I want to read again, slowly, carefully

It may be sad when a long time blogger decides to stop, but this is a well written reason for doing so:

…I am saturated in digital life and I want to return to the actual world again. I’m a human being before I am a writer; and a writer before I am a blogger, and although it’s been a joy and a privilege to have helped pioneer a genuinely new form of writing, I yearn for other, older forms. I want to read again, slowly, carefully. I want to absorb a difficult book and walk around in my own thoughts with it for a while. I want to have an idea and let it slowly take shape, rather than be instantly blogged. I want to write long essays that can answer more deeply and subtly the many questions that the Dish years have presented to me… Andrew Sullivan of The Dish stops blogging


Sullivan is a writer, whether he chooses to record it on paper or a blog is a choice. But this is yet another example of the technology seen as a problem. I want to read again, slowly, carefully. It reminds me of the slow reading movement (Examples here, here and here).

The blogger as social debater

On Friday I will be attending a meeting for green bloggers in Stockholm arranged by the Swedish green party (wanted to write Swedish greens but there was too much temptation for bad vegetable puns). During the meeting I will be giving a lecture on the role of the blogger as a social debater and I am looking forward to presenting some ideas on this topic.

Beyond the obvious short intro (minuscule) on what is a blog? and why is it different anyway? the question that must be addressed is whether or not the blogger has a role as a social debater? Naturally there are blogs that impact highly on the  broader social debate but many of these belong to individuals or groups who are naturally part of the social debate and in these cases the blog is simply a different technical platform. The easiest example of this is a politician with a blog where the technology does not really create the social debater but only provides an alternate platform.

In the latter category I also want to add corporate blogs which are basically (but not exclusively) marketing tools.

But then there are plenty of blogs which seem to have created new social debaters, individuals who previously had no voice now have been empowered (ugly word, but valuable concept) and enabled into presenting their views. The question here is – what is their social impact? The blog gives them voice but does this shape social change?

Then there are the blogs which have masses of hits but low social impact. Fashion blogs, sex blogs, voyeur blogs, athletes blogs etc etc these generate masses of hits but can a million hits be the same as a social debate?

Finally there are the mass of unread blogs highbrow, lowbrow, academic, quirky, personal, public, exhibitionist and therapeutic. It would be easy to attempt to claim unread = no social impact but these may be the potentially important social movers. From the unread backwaters of the internet ideas have spread before and therefore it is difficult to simply sweep aside the masses of unread bloggers as socially unimportant.

As I said I am really looking forward to Friday… and if you are in Stockholm why dont you drop in? Here is the invite on Facebook