A recent Wired article has certainly provoked some controversy amongst bloggers. Claiming that blogs are history, and that Twitter, Flickr and Facebook are the future, the post’s author Paul Boutin recommends that anyone who’s thinking of starting a blog should stop, and anyone already writing one should pack it in.
Whilst I wouldn’t normally comment on a post of this ilk (given my feelings about bloggers who blog about blogging) it seems pretty clear that unless Boutin is giving us a tongue-in-cheek excuse for a debate on web trends, he’s essentially wrong in his assessment. After all, it comes as no surprise that Boutin proclaims the fall of the blogosphere from the comfort of a blog entry, nor indeed that he rails against his own ilk in decrying the “tsunami of paid bilge” that ranks highest on the Technorati charts. The idea that blogs should be abandoned on account of the fact that personal blogs rarely garner any extended readership or popularity calls into question why authors set up their blogs in the first place, and why indeed they should switch to other means if popularity is their main objective. Boutin upbraids blogs for being text-only affairs, a charge which I daresay isn’t especially accurate, particularly since it is easily possible these days to integrate precisely those services that are supposed to supercede blogs, such as Flickr or Youtube.
Of course, no one can deny that the nature of the Internet is constantly changing, so much the better, and whilst the blogosphere may start to shrink once the new wave of Web2.0 forms of communication become fully fledged, they will merely overlap and supplement the current crop of technologies available. The continued prominence of email, IRC, Usenet and web forums all point to this fact. So whilst I daresay the number of new blogs appearing on the web will start to slow as new users find outlet to their thoughts on other media, there may always be a place for the humble (and not so humble) blogs that litter the webscape today.