Blog's Dead! Long Live the Blog!
Wired claims that we should stop blogging; that we've been wasting our time with a futile medium; that blogs have created an inflation of useless information nobody's interested in; that the "real" blogs are actually professional magazines, or in other words - ran by professionals, not laymen (not you, not me); that Facebook, Twitter and Flickr should be the only locus of our ever-shortened attention; that micro-blogging - 140 characters - is how we should learn to express ourselves.
Clearly, those who run AdWorld have their goals in persuading us to abandon Blogs and to switch to micro-blogging platforms - and that [i.e. having goals] is ok.
But shameful is their shameless call, their shameless list of cons, and facts and figures, as if, when we've started blogging, we have never had a dream of a different place, clear from their manipulations.
In Prefiguring Cyberculture - a collection of [too academic] essays about cyberspace and us - there's an essay by Margaret Wertheim, titled "Internet Dreaming: A Utopia for All Seasons", in which Wertheim describes two Utopias: Thomas More's "Utopia" (1516) and Francis Bacon's "New Atlantis" (1627). While More's Utopia is completely egalitarian - "communist" if you'd like - with every citizen having an equal share in both knowledge and property - Bacon's New Atlantis is a reactionary blueprint, a utopia ruled by a group of Fathers-Scientists who "know better".
Our society is definitely Baconian; science, power and fathers. Wherever you look, you can see these Fathers, with thousands or [much] more subscribers flocking around them, wandering after them form land to land. Open up Facebook - they are there; switch to Twitter - still there; FriendFeed - there too; and so on. You can't escape your fathers.
Wertheim shows how Internet Dreams had evolved from envisioning a revolutionary egalitarian place, where anybody can finally be somebody (Cluetrain, yeah!), to the usual reactionary place where a small elite group is actually managing things around, feeding us up with what, how, when, and where.
For a brief moment they tried a different tactic, creating YOU, but only to prove that YOU is a degraded breed vis-a-vis the really smart ones, aka the fathers. Wertheim describes Wired Magazine as being the platform for promoting those elite figures, whose dreams are not of a better world for the "people" but of how quickly they can launch their next IPO (or exit or any other kind of monetization).
"While the magazine stressed that every one of us would benefit from the wired 'revolution', the clear message was that people creating it were a rather special lot - more forward thinking, more savvy, more daring than the average Joe".Living in a culture that reduces space and time to the minimum, that consistently abolishes any ability to digest and observe, that praises the endless accumulation of wealth and strives at the endless acceleration of technology, is the opposite of freedom. We have started with Freedom as in Free Speech and ended up in Freedom as in Free Beer.
So, Blog's Dead.
Hence, Long live the Blog!
Lyotard, a french Philosopher who tried hard to fight the system, considered blogging - i.e. writing a personal account - as the #1 activity of Resistance, of anyone seeking to free his/her mind & soul. He was inspired by both Adorno, another philosopher, who coined the word "Micrologs" decades before blogging started, and by the character of Winston Smith in Orwell's 1984: if you remember, writing a diary was how Winston kept his freedom.
Let that Elite group and their zealous followers switch to the micro-blogging platforms, where "every word is an ad", as some put it. Hopefully, the Blogosphere will become a vast, unpopulated place, full of debris – an ideal place for a new Utopia, suitable for bloggers whose dreams have never been that of monetization, and whose voice has never tuned itself according to Technorati's ranking and the number of feedburner subscribers' count.
Yeah - they can't stop us. We won't be silenced.
"Shoot your way to freedom, kid." Burroughs
Straight from the hip... there, you have it, now its official: Wired has everyone last one of us bloggers cast as literary outlaws. I could think of worse fates for my writing...
To the devil with Wired - we'll build our own goddam spaceships.
I am emale!