"...the dismal fate of blogging: it renders the word even more evanescent than journalism; yoked, as bloggers are, to the unending cycle of news and the need to post four or five times a day, five days a week, 50 weeks of the year, blogging is the closest literary culture has come to instant obsolescence."- Trevor Butterworth
Financial Times journalist Trevor Butterworth's recent article about blogging is fairly well reasoned, in as far as it goes. I get the sense that he's kind of missing the point of the cultural impact of what the "blogosphere" is creating. His article concentrates on "professional" (or wanna-be professional) bloggers and their relationship to professional news journalism. I'll certainly agree that his arguments about news and opinion blogs (Lord knows I've tried to read "the big guys" and I absolutely cannot fathom why anyone would want to read that fluff- although the same holds true of regular journalists who write without naming sources- heaven forbid one might have to read a footnote!)
My interest in blogging is in personal impressions of life and culture. Of course, most blogs are just about worthless for usable information. But many offer insights to the world that previously were only available through inspired novelists, poets and playwrights. The human condition, as seen by these intrepid pioneers (and pioneers they are- we've gone from 15,000 blogs in 2002 to nearly 30 million today- who knows how many in 2010?) is the subject, not selling of information in a controlled media. The key point that Mr. Butterworth misses is that this type of information, once lost in daily conversation or personal diaries and correspondence, is now available to a world audience because of search engine technology (ie: Google). And because of this immense indexed database, people are allowed to find their own information, directly from the source, in great detail.
A simple example of this would be travel and trip planning. Anyone who has been frustrated at the glossy and shallow information in most travel promotional literature should start searching web logs for information and stories about the place they wish to explore. You might have to sift through a stack of chaff, but the kernels of information are there already, in both print and images. With translation tools becoming more sophisticated in the future, more foreign languages will be accessible as well. Other filtering techniques (ie: AI) in the future may hold even greater promise. I won't even try to guess what video and multimedia will offer.
I think that in the future, assuming that civilization doesn't collapse of course, is that blogs will just "be there" much like our five senses, a sixth sense that will be taken for granted, a major evolutionary step in human consciousness.