First and foremost, the recent ELT Blog Carnival I hosted and promoted. Not too many entries and not a lot of interest from those I emailed about it. “Too busy” everyone politely replied (and then they were off to check their social media feeds). Secondly, been noticing how few people have continued to blog in ELT. There have been a few new bloggers but the old hands are posting less and less and I notice that even new bloggers post a flurry and then they too just don’t keep at it. I’m wondering what’s up?
I know ever few years this topic rears its head. However, this year, it seems more real and may I say, lethal. Not many taking the time to read at length – I’ve noticed on this blog, a much shorter time spent on any page. Has social media killed long form? If so, is that good or bad?
I grew up what one must consider a bibliophile. I treasure my books and library like they are my children. But even myself, I find I don’t sit and read “whole” heartily like I used to. I’ll sit and read my NY Times Review of Books first page to last but that’s it. I’m busy with this task or that. Checking this feed or browsing the latest links. Keeping abreast. But I do think I’m not going anywhere and just treading water – the rat-ta-tat-tat of social media seems to keep one spinning and in one place. Every day, groundhog day. Posts, titillation, quips, funny images, cat videos, look at me I’m flying to “X” messages, eating pizza in “Y” notifications — so much self absorption and not enough absorption in the word, the mind, the thought. However, this blog remains one place, one island where I may loaf and lolligag and let my mind wander and fingers tap treasured words and ideas.
I digress but let me digress again (it is my blog!). This weekend on a long drive and well out of cell phone range, I listened to the only distraction available, the radio. Pundits were discussing Yahoo’s 30 million dollar acquisition of an app that parses articles into 400 word “Coles notes” (remember them?). David Pogue, NYT’s columnist and media panelist on CBC’s Q stated like I would, “When I’m typing, every word is a shiny diamond, every word a perfectly considered sound” and bemoaned the fact that such apps would ever be considered, saying, “This guy made money by taking what we do and turning it into red mist ….” The host asked, “Do you think it is another nail in the coffin of long form writing?” and Pogue finished brilliantly – “I’ve been watching those nails go in forever …. we just will not die. I’m the walking dead, these zombies will continue to roam among us.”
So to say it loud and clear, there may be much fewer of us left but us zombies, us bloggers and blusterers will continue to belch and bellow through blogs. We are zombies and walking dead does not equal “dead”. I’ll return and keep returning to my favorite long term bloggers that have survived, endured, triumphed through the years. Ill keep posting here and taking the hour, two, three or four that it takes to make a thoughtful blog post. My blog is my PhD, as David Truss used to say (another long form, long term zombie).
Want to read “long form” online? Try one of my fav. bloggers Ira Socol SpeED. He makes each thought and post shine. Eschew such pretenders like Seth Godin, who write a few words and dress words up as “smart” instead of at their core being smart.