Fuse #8

Friday, March 30, 2007

"A New World of Laptop Gypsies"

As hobbies go, blogging's an oddity. I come home and instead of developing black and white photographs or learning the penny whistle I instead take the virtual cuttings and tidbits I've found of interest throughout the day and try to place them in some kind of context that makes sense to me. It's fun. I enjoy it. I just wonder how long I'll be able to keep it up. Two years? Ten? Fifty? Could A Fuse #8 Production last fifty freakin' years?

Unlikely but not, I suppose, impossible. Then again, if you listen to science fiction writer "and professional pundit"(?) Bruce Sterling, he gives the world of blogging ten years. Tops. They're a fad, like mashups, which, for the record, he happens to label "novelty". And as there is no precedent for this kind of thing, maybe he's right. Guess we better milk it for all that's it worth while we can, eh whot?

Thanks to Bookninja for the link.

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At 12:37 AM , Blogger ElsKushner said...

Well, blogging is time-consuming, and most people do tend to burn out after a few years. I guess there's a chance it might be sort of like CB radios, where there was a huge wave of interest in the '70's and then it settled down to the core group of truckers who'd been using CB before it got big. And I bet now that the medium/form exists, it will endure at least in the form of family/travel updates for friends and also commercial blogs for companies that want to promote their products.

As for the "blogging community" as we know it-- it might age with the cohort who's into it now, so that in 30 years it'll be a quaint old-people thing. We'll reminisce about the blogs of our youth (or middle age, in my case) and our grandchildren will record us via holograph for their school projects.

At 9:18 AM , Blogger david elzey said...

Sterling's first book, it should be noted, was a 1940's hard-boiled detective novel updated for an imagined cyberfuture that was written on a manual typewriter. His cautious cynicism has been ever-present.

Technology will determine the fate of blogs. Radio drama didn't make movies disappear, television did that, but video was supposed to wipe out Hollywood and that hasn't happened. Blogs will probably exisit in some form, but ten years from now who knows what form they'll take.

Blogs are the natural extension of 'zines, which were DIY magazines, which go all the way back to the days of Ben Franklin. Sorry Bruce, but the written has a way of enduring.

At 12:01 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Writing endures, yes, but writing itself isn't really what's at question here. It's blogs. I've been on a sort of blog-reading kick the last few weeks (thanks in part to fuse numero otto here) and it's kind of wearing me out. It's tidbit after tidbit after tidbit. Maybe it's my fault for not sitting down with something weightier to balance it all out, but I do wonder if we'll get tired of all these small bites and go back to meals. None of which is meant to knock this fine and honorable blog!

At 12:49 PM , Blogger fusenumber8 said...

No offense taken. I would like to point out, however, that not all kidlit blogs are like my own. I prefer to go the tidbit route, but there are plenty of writers like J.L. Bell of Oz and Ends and Monica Edinger of Educating Alice (to name two) that suit the needs of the intelligent reader. When you consider that there's a blog for every reader (just as there's a book for every reader) it casts a happy light on their possible longevity.

At 1:46 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tidbits would be just to my taste. My blog reading habit is specifically tied to short and snappy on a specific subject area of interest. I am not as interested in a lengthly read on a blog. If a series of paragraphs goes on for too long, I am back to clicking that mouselet.

I look for my meals in other formats.

And Fuse, are you interested in other publishing formats? If you like to write...

Oh well, who knows what will evolve next.


At 2:09 PM , Blogger Liz B said...

While Sterling's talk was interesting, based on that news report I think he confuses certain tech tools (blogging & wikis) with their content, and doesn't understand the reasons why blogs & wikis are created and read. And for him to think of a mashup as simply a song mix shows that he doesn't know what a mashup is (or, because true tech mashups wouldn't support his theory, he went with a music mashup.)

Blogging is not communal, tho it can be; I see it as a way for writers to self publish and self promote. As noted by others, self publishing is hardly new; and while the technology to allow both self publishing and self promoting may change, that need & desire will not.

As for how long a current blog will last; it's a commitment of time, and individuals may grow tired. Or they may shift their creative outlet; still writing, but not in a blog.

As for wikis, it depends on the purpose; a wiki to have a wiki, will fade; but if a wiki is serving a purpose of allowing people to work on a project together, that purpose isn't going to go away unless we have a future where people never work in groups.

As for reading blogs -- personally, I get information from blogs that I cannot get elsewhere. How else does one find out about book news (especially kidlit book news) on a timely basis? How wonderful not to wait for SLJ or the Horn Book; I read & enjoy those, but they simply cannot deliver the content that blogs provide. (And I find it interesting that both have official blogs now!) May the content I seek be delivered in a different way 10 years from now? Perhaps; but my desire to know that content won't go away.

At 3:42 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's always interesting when bloggers discuss this. Honestly, I can easily see myself tiring of blogging in a few years or such. I'm so Type-A that I can't just zippy quick type a short review (well, sometimes I can, but sometimes it's like I'm writing a paper for grad school again), and that gets tiring -- not to mention that there are probably not a lot of people who read reviews that are long (those who want "tidbits" probably aren't die-hard readers of my reviews).

But I digress. The reason I can see it becoming tiring is that blogging takes time away from the thing about which one blogs. Like to knit? Blog about it, and you'll have less time to knit. Like to write your own book reviews? Well, I'd be reading three times what I read now if I weren't blogging.

Obviously, I get benefits from it, too, or I wouldn't continue doing it. Suffice it to say that there are days when I think, should I just stop? and then someone comes along to comment on something or thank you for a review/post, so that's nice.

blah blah on i ramble.....

At 4:10 PM , Blogger Liz B said...

I think it's an interesting question to consider the "life span" of an individual blog because of burn out and the like.

But even with that, if blog technology remains, what would happen isn't the end of blogging but either a "rollover" as new fresh bloggers step up or more group blogs that share the stress & responsibility.

Oh and I agree that when the blog is topical you do get the contradition (the more I blog the less I do whatever), which is why I think blogging about whatever isn't so much about whatever (knitting, books, politics) it's about wanting to write and that being the particular focus/ drive/ inspiration.

One of the reasons I love RSS feeds is I think it takes off the pressure to blog daily.

At 4:18 PM , Blogger L. Diane Wolfe said...

As with all new "hobbies", I think many people jump in, blog heavy for several months to a year, and then slowly fade on to the next interest.
But I like your approach of tidbits. Keeps it fresh for us and for you!

At 12:48 PM , Blogger David T. Macknet said...

The great cathedrals of Europe: group projects which Bruce would call "commons-based peer production" ... or, you know, the Pyramids might fit in there, too.


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