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Finally, The Blog Boom in Context

Trevor Butterworth’s recent article in the Financial Times, Time for the last post, is required reading for anyone interested in the phenomenon of blogging. While his primary concern is for the more journalistic form of blogging that’s become most visible in the last several years, it’s essentially the best introduction, exploration, and criticism of the blogging world I’ve yet seen.

The piece is rich in historical and economic context, and its author isn’t willing to accept either the blog-saturated future that proponents envision or the “passing fad” rebuttals. Butterworth knows just where blogging seems destined to end up: right alongside other media formats, but never surpassing them. He scrys the blog format with an inherent handicap: its valuing of speed – “time to press,” if you will – over quality. There is the occasional blogger whose patience and craftsmanship defies this, but for the kind of popular blog Butterworth is concerning himself with, he’s spot on.

Apropos to none of the above, my absolute favorite quote:

“Satire,” said Choire Sicha, “is the most useless cultural effluvia one could possibly produce out of the cultural situation in America right now.”

That more or less sums up the anti-snark post I’ve been sitting on since… when did the Gawker sites get big?