Bhagpuss put up a really thought provoking piece about blogging the other day. I typed out a response and realized I had most of a blog post. Given my spare time quotient, and since I am not ready to turn all my blogging over to an AI just yet, I can't really afford to waste a 90% written post these days :-) So here we are.
I think everyone that follows blogs knows that the form is in the middle of a slow decline in popularity. However, I don't think anything that's come along to replace it really will or even can. There are things I like about prose communication that podcasts or videos are not good substitutes for. For example, there are a lot of blogs like Inventory Full (and everyone else listed off to the right if you are viewing this on a PC) on which I will at least check out almost every post that goes up. There are exactly zero YouTubers or podcasters that I follow closely enough to watch/ listen to everything they put out. Even my absolute favorite YouTube channels like Kurzgesagt and Eons have a lot of videos out I have never watched.
Why is that? Am I a cranky old person? Well yes, obviously, since I wasn't playing EQ as a toddler in 1999 and I blog about it a lot. I also have a lawn, but the last person I had to chase off of it was around my age. However, there is more to it than that!
For me personally, a really big part of it is that I can suck down prose at my own pace instead of having to set aside whatever hunk of time the person making content has decided I need to invest. Guides to games especially, I absolutely hate having to sit through a video to get past one thing I am stuck on. I am absolutely amazed at how many people prefer a ten hour video walkthrough to a prose guide where they can just look up exactly what they need. You know there are indexed text guides to damn near everything right here, don't you? **Waves cane around wildly**
I also don't find that many opinions are worth sitting through a 20+ minute video to experience. Obviously an insightful opinion can be thought provoking in any format. I have become a big fan of Josh Strife Hayes for example, just like everyone else in this corner of the blogosphere. Not a big enough fan to watch everything he puts out of course. If I have a solid damn hour to fart away I will almost certainly spend it in a game. But what I have watched is great, entertaining and often insightful.
In contrast, there are bloggers I almost never agree with, yet who I will still read everything they put up. The risk you take when you decide read through a blog post is a lot less than when you commit to a video. If some blogger that I follow posts something that strikes me as patently myopic or cranky, I can still engage with it and not be upset that I read it. I'll even consider their opinion and occasionally change my own as a result.
For example, it's worth sitting through one blogger's somewhat disconnected-from-reality screeds because there are still occasional posts I enjoy, and sometimes even ideas embedded in the screeds that are interesting to consider. If I sit through an hour long video to get to a punchline that I think is idiotic, I am generally quite upset over the time I wasted. Five minutes or less spent reading a blog post to get there, not so much.
There is also something a bit more honest about prose. It has to get by on what is there, the ideas being presented, much more than a video does. To me an audience of even a few hundred steady readers feels like a badge of honor. A few hundred or a few thousand views on YouTube is all but meaningless.
Finally, I have the feeling that bloggers are more often motivated by the pure love of what they are writing about than other sorts of content creators. These days blogging is a terrible way to even become internet famous, much less attain actual fame and fortune. This news story went around recently saying that more than 80% of young people want to be social media stars. Now I am sure if you dig into that the number it's exaggerated, really shocking headlines like that often are. Regardless, I really doubt that any of those hopeful youngsters are firing up a blog!
No-one does this for any reason at all any more save that they simply enjoy it. It's nice to be able to settle into a chair and engage with a community united by a love of what they are doing, and not by any delusions of grandeur, fame or fortune. I like the honesty and the (general) lack of pretension that comes with that.