Glancing through a copy of The British Diarist — a quarterly print publication from Piccadilly Rare Books — I was reminded that bloggers are essentially diarists. Standing in a long tradition of often highly-literate journal writers, bloggers aim to capure the taste and shape of the day, with varying degrees of success. In a recent issue, editor, Paul Minet, makes this wry comment about an article on diarists in the London Times:
“A long article in The Times in September on the distraction induced by writing diaries seems to me misguided, since the research was carried out with undergraduates only. Of course they have better, more social things to do at that age. One cannot condemn diary writers as depressives on that basis.”
Well, that does for most bloggers. Ivy League grads only please. And as for not condemning diary writers as depressives? He should try reading novelist John Fowles’s newly published diaries.
In the blogosphere, we’ve got so caught up in the self-congratulatory tide of introspective blogging-with-a-running-commentary that we forget that most bloggers are of the “Hi it’s me, and here are my ramblings” type. Just spend a minute or two on Blog Explosion. Nigel Nicolson they ain’t.
There are over 100m blogs out there now. That’s a stupifying number, and reflects the internet’s success as a medium of self-publication. Blogs are simplified versions of professional content management systems (CMS), and are revolutionizing personal communications and some business applications. But maybe we need to be a little less insular and think less about the medium and more about the message?
In a spirit of less introspection and more objectivity, Syntagma Media has decided to close (or sell) Tertiary Blogging and replace it with two more objective blogs. This seems to be a growing trend.
Blogs are big. No doubts there. But bloggers are diarists. A dip into the genteel world of “The British Diarist” reminds us that we stand in a long line of journal-makers and chroniclers of the day.