Saturday, September 10, 2022

Why I like blogs and blogging better (it's not just because I'm old)

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.