Those lamentations by Lambert and Warzel continue to reverberate. Colin Walker is right that my original response to him sort of glossed over the impact upon blogging of social media—I was perhaps overly focused on making sure we knew how ridiculous the Lambert/Warzel complaints really were.
I don’t, however, especially agree that “rise of the large (social) platforms has, in part, destroyed the market for paid, professional blogging”. The speculative mythology of VC-backed blogfarms is what destroyed that market, while social platforms is what laid waste to personal and non-professional blogging.
(Arguably, perhaps, since much of, say, pre-Twitter blogging included a mixture of short and long posts, once Twitter siphoned off those small posts—the “micro” in “microblogging”, which is what Twitter had pitched itself as—a kind of intertia took over and “macroblogging” almost became something of a chore.)
As aptly noted last year by Sameer Vasta, “blogging has always been about thinking out loud, and about allowing my thoughts and ideas to evolve and grow, through time, out in a public sphere where I’m connected to others who are thinking out loud and growing, too”.
“The garden metaphor is a compelling vision for what a blog can be,” writes CJ Eller (in part of a proposed “blogchain” on ways to “expand upon blogging as a medium”). “It implies that our thoughts can grow over time with the right kind of nurturing care.”
The important thing to remember about blogging before the professional VC-backed class took over is that it’s a process not a product. This never was particularly true for paid, professional blogging, where for the most part you still were locked into a more journalistic approach and each post more closely resembled an end unto itself.
Rarely did paid, professional bloggers appear to be thinking out loud or tending a garden. Every personal or non-professional blog post, on the other hand (or, at least, most if not every), ends with an unwritten but silent understood, “To be continued.”