Adam linked to an interview with Jason Kottke, owner of "one of the longest continuously running blogs on the web" - kottke.org.

Adam described the interview as "hard going" and on my first read though I only got as far as the following quote about talking to a high school class:

"When they asked if I would recommend starting a blog, I was like, I don’t know how I feel about that — I don’t know that I would."

In isolation, and in the context of modern internet habits, it could be seen as genuine advice because it's hard to build an audience now, much harder than it was in the past.

But I'm not so sure.

Kottke describes himself as "like a vaudevillian. I’m the last guy dancing on the stage, by myself, and everyone else has moved on to movies and television."

I have subscribed to kottke.org's RSS feed for years and often find interesting things, but I don't see it as a blog in the proper sense: the unedited voice of a person.

Kottke lists a couple of other long time bloggers but, kind of dismissively, remarks that he's sure there are others. Still, he wouldn't know because he lost interest in RSS after Google Reader shut down so lost track of a lot of the blogs he used to follow.

It comes across like he's almost glad blogging became less popular and is proud to be the last bastion of the good old days rather than encouraging others to keep it afloat.

It's not a case of rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic, more like throwing them all overboard then moaning you've got nowhere to sit to watch the ship sink.

He can be forgiven for saying that blogging was dead back in 2013 and their function in society had been superseded. He was largely right, but over the past year to 18 months people have become increasingly upset with, and unsettled by, the way social networks operate.

Maybe it's just because I have put myself in a particular position - with micro.blog and the Indieweb movement - but I see a thriving community of individuals, bloggers, looking to retake control of their online presence.

Although I can no longer advocate using Medium over your own site you only have to look at the people using it and what they post to realise that "function of the blog, the nebulous informational task" is being revived. And this is spreading as we can no longer rely on social channels to spread our message.

Unless we pay!

It turns out that blogging wasn't dead, merely hibernating, waiting for the "social winter" to turn to spring. The new shoots of regrowth of the open web are starting to emerge if we know where to look.

We just have to nurture them.

  1. kaa says: #
    @colinwalker Can’t seem to get through to the actual article. Keeps giving a 404 error. Is it the right link?
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  2. colinwalker says: #
    @mrkrndvs That’s how it used to work. You would have whole conversations between blogs, posts responding to other people’s posts.
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  3. adders says: #
    @colinwalker @mrkrndvs In the days before comments, it was the ONLY way to reply to a blog post. The conversation happened between sites, not on them. In many ways, micro.blog is built on that model, it seems.
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  4. Ron says: #
    @colinwalker He got one thing right for sure in that interview. Watching those booster rockets land, as precise as synchronized swimming, was one of the coolest things I’ve seen in years!
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  5. I’ve blogged on and off over many years and have always enjoyed Kottke’s work. This interview felt sad to me, and I agree with your sentiments. I think now, more than ever, owning your content is really important. My audience is small, but I’m happy to have that outlet rather than giving everything to social networks.
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