Earlier this week, Neil Gaiman was interviewed on Icelandic television. Around the twenty-five minute mark of the program, the topic turned to the author’s thoughts about the internet. “I love blogging. I blog less now in the era of microblogging,” Gaiman explained, referring to his famously long-running online journal hosted at neilgaiman.com. “I miss the days of just sort of feeling like you could create a community by talking in a sane and cheerful way to the world.”
Newport and Gaiman hope for a return to the glory days of blogging. The practice of amateur essay writing will always be around in some form, but “blogging” per se was always a function of Web 2.0. It was trendy because the technological platform was trendy. Technology will move on, and the gens du monde will remain fascinated by it in whatever shiny new form it takes next, but they’re not going to become interested in blog posts again. Which is fine, of course — if you’re not after fame and riches, there’s absolutely no reason to want viral readership numbers. As we all should know by now, the rule for reading popular sites with comment sections is the same as the one for crossing swaying rope bridges: don’t look down.
Anyway, the main thing I wanted to say is that “talking in a sane and cheerful way to the world” is a pretty good description of blogging at its best.