Venkatesh Rao writes about text online having a renaissance
with tools and methods that rekindle the early ideas about hypertext while simultaneously providing better publishing and management experiences for the average user.
As an upshot of this he likens blogging to a cat with nine lives saying that, with these other avenues available and improving all the time, blogging is on course for its eighth death. Not to say that it has died seven times before, despite being pronounced so on a regular basis, more that it will be in its last chance saloon.
He believes that the death-sayers were previously mistaken bit this time it's different. Why? Operating costs at larger scales. Hmm. I can see this being a problem for someone like him but not for the ordinary blogger like yours truly. Again, I feel the reports of its death are exaggerated.
What I do agree with, however, is the notion that what comes next may not look like it does currently:
It might be a case of New Blogging as an Elder Medium in an explosion of new textual media. Or it might be a case of Blogging is Dead, Long Live Blogging. Or something else altogether.
Things are definitely changing, they always do, but overall we have been stuck in the current reverse-chronological paradigm since almost the beginning.
Looping back to the discussion around Dave Winer's thoughts on reshaping blogging, he questioned what could have happened if he "had evolved my syndication format the way my blog wanted to go, not the way RSS pushed us."
When you consider that Winer's blog evolved from his DaveNet email list it's easy to see why he might want to return to that mode of delivery for the best experience. From a more mainstream perspective, it would likely involve, as Winer hints, redeveloping the subscription/delivery mechanism that is currently served by RSS.
What could new blogging systems and approaches look like? How could RSS, or an alternative, develop to better handle these approaches?
While newsletters are having a distinct revival as part of the text renaissance I can't see email becoming the primary/default means of distribution so where do we go from here and in what timescales?
There is always a trickle-down effect with the approach of outliers gradually influencing the rest of society but, with the way the web works, adoption can be more of an explosion. It will be interesting to watch what happens in select corners of the web, what ideas and trends emerge, and how quickly they begin to spread.