That very badly argued* article about blogging in last Monday's Australian, which they syndicated from The Sunday Times and saw fit to run on Page 3 on a day when there was all sorts of actual news happening both at home and abroad, got picked up by Virginia Trioli on Sydney radio on Tuesday morning, whence it spread to a sort of meta-discussion in the blogosphere.
We were treated to the extraordinary sight of Tim Blair's and the Larvatus Prodeo Collective's hearts beating as one, regarding the silliness of all concerned in the greatly exaggerated reports of blogging's death.
(It still bemuses me that people's willingness to bang on negatively about blogging increases in direct inverse proportion to their knowledge of it. I am far more inclined to listen to, say, former blogger Weathergirl, who when last heard of -- by me, I mean -- had decided that blogging was bad for you and served no real useful purpose. I was prepared to take this seriously because Weathergirl had been an active blogger for quite a while and knew whereof she spoke.)
The ensuing discussion at LP about the nature and uses of blogging got me thinking that, say, the medical profession -- just to use one example of blogging's potential -- should be trawling the blogosphere every spare chance it gets. There are squillions of personal blogs devoted to various bodily ills -- cancer, infertility, horrible degenerative neurological things like poor Brainhell's ailment -- and many of them are written by highly articulate, intelligent and well-informed bloggers like Twisty and Lymphopo in the States, and closer to home, Stephanie at Humanities Researcher and Meredith at Marrickvillia.
If I were a medical researcher I would be looking very closely at such bloggers' gripping narratives and descriptions of their own personal, detailed, daily experiences with disease over time, and correlating data in as much detail as I could. I don't think people in general have even started to realise the potential worth and usefulness of blogging yet.
*The article's main 'argument' is that there are a lot of abandoned blogs littering up cyberspace, therefore blogging qua blogging must be 'a failure' and 'dead'. You might just as well argue that the literary novel is a stupid fad because there are so many unfinished and abandoned fiction manuscripts hidden at the backs of wardrobes all over the world. And that's only if you accept in the first place the idea of a blog as a product or a commodity, whereas it's actually a process designed for interactivity rather than for passive consumption. 'Blog' is short for 'weblog' and a log is a diary or daily record, ephemera almost by definition and never designed either for permanence or for judgement.
The people who trash blogs for being trash are applying standards that don't apply. It's like dissing a dog for not being a cat.