Recently I have been checking links on this blog and on our main web sites with a view to updating the material we have posted online — a huge task in itself, but necessary from time to time. I have been struck by the number of blogs that vanish into the ether, either because the writer has grown tired or bored or moved onto other media. The ephemerality of the blog is something I ponder often. Is it worth devoting time and thought to so transient a form of writing? I have tended to answer my own question in the affirmative on the grounds that a blog can be linked to current events and allow for discussion in a way that no other medium currently does. The reader can read if and when he wants; he can comment if and when he wants; errors of fact or interpretation can be corrected quickly and efficiently; and unless the blog is behind a paywall, all this can be done at the writer’s expense*. The downside is that the writer is under an obligation to make every word count. There is no room for padding in a blog, or for a discursive approach to a subject — not because the reader’s attention span is short (though it may be) but because the modesty of the blogger’s enterprise means that he or she cannot claim too much of anyone’s time. I look back on some of the blogs I or readers have linked to in iBenedictines with gratitude and sometimes regret. It is many years since Wired predicted the death of the blog. I wonder whether those of us who still practise the craft are the Luddites of the digital world or whether we’ll see a renascence in due season. I rather hope we may.
*or, in my case, that of the community, who pay for the hosting and Broadband service, etc.