I read an article over the new-year period that spoke of the progress in various technological media.
I challenge you to read this piece by Matthew Bell, and not feel some sympathy for his point of view.
In summary, it is a piece that examines a small thing in itself but which is gaining some momentum. For Bell, the issue is about paper versus electronic greetings - in this case thank-you cards. Yes, it is happening more and more. Many of us are starting to send e-cards (or in my case, a WordArt mock-up) and emailing it, or just a straight text email. It is always nice to receive 'cards' by email, but it is true, never as nice as the real thing. A paper card can't be sent to 150 other people in one key stroke.
There is a sense that technology gets us to a point where we look back and see that what we had may have been better. This is not a new thing. The advent of the 'drive a lorry over them and they still play' Compact Disc (which as we know, can become scratched just by thinking a thought near one) was wonderful for many of us for whom vinyl was large and vulnerable and a little bit passée! The CD came, and then in recent years, vinyl made something of a recovery.
We are in the digital age, of that there is no doubt. When we go on holiday, we carry a memory card in our luggage upon which to consign eighty-zillion poorly focussed pictures of friends. Once, we would take a couple of rolls of 36-exposure films and use them carefully, even coming home with a couple left to snap the cat to finish the film. We'd send them off to Truprint and wait like kids at Christmas for the fat envelope to return. Now, we lob our pictures onto the PC before washing the sandy undies, get bored at snap 763 and resort to Gin. There will not be a person reading this that do not miss actual paper photos in an actual photo album. With the advent of Photobooks etc, and Print-ur-own booths for photos, we are looking back to our halogen days pre-tech!
So, thank-you notes, Christmas cards, snappy-snap holiday pictures, Compact Discs ... and add to that the possibility of expanding MP3 music files from 'least space' to greatest space for best quality, and we have a tide ebbing and flowing. So what does this mean for another technological advance ... web-logging?
Anyone can blog, and some do. Anyone can read, and some do. The difficult truth about blogging is that, however snuggly wuggly it gets, it is still detached and impersonal. Rarely do people who write and read blogs know each other - we are but apparitions, names and faces on a screen who make mystical words appear. For now it is a growing phenomenon, and one that I enjoy. But in my deepest darkest places where I don't like to look, I sense that every post I write is a conversation I could have had down the pub, but didn't. Does blogging have a shelf-life? The psychologists may have a view. In the end, so many people will blog that the idea of a chat over a beer will seem novel and inventive. In the end, there will be so great a volume of words that not reading them will become desirable. For now, I hope that day is far off, though I wonder if it is not inevitable.