Monday, July 22, 2013

Blogs in a Short-Form Society

As this is the inaugural content post on my new shiny blog, I figured I should start with something close to home for this "I am obsessed with..." post. In case it wasn't immediately obvious, I am obsessed with blogs.

In addition to the blogs I have started and killed (there are many), I have an extensive reading list of other people's blogs that I check nearly every day. You can see some of my favorites in the Blogs That I Love link list in the sidebar, but that is only the tip of the iceberg. Fashion blogs, foodie blogs, design blogs, writing blogs, blogs about online games, blogs about punctuation. I collect them all in my handy bookmarks bar and horde them like a mama dragon.

If any of you are nodding your head in agreement or recoiling from how familiar an image I paint of my blog-obsessed habits, I breathe a sigh of relief- for I am terrified that the long-form, content-driven blog is being phased out. I may sound older than my time, or reluctant to accept the new fads of Tumblrs and Vines and Twitter and all the other sound-byte social media b/vlogging apps, but in truth I am not bothered by the other additions to the blogging scene. I often find that condensing my thoughts to 160 or 140 characters or whatever is a fun, if needless, exercise. I've had multiple Tumblrs in my time before I decided it wasn't for me, and I found the sheer number of ideas and content bandied about astounding. No, I am not mounting a crusade against short-form blogging.

Instead, I am merely hoping that long-form blogging will continue to operate in its niche. To me, long-form blogging is reminiscent of newspapers and classic books collecting dust on bookshelves. Long-form blogging, where a post picks a topic and expounds upon it and picks it up and inspects it for holes in the light- that leaves no room for casual browsing and snap reading. It rebels against the idea that people cannot be bothered to sit down and turn their full attention to a subject for even just the few minutes it would take to read these several paragraphs. It posits that people can remain interested in and keep coming back to a source of information or entertainment that doesn't necessarily vie for their attention.

On the flipside, long-form blogging also proves that people are willing to put forth effort into the content they create. When you take every witty thought or idea and immediately tweet it without further ado, you lose the chance to explore, edit, and see if the idea has anywhere else to go. I could have tweeted "I am afraid long-form blogging is going to disappear!" and gotten the same general idea across, but that is so one-dimensional that it serves absolutely no purpose, and I would have lost the chance to pull that sentence apart and see why I really hold long-form blogging dear to me.

Like a newspaper, my blog will simply sit here and serve as a placeholder for my thoughts, and the traveler-by may pick it up or pass- but the traveler does not have the option of glancing at it and gleaning, from that glance, everything important in its content. It requires scrutiny and at least a few minutes of actual attention. And if, through research and editing and hard work, I can make these posts worth a few minutes of actual attention, well, I wouldn't give that up for all the cute cat gifs in the world.

(I already have most of them, anyway.)

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