Metablog! Blogger Joins a Multi-Blog Discussion on the Future of Blogging

Metablogging is indulgent and unnecessary, and yet, as Alan puts it, "there is no honey sweeter, no creek water cooler, no child's laughter more precious than what happens when bloggers write about blogging."  To bloggers, anyway.  Let us start with Andy Crouch, who kicked off the topic.  He argues blogs are dying:
Perhaps it is my own self-selection, but it seems (and I am largely without empirical proof on this one) that the cause of beer blogging has slowed considerably in the last year or two.

He is, of course, totally correct.  Blogs were an interstitial medium, bridging the gap between paid journalism and social media.  When they came along in the early aughts, they seemed revelatory: random people could actually harness the world wide intertubes and potentially reach millions.  The history of media is the history of controlling the means of distribution.  In a single stroke, blogs eliminated the hegemony of multinational empires.  You could, literally for free, join the New York Times as an organ of the news.  But then: BeerAdvocate, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and their descendants.  In 2012, blogs look as wheezy and creaky as the old farts who write them (with apologies to the young farts who do, too). 

I would, however, caution against an existential crisis.  Because, while BeerAdvocate, Facebook, and Twitter make it very easy for people to share their opinions about beer, the flow of actual information has never been lower.  Take the Portland example.  We have four local papers, but only two make any gesture toward covering beer, and both cover beer a whole lot less than they did a decade ago.  Yet we have something approaching 50 breweries.  A good many of them do something interesting a few times a year to try to catch our attention, plus there are festivals and events happening year round.  Because there is so much happening, we tend to get a constant flow of updates about activity but very little deep information.  I've been trying to add a bit of that with my new brewery reports, but I'm just scratching the surface.   Portland has more blogs than most towns, so together we do manage to cover more, but we have no where near a fully-covered scene.

Alan says it's a seller's market--a good time to blog--and I would agree.  You won't get rich, you won't get a raft of readers, and you will spend a lot of your time doing an activity for which your friends will mock you (except on those rare occasions when you score samples).  But then again, that's how it's always been.  Hold your heads up, bloggers: half-assed reviews on BeerAdvocate and bon mots on Twitter can't replace us.  Someone's got to go out to pubs and breweries and, when they're not navel-gazing in metablog posts, report back what they find.  No one else is going to do it.
Jeff Alworth5 Comments