Jason Kottke declares the blog dead over at Neiman Journalism Lab, which makes him the umpteenth millionth person to do so. The actual piece is a bit more nuanced than its headline — Kottke notes that the blog is still an integral part of the online experience — but the overall tone of it is that the blog’s day in the sun is done, replaced by things fresher, less “streamy” and otherwise tuned to the Way Kids Do It Today.
A couple of things about this:
1. Kottke’s not wrong. I’ve noted before that I thought the many of the people who had blogs a few years ago were better served by things like Twitter and Facebook, which are easier for most folks to handle and actually do what they wanted their blog to do — i.e., keep them in contact with all their friends and family and let them share what they were doing (and also, pictures of their pets and children). I love my blog (hello!) but for the large majority of people, I wouldn’t recommend doing one. Even the closest new analog to the blog — Tumblr — is streamlined and connected in ways a standalone blog isn’t.
This isn’t to say that a blog can’t be useful for the people who have a need or interest in them — they absolutely can be. For the people who want to be able to write longer posts, keep a permanent self-branded outpost, and (importantly) have much more substantial control of their online persona, blogs have no real substitute. I recommend them for writers and other creative folks precisely because they’re your own space ...
Law professors strike me as precisely the sort of niche user for whom blogs are an ideal form of expression. BUT if the purpose is to have "a permanent self-branded outpost" that is "your own space," why do you want to participate in a group blog. There are individual bloggers worth following at places like Volokh, Concurring Opinions, or The Faculty Lounge, and so on, but at all of them there is also a lot of chaff. And none of them provide their authors with "a permanent self-branded outpost" that is "their own space." If I were the benevolent despot of the legal blawgosphere, I'd tell all those group bloggers to get off their duffs and start their own personal blog. It'd be much more interesting for both the author and the reader.