Many bloggers have long argued that some journalists use negative blogging articles as a form of link bait. If that's the case Trevor Butterworth and FT Magazine
may get the link bait prize. They have set up a blog
using Blogger for the sole purpose of discussing Trevor Butterworth's article in the Financial Times
called Time for the Last Post
. The article, which is very critical of blogs, talks about Gawker Media, Jessica Cutler, Pyra Labs, Technorati, political blogs, blog revenues and blogging versus journalism. Butterworth's snarks at blogs include a typical reference to the dot-com bust.
But as with any revolution, we must ask whether we are being sold a naked emperor. Is blogging really an information revolution? Is it about to drive the mainstream news media into oblivion? Or is it just another crock of virtual gold - a meretricious equivalent of all those noisy internet start-ups that were going to build a brave "new economy" a few years ago?
Shouldn't we just be a tiny bit sceptical of another information revolution following on so fast from the last one - especially as this time round no one is even pretending to be getting rich? Isn't the problem of the media right now that we barely have time to read a newspaper, let alone traverse the thoughts of a million bloggers?
The fact that many bloggers blog for fun -- with little or no revenues made from their blogs -- is actually one of the reasons blogs may have staying power. Butterworth points to Wonkette
as an example of how a blog brand can be destroyed when a writer burns out or leaves. Wonkette is a political blog from Gawker Media. The blogs' well-known writer, Ann Marie Cox, recently departed to promote her new book. Wonkette has since added two bloggers to replace her.
The inherent problem with blogging is that your brand resides in individuals. If they are fabulous writers, someone is likely to lure them away to a better salary and the opportunity for more meaningful work; if the writer tires and burns out, the brand may go down in flames with them.
Butterworth also says that a lack of facts and boredom will destroy blogging.
Which brings us to the spectre haunting the blogosphere - tedium. If the pornography of opinion doesn't leave you longing for an eroticism of fact, the vast wasteland of verbiage produced by the relentless nature of blogging is the single greatest impediment to its seriousness as a medium.
The article ends with these morbid words that seem to foreshadow a world of burnt-out zombie-like bloggers uselessly hammering away at their keyboards.
And that, in the end, is the dismal fate of blogging: it renders the word even more evanescent than journalism; yoked, as bloggers are, to the unending cycle of news and the need to post four or five times a day, five days a week, 50 weeks of the year, blogging is the closest literary culture has come to instant obsolescence. No Modern Library edition of the great polemicists of the blogosphere to yellow on the shelf; nothing but a virtual tomb for a billion posts - a choric song of the word-weary bloggers, forlorn mariners forever posting on the slumberless seas of news.
So far the link bait blog
has 79 comments. To his credit Trevor Butterworth himself has replied to many of the comments. At least one commentor pointed out the irony in launching a blog to support a blog doom article. Filed in our Blog Pessimism