with a lot of different facts and figures being thrown around, with this argument and that argument being made. And, through that, a more thorough, complex, picture often evolves. To an extent, it is group sourcing, as we are seeing elsewhere.

Ipso Fatso said...

Blogs aren't dead it is just there were so many of them circa 2003 that there had to be a wash out. Even blogs that had pretty good reputations like Oxblog, which hasn't been updated since 12.31.2009, have gone silent.

Hell, I even started a blog called "Dead Blogs" which linked to blogs that hadn't been touched in 12 months and I let that one die after finding about 70 blogs to link to. I just lost interest.

For the good writers like Althouse, Reynolds, etc., blogging will be in good hands for a long time. I read about 5 blogs regularly but I am always on the look out for a new voice. Twitter just doesn't do it for me for some reason.

chrisnavin.com said...

Like anything, there are some really good writers on blogs, kind of like old journalism. The good blogs, with devoted and dedicated writers and readers also function like old journalism, bringing important information to the public, giving pleasure, but not nearly as much offering long-form Sunday reads, investigative stories, etc.

It's more immediate, topical, and snarky.

People want some authority in what they read, and trust and loyalty will play an important part of any endeavor, as well as consistency.

Althouse is very consistent, and must be doing it for deeper reasons.

Perhaps some of the the new car smell of blogs is gone, but they still strike me as important.

Eric said...

Okay, a money-losing newspaper shuts down part of its operation. If this signals the end of an age, I can come up with several other nominees.

Peter said...

Well, "golden ages" are always in the past. And nostalgia insures that it will always be so.

No doubt there's a shakeout of blogs, as many bloggers realize that producing more stuff that people want to read every day isn't as easy as it seemed.

And then there are those "blogs" produced by journalists who are either paid to do so, or decide they'll lose status (and perhaps their jobs) if they don't. These are blogs as forced labor; is it any surprise that few find readers?

So, the "golden age" is dying. But golden ages are mythical anyway, so who cares?

traditionalguy said...

I have recently noticed many 50 somethings are volunteering reactions to digital communications (that have actually passed them by) using a despising tone about the disgusting, negative and mean comments are on horrible Blogs.

They seem to be passing on a cover story rumor probably started at Obama central.

"Low class is low class", is the message. That is sadly coming from ignorant and lazy opinion leaders who have a liberal bent.

Jeff Teal said...

Looks more like the NYT is running out of money to pay people.Wo'nt be long now.And bloggers will post it when it happens.

El Pollo Real said...

Pastafarian said...That sort of thing makes me lose interest pretty fucking fast. It's not the presence of twitter, but the presence of better-quality blogs, that that blogger has to worry about. #hypocrisy #liberalracism

I wouldn't say "lose interest" so much as open that blogger to deserved suspicion. #hipocracy

Chip S. said...
The Golden Age of blogging is indeed over.

We are now in the Golden Age of blog commenting.


Indeed. And that is why grapes sour elsewhere.

SJ said...

@Ann, does the end of a "Golden Age" of blogging imply a new "Silver Age" is upon us?

Ann Althouse said...

"A lot of bloggers tease their posts on Twitter and I think people follow bloggers on Twitter and then choose which post to click over to."

This doesn't work. I've tried it and there's virtually no traffic that comes through this way. I can see on Site Meter where my traffic comes from, and it's never from me teasing my own blog posts, even when I craft a tweet in a way that should be intriguing. I don't really think the readers are there. I think it's a lot of people trying to promote their brand, in competition with other promoters.

tim maguire said...

I really don't understand twitter. Apart from the absurdity of thinking not only that I think several things a day that people need to know about, but those several oh so important things can be summed up in 140 characters, including links, hashtags, etc., which I would file under "why", there is also the question of "how".

Most regular twitter users follow hundreds, even thousands, occasioally tens of thousands, of other users. If they decide to follow someone, it's because that someone posts. So let's say almost everyone on a person's follow list posts weekly, 50% post daily, 25% post more than once a day, with 5-10% posting much more, a few hourly. That's thousands, may be tens of thousands of postsf a day. Nearly all of it garbage. And that doesn't include hashtag searches, what's trending, etc.

Who has time for this? Who could possibly read their own twitter feed?

Pogo said...

So the NYTimes toupee didn't work.

I'm shocked!

Onto what all the cool kids are doing these days.
Twitter using random characters on the iPhone?
Google toilet paper asswiping messages?

I preferred the the Golden Age of Clogging, anyway.

Ann Althouse said...

"Yes. Popular comedians and pro athletes in particular have huge followings."

You just equated having followers with having readers.

I'm following maybe 200 Twitter feeds. I rarely go over there and see what's up, and when I do I read a few things. Is anyone even collecting data on whether the tweets are read? My personal experience is that when I self-link to this blog, I get no click overs. That makes me assume the reading is not happening. The following, yes. Following seems more like "liking" on Facebook. Yes, you like Ryan Braun and Aaron Rodgers or whomever. But do you read their tweets? I don't know.

traditionalguy said...

BTW I just now have bought an Amazon Prime membership that gives free shipping along with the free movies. So my buying on the Amazon Althouse Portal rather than at stores is about to escalate. It's all about a new habit.

The Professor is certainly worthy of some praise here for her special writing skills, huge cultural memory and wonderful arts appreciation. The Blog's Golden Age will roll along for as long as she does.

El Pollo Real said...

Ann Althouse said...
Are people really reading Twitter. I know journalists are using Twitter, maybe because they are forced, but I don't see enough artfully crafted concision, just a lot of abbreviations and news bulletins.

When the Boston manhunt story broke open, your blog was asleep. I went on Twitter and found an erstwhile Althouse blog commenter, vbspurs, following and linking like crazy. So yes, blogs lag in that sense. They are really for sorting and doing the aftermath.

Pogo said...

The Golden Age of Superheroes is still pretty good.

phx said...

If this is post-golden age for blogging, is it the golden age for anything else?

Surveillance.

Chip S. said...

There's nothing inherently wrong w/a 140-character limit. That would accommodate many of the most repeated witticisms of Oscar Wilde and Dorothy Parker.

Brevity. Wit. You know the rest.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

tim maguire,

The golden age over? Maybe. I used to read so many blogs it was difficult to check each one regularly. Now I read only a few and visit several times a day because there are so few. But that's just me. There are plenty of good blogs I don't read, plenty of popular blogs I don't even know about.

True dat. Me too. I used to read something like twenty blogs every morning. Now time's a little shorter, so it's Althouse, Instapundit, McArdle, and the Volokh Conspiracy.

But you know what? Almost all of the other blogs that I used to read daily and still read occasionally are still there. They still have readerships. This phenomenon is a long, long way from "dead."

Ann Althouse said...

"So, I go to Drudge, Reynolds, Althouse, Volokh, etc., and Ann may, in turn go to some of these sources, plus the NYT, etc."

My blogging has always mainly been reading traditional media articles on various topics, not so much other bloggers. I used to feel bad about that, thinking that the right way to do it is to link to others, as Glenn does. But I like to base my writing on reports from what's going on out there in human interactions (and in the natural world). I don't see as much value in pointing to what another opinion writer has already written (unless it's someone very high-level, like at the NYT, who needs some pushback). So I don't spend my reading time reading other blogs. I do spend a lot of time reading commenters here, however, and that probably consumes all the time I'd otherwise spend reading blogs. And I do always read Instapundit.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

You just equated having followers with having readers.

I remember reading in a couple of different places that a large number of Twitter followers for people/institutions very interested in promoting themselves are fakes anyway.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

So I don't spend my reading time reading other blogs. I do spend a lot of time reading commenters here, however, and that probably consumes all the time I'd otherwise spend reading blogs.

The commenters here--with a few notable exceptions--are an enormous part of the value of this site. I'll spend time reading Althouse comment threads over most other original blog posts. And the only blog *without* comments that I will read is Insty. I'm interested in following conversations, not pontifications.

Ann Althouse said...

Twitter is, endlessly, everybody saying "First!"

chrisnavin.com said...

"Sullivan's blog was almost like a soap opera pegged to the news cycle—which I mean as the highest compliment"

I think that partly explains what makes a successful blog: An identifiable personality and persona.

Sullivan's still promoting himself, branding himself, sucking in readers and churning out content (a sticky blog). They're more progressive, hipster and Left, as of now, because that's his new business model and audience (Obama is a true conservative).

This means staying ahead of the curve, which for him involves questioning the Amazon linking model, the paid advertisement model publicly etc. and promoting the 'pay me for content, I'm a writer, damn it' model, and the semi-public interest model, like NPR.

He's very good at making himself relevant, and attracting audiences.

He's tying his own success to the desires of his readers and where he thinks the culture might be going.


chrisnavin.com said...

It's time I use that Amazon link, Althouse. I appreciate the space you've created here. I still think the pushback you give to the NY TImes, the feminists, and the slack reasoning of many who put solidarity above reasoning, and groupthink above free speech is very valuable.

SteveR said...

If Valerie Jarrett controlled the internet media and social media the way she conrols the mainstream media, she would tell the President that he loves them. Just ask David Axelrod.

Ann Althouse said...

"There's nothing inherently wrong w/a 140-character limit. That would accommodate many of the most repeated witticisms of Oscar Wilde and Dorothy Parker."

We have a character limit: we have no more characters like Oscar Wilde and Dorothy Parker.

Bruce Hayden said...

Ann - and I appreciate that you do read those sources. Your reading of those traditional media sources allows the rest of us not to. There is a lot of efficiency that results from that. That is one of the reasons that I have been a long time follower of your blog.

Think about the equation there. Ann reads the NYT, etc., and picks out what she thinks is interesting. We trust her judgment there, and therefore can go an spend our time doing something else instead. Of course, if we start questioning her judgment, etc., then we might start looking elsewhere for our news filters and aggregators. Let me also add that she also makes it interesting, with her own analysis, insight, and sense of humor.

BTW - not surprised that you admit to reading Instapundit, as you guest blog there, but I also suspect that you sometimes check Drudge, given your remarks on several occasions about his juxtapositioning of images on his site.

Dan Osborne said...

Ann,

Richard Fernandez has an interesting angle as to why Obama hates new media. Basically the speed of twitter/blogs inhibits his (and the large media's) ability to shape the narrative and in fact he needs to be responsive to it. They were only able to manage the message about Benghazi because its half a world away and doesn't have the same penetration of technology.

http://pjmedia.com/richardfernandez/2013/04/28/velocity/

gadfly said...

When doing business with dead tree technology in an electronic age, the operating results of newspapers turn red. In the case of the Gray Lady, association with Reds goes back to the 1930s but that is another story.

First you bring in a new executive, Mark Thompson, from London to help him escape a BBC scandal and then you promptly announce record losses.

So Mr. Thompson has to make changes in order to appear competent - and The New Republic has to help out the source of much of its own content.

Eliminating blogs at the NYT simply means lowering employee headcount - nothing more, nothing less.

Revenant said...

The New York Times had blogs?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Chip S. said...

Brevity. Wit. You know the rest.

Wit implies brevity. Twitter demonstrates that brevity does not imply wit.

Ann Althouse said...

"When the Boston manhunt story broke open, your blog was asleep. I went on Twitter and found an erstwhile Althouse blog commenter, vbspurs, following and linking like crazy. So yes, blogs lag in that sense. They are really for sorting and doing the aftermath."

Why would you look for a blog (or an erstwhile blog commenter) for breaking news updates? This is the role for reporters. Why would vbspurs "linking like crazy" be important? This was front page news everywhere. I don't get people tweeting or blogging just to announce that something that's headline news is headline news. That you think that's important and characterize me as sleepy and vbspurs as somehow helpful is just weird.

Ann Althouse said...

"Think about the equation there. Ann reads the NYT, etc., and picks out what she thinks is interesting. We trust her judgment there, and therefore can go an spend our time doing something else instead."

One thing you should trust is that I only blog what I find interesting. That's the mix here. What I, a specific and independent person, found interesting.

I don't think that's happening at Twitter. I think that's everyone clamoring for attention. It's like you go to a party and you find that everyone there is a narc or you go to a big protest and find that everyone is a reporter covering the protest.

Ann Althouse said...

A blog should feel like a place. The commenters are in the place, having a conversation.

Twitter is more like a concourse, with everyone running through trying to get somewhere else, and no one is there to be with anyone else. That's what's so off-putting. But if you yourself have to run to make your connection, the concourse will seem like the right way to do.

Twitter is a concourse. A blog is intercourse.

rhhardin said...

Belmont Club says that the new media outrun the ability of the old media to script. The old preferred narrative can't take over the terrain.

Sam L. said...

You say Andy was golden. By the time I heard about him, he was dross.

chrisnavin.com said...

Obama's all about activism, and organization, and getting to the scene first and using the bullhorn.

He doesn't like it when someone else uses the bullhorn, or frankly, if someone else is not lining up with what the message.

But, gun control was all about him using his preferred method and model, and the bullhorn. He still failed.

Sorry, champ.

rhhardin said...

Derrida's observation was that women don't have a place, they create places.

Feminism went wrong in copying men.

"If I can't dance, I don't want to be part of your revolution."

(Choreographies)

EMD said...

@EMD Part of the problem of the survival of blogging is that people seem to think that blogging should only be amateur and the writers should not be paid. Even where there is a method of monetizing that is cost-free to readers of the blog, I still see this idea that it is somehow inappropriate to make money. I think I'm able to do this — write many posts a day, ever day, for nearly 10 years — because I feel the intrinsic value of the writing itself and because I am not dependent on the blog as an income source and I'm not using it as a means to break into some other writing platform. But I think writers deserve to make money -- book writers, article writers, blog writers. What is the difference?

I was teasing. Most of my posts here are of the sarcastic variety. There is no shame in using the market to support oneself. I would love to monetize my online transgressions here, but alas, I have a puny and thin-walleted following.

However, as far as Twitter goes — I used it as a news feed from people I trust to give me good content (mainly in the areas of screenwriting and advertising)

There is too much volume on Twitter to digest it appropriately, like one would a blog ... but it is possible to derive meaningful information from it from time to time.

it's also a good live real-time event feed (NFL Draft, for instance)

Nonapod said...

Twitter is a concourse. A blog is intercourse.

And Facebook is when there's no recourse.

Matthew Sablan said...

"My personal experience is that when I self-link to this blog, I get no click overs."

-- I find that if I follow people, their links to themselves are redundant. I've -already- read their site. If someone tweets writing by someone else, I'm much more likely to click through.

El Pollo Real said...

Why would you look for a blog (or an erstwhile blog commenter) for breaking news updates? This is the role for reporters. Why would vbspurs "linking like crazy" be important?

In that case, on that night, I was anxious because I had an in law who was in Boston on business. But didn't know that he had left. I ended up texting my SIL very late that Thursday night which we don't usually do as a rule and she was amazed at how much info I already knew. There was a period of hours when only local Boston news reporters were breaking the story. Yes real reporters, but unsupported by media networks other than Twitter.

A better question, Althouse, might be why do so people feel such a need to connect to things far away? And this loops back to the real question of interest: stories change according to who is telling them. Benghazi, for example. Another example I'm still wondering about that courthouse bomb scare in Boston which effectively blocked out news reporting. Did the brothers do that? Why is this not a topic of discussion?

Hope that helps.

Chip S. said...

we have no more characters like Oscar Wilde and Dorothy Parker.

You apparently don't follow iowahawk.

shirley elizabeth said...

I used to follow more blogs than I could handle - upwards of 200 posts to sort through each day. I finally got tired of all the time wasted for the sake of a few gems, and realized I didn't need to read and know every single thing, just the best stuff. So, of political blogs, the few that I continue to follow are the ones where I get so much more from reading through comments. This is also better for the blog hosts, as I actually click over from the reader page and spend more time on their site.

Aridog said...

And the old folks will always tend to think that there was, not too long ago, a Golden Age.

Some of us *old folks* agree with Bush 43 in his closing remark at the opening of his library. Our best days lie in our future.

I'd add, that they do no matter how hard some wonks try to make it otherwise.

Also: what @ nonopod said about Twitter and body piercings & tattoos.

BTW...I've never even looked at Twitter except when posted here or ambushed on Drudge.

Why would I?

bagoh20 said...

This is the golden age for identifying golden ages.

Mitchell the Bat said...

The first time I heard someone refer to "the Golden Age of Porn," I thought that was pretty funny.

creeley23 said...

I don't think of Golden Ages as particularly golden. Such ages are just the initial burst of something.

The so-called Golden Age of Television was Howdy Dowdy, Ernie Kovacs and Playhouse 90. I've got nothing against such shows, but who cares about them now? Television went on to other peaks and valleys. As it happens, I believe we are in a golden age of television today, but it won't be called that.

So it is possible that the Golden Age of Blogs is over. It's no longer new, no longer creating the excitement of those heady early years of the 2000s. But blogging is doing fine, and who knows when or how it will be renewed.

President-Mom-Jeans said...

Pastafarian for the win.

Overlooked by Althouse of course, or at least not commented on.

Think those punches landed Pasta, well done.

phx said...

I would love to monetize my online transgressions here

"For more information about Celiac Disease, offer someone who suffers from it a cracker."

That was funny.

El Pollo Real said...

"For more information about Celiac Disease, offer someone who suffers from it a cracker."

A gluten for PUNishment.

phx said...

A gluten for PUNishment.

Yowsa.

Inga said...

If one comes to Althouse looking for links, I'd suggest places like Memeorandum. I come here for the pontificating that results in the commentariat pontificating.

Chip S. said...

I thought you came here for the intercourse w/ bagoh20.

Inga said...

That was funny Chip, actually I enjoy the intercourse with several notable commenters.

Inga said...

I even somewhat enjoyed the "rough" intercourse with Shouting Thomas and Crack, I miss both of them.

bagoh20 said...

If Inga comes up pregnant, just remember, Crack Emcee is the macho response, and I'm the gay celibate president of the woman haters club.

jr565 said...

Tim Maguire wrote:
I really don't understand twitter. Apart from the absurdity of thinking not only that I think several things a day that people need to know about, but those several oh so important things can be summed up in 140 characters, including links, hashtags, etc., which I would file under "why", there is also the question of "how".


The only potential benefit I see of Twitter is as a marketing tool. So, if you were a company and were putting out new products you could have a Twittter post which instanlty got your new product list into the hands of your customers, perhaps more efficiently then sending them an email.

But as a means of expressing yourself its beyond stupid. Unless you are marketing yourself for some reason.

Look at me, look at where my band is playing! Look, I took a dump! Yay!
Since in most cases you don't care about individuals trips or bowel habits it's just masturabatory posts that are disappearing into the ether. But, if you want to follow a celebrity and hear what they have to say, then it does serve a function.

Only, it usually comes across as vaccuos and self congratulatory.

Inga said...

Bagoh is Spanky.

Lem said...

Are people really reading Twitter.

The idea of twitter started out as an answer to the question - what are you doing right now?

Any further evolution of that, runs smack into the character limit wall, ordering you to hear what #so-and-so is saying... and that is it.

bagoh20 said...

Besides, Inga and I have years of foreplay to get through first. It's not easy taking on these challenges. I don't see any of the rest of you stepping up.

carrie said...

If the msm would report the whole story in a neutral fashion, we wouldn't need blogs. Blogs by msm are failing because they are just repeat the biased point of view of their parent msm entity. Independent blogs live on because someone needs to report what the msm misses, refuses to report, reports unfairly, etc., like Benghazi, the Gosnel trial, Candy Crawley's bias at the debate, the amount of time that Obama spends golfing/vacation/raising money vs. doing presidential work,etc.

Lem said...

Where as in the blog... this is my bar... I don't have to drink whatever Althouse is serving... but I get to interact with the other drunks who sometimes get into fights... but invariably they make up because deep down they like each other and want to keep coming back.

bagoh20 said...

"The idea of twitter started out as an answer to the question - what are you doing right now?"

I think more precisely it was - let me tell you what I'm thinking right now, since nobody around me wants to hear it. So it is a lot like a blog for commenters.

Lem said...

Or coffee house... if you prefer to call it that.

bagoh20 said...

Oh no, definitely a bar.

bagoh20 said...

Do ever see people arguing in a coffee house?

Fred Drinkwater said...

I read lots blogs. Almost everyday:
Althouse, Reynolds, Simberg, Derek Lowe, Rachel Lucas, McArdle, Volokh, Samizdata.
1-2 times per week:
Test Driving Life, Lileks, Hyperbole-and-a-half, Mark Steyn, Crooked Timber, Legal Insurrection, ...
Most of these I have been reading practically since their inception.
I never read twitter, unless a blog quotes one.
I have a very high tolerance for reading online, which I am told is unusual. All that reading takes about the same time as thoroughly going through the WSJ.

Lem said...

So it is a lot like a blog for commenters.

Yea.. but it sucks because if you aren't famous or whatever you get your mom and your cousins to follow you where?

Where as in the blog, with its anonymity availability, you can take your time and hash a concise perhaps even cogent thought.

Lem said...

Do ever see people arguing in a coffee house?

You are right.

Inga said...

Cocktail party run amok.

bagoh20 said...

"... you can take your time and hash a concise perhaps even cogent thought."

I appreciate your confidence in me, but I think the golden age would be over before I pulled that off.

The last time I tried to do "cogent", I got flamed for mentioning someone's panties.

Aridog said...

The last time I tried to do "cogent", I got flamed for mentioning someone's panties.

And the last time I mentioned some one's panties I got told to stop because shut up.

jr565 said...

Lem wrote:
The idea of twitter started out as an answer to the question - what are you doing right now?

Any further evolution of that, runs smack into the character limit wall, ordering you to hear what #so-and-so is saying... and that is it.

ISn't the answer to "what are you doing right now?" pretty much always going to be "writing a Twitter Post"?

Kirk Parker said...

bagoh20,

Count me out! Someone else will have to rise to the occasion.

Broomhandle said...

Althouse and Matt Walsh are the only blogs I read regularly. Walsh just may be the Mark Twain of the 21st century.
It's funny about Golden Ages. I thought any rock made between Who's Next and the first Clash album was dogshit. My 16-year old son, with his musician's ear, thinks it was a brilliant period of unequaled creativity. I'm guessing we're both wrong.

jr565 said...

Twitter feeds the need of providing intstant validation as well as pretend importance for our lives and actions.

Look at me right this second! Here's my exact thought right this minute! I went shopping and bought a coffee mug!

I don't even care about the minutiae of my own life. What makes people think we'll care about the minutiae of theirs?

For celebrities its a little more relevant. BUt even here, how much do we really want to know about celebrities. If it's boring information it just makes celebrities seem less interesting.

Everyone is always about the self promotion. Too much self promotion though and you come across like Beyonce.

Inga said...

Kirk doesn't need to worry.

EMD said...

I have three Twitter handles:

@Ledgerized -- links posted articles plus headline-only jokes called "NewsSpurts"

@Therealadbadger — advertising ruminations in 140 characters or less. Basically, advertising fortune cookies or idioms.

@therestlesspen — film and screenwriting stuff, but mostly my personal take-em-or-leave-em observations most people leave.

Ann Althouse said...

"'we have no more characters like Oscar Wilde and Dorothy Parker.' You apparently don't follow iowahawk."

I probably do, but I rarely read Twitter. I'm familiar with his blogging, which consists of long posts. Is he doing aphorisms on Twitter? If so, it's buried in a lot of dull stuff with abbreviations. Where's the style with concision?

cold pizza said...

Althouse is the modern salon with side rooms and upstairs and narrow hallways were people meet and argue and break up and then meet again in different rooms with different topics to argue the same points. Rinse and repeat. I have always appreciated Madame Professor since I've stumbled on this site 9+ years ago.

I do miss Ghost and cockroach--THAT was truly a Golden Age of commentariat, unsurpassed until, well... now, of course. And every day in between.

Althouse is vibrant and living because we are allowed to swim free and wither we will.

I appreciate seeing my older, smarter brother (who lives 1800 miles away from me) occasionally post here when the topic is in his area of expertise.

I'm going to mosey down the next hall now. -CP

Ann Althouse said...

https://twitter.com/iowahawkblog

There's his Twitter feed. You want to argue that's our modern-day Oscar Wilde?

Paddy O said...

"Are people really reading Twitter."

Pastors and theologians are using twitter. A lot of interesting conversations and insights being made there. I don't like it very much, but there's definitely a role.

I have youth pastor friend who tweets and encourages the high school students to tweet during the Sunday sermon. A way of keeping them engaged and offers them a response.

Paddy O said...

Nathan Fillion (Firefly, Castle) is a fun twitter user.

El Pollo Real said...

I enjoy Instapundit's "Tweets Of The Day"

This one by Iowahawk was spot on.

But I understand that there's very little "lofty" repartee in "flyover humor"

Carl said...

The Golden Age Is Over is one of those all-purpose headlines you can use whenever you're out of ideas and up against a deadline.

Still waiting on The Golden Age Of The Golden Age Is Over Is Over headline. Sooner or later, it will come. Followed by...

chrisnavin.com said...

Business is changing, and the golden age of business is over. It's all about reaching out, one-one-one, and connecting through social media. America is entering a new age of reason, and community, and business. Groups of people, animals, and certain species of plants are gathering in workspaces to facilitate the applications of new technology which will grow organically, changing lives, communities, and sustaining the world.

It's time to ask more of business, and demand that each member of the X generation can transfer pools of sentiment onto social networks, eco-building platforms of concern for the human world.

As a member of the XX, XY, and YY and XYZ generations, we need to ask how creative thinking will synergize the energies of ideologies and shared ideals we can those eventually impose upon individuals.

I ask you to reach out and touch me, and I'll touch you, and perhaps your family, and your human body with my technology, and my creativity, at these intersections and crossroads of self-acutalization and human transcendence.

sydney said...

I never considered anything written by a major newspaper a blog, whatever the newspaper called it.

Agree with that. They never really got the hang of blogging, nor of the internet. The good blogs are all independent of commercial interest. This one has the most varied commentariat, and is why I come here so often.

The Golden Age that is coming to a close is the Golden Age of newspapers. They have missed the internet boat. If they used the internet appropriately with hyperlinks within their stories, they could have such a good product. For example, suppose they had a story about a terrorist family from Chechnya that immigrated to Boston and blew up some people at the marathon. They could have hyperlinks to a map of Chechnya, hyperlinks to websites that explain the conflict between Chechnya and Russia, the role of Al Queda in training Chechnyan terrorist, links to immigrant welfare statistics, etc. They could be a gateway to all kinds of knowledge to flesh out their articles. Of course, in some cases, linking to facts would detract from their ability to shape a narrative, but it would be such a more interesting product. I bet you people would even pay for internet access to those kinds of articles. (I know I pay for medical articles with that kind of linking, and I find it invaluable)

Chip S. said...

You want to argue that's our modern-day Oscar Wilde?

I want to argue that he's very good at the medium of twitter.

Now I'll see if I can ask the twitterverse to get the hell off your lawn.

Jack Wayne said...

If you're not reading Zerohedge, you're not reading.

Chip S. said...

I won't try to claim that @RepHankJohnson is our modern-day Oscar Wilde when it comes to epigrams.

He's much funnier on video.

ken in sc said...

I have a Twitter account, but the only thing I use it for is to log on and comment on blogs that allow Twitter log-ons.

I could use Facebook for that but I have Grandchildren on Facebook. I don't them to see what crazy places I comment. As far I know, none of them follow me on twitter.

El Pollo Real said...

Chip wrote: I won't try to claim that @RepHankJohnson is our modern-day Oscar Wilde when it comes to epigrams.

I thought Althouse just implied that Johnson was a really clever lawyer who pulled a fast one on Rush Limbaugh and the "Stupid Party." She didn't say he was an Oscar Wilde. Anyways, that's what I got out of it.

Chip S. said...

I'm not claiming she did, chick. Just reporting on my ongoing search for a twitwit worthy of Althouse.

Chip S. said...

Hank follows an eclectic group of twits online.

El Pollo Real said...

"twitwit" has a nice symmetry to it. It's not a palindrome but more like fused portmanteau.

Richard Dolan said...

Interesting thread. The 'golden age' of blogging is already over? Well, that was fast. If so, it joins lots of other forms of written expression that are supposedly past their prime.

But as ideas go, it's a bit silly, don't you think? Like the 'end of history' or the passing of the age of the public intellectual or the exhaustion of the novel (or the poem) as a literary form, and on and on. What is truly passé is the idea that the medium is the message, or that any literary form is inherently superior on some imagined scale of value to all others. All those declarations about the demise of some particular form of expression (to say nothing about the even more frequent declarations about musical forms) strike me as the foolish wisdom of the ignorant and uninformed, trying to impress the even more ignorant.

I never look at twitter or Facebook and see the occasional tweet only when someone else embeds it in a story or column. There's never seemed to be enough to it to make it worth the time to pay attention. But if others find it wonderful, or think they've discovered the soul of wit in its technologically enforced brevity, more power to them.

Blogging will be passé only when good writing is passé, which is to say never. Some may prefer a different form, like some today don't care for the classic essay (but if you're one of them, I urge you to give Trevor-Roper or Blair Worden a try). But that's just a matter of personal preference, just as some prefer vanilla to strawberry.

Roux said...

Does Randy Andy still blog?

Unknown said...

Speaking of Iowahawk and Oscar Wilde"

Twitter's character count limits its users to wisecracks. The aforementioned Iowahawk is quite good at wisecracks.

Oscar Wilde has a reputation for coining aphorisms, which are merely wisecracks that have been to college.

EMD said...

IKEA employee contracts mysterious veneereal disease.

Woman inadvertently goes home alone after wearing '"fuck you" pumps.

Dr. Massuesse offers patrons silly endings.



That's the kind of stuff we tweet from the Ledger.

MayBee said...

I stopped using Twitter, but I have a few feeds open in my browser at almost all times. That is specifically because I trust the links they send out.

When there is a breaking news story., I almost always go to Twitter first to see who is covering it.

Perhaps people don't follow Althouse's tweeted links because she isn't an active Twitter user and hasn't built up the reputation of sending out new, interesting links. Perhaps people come to her blog to see what she's thinking, rather than check her Twitter feeds. She's easy to find, so following twitter links here wouldn't be a thing. Much like Instaoundit. I can get his links from his blog. I don't read his tweets.

Rusty said...

MadisonMan said...
Well, not reported by the NYTimes, but heralded by their shutting down their blogs.

Not to judge but I think they're doing it backwards.

RonF said...

The Internet had empowered a few strong writers to create their own brand (if you were idiosyncratic—say, if you were gay, English, Catholic, and heretically conservative—then all the better) and a few strong big brands to create their own small brands....

No. What has been great about the 'Net is that it empowered a HUGE number of writes to create their own small brands; and to have a chance to have the public, and not a small band of elites, decide whether their voices were evocative and worth listening to. Which is why the self-styled elites hate it, and want to control it.