Blogs — who reads them? If you are reading this, then I guess the answer is you. But I have to be honest, I don’t read them, unless I’ve searched for a recipe or a knitting pattern and it’s embedded in a blog.
I have to apologize, then, to my friends who have blogs. Honestly, I am the kind of person who scans my facebook feed and gets most of my news that way, and yes I feel sorry saying that. Every so often, I will click on a link from Huff Post or NPR to read an article on politics or the environment, or to watch a Daily Show or Colbert Report clip (not the entire episode, because I don’t have the attention span). OK, I’m trying to make myself look cultured and educated; I also spend a lot of time watching cute animal videos on youtube. C’mon, how many times have you watched the baby panda sneeze? It’s still funny every single time. Or that dubbed video of the dog having a conversation with his owner about maple-smoked bacon?
What’s happening to me? I have no attention span anymore. I get an article on the internet that is over 2 pages long, with all those little numbers in their little boxes at the bottom of the page, and I just quit. If I had it in my hands in a newspaper, and I really wanted to continue reading, I would, I suppose. But I have more trouble staying focused when reading on a computer screen than when it’s on paper — too many other places I could go, I guess, and it makes my eyes go buggy after a while.
I love working as copy editor for our local news website now that they have a weekly print edition. I hardly ever read it online (apologies to the crew); the one time I did was because there was an interview with my knitting/spinning friend in town. But this goes to show that the publisher made an excellent decision to go the paper route, despite what the managing editor says about it being outdated and a poor financial investment — he’s right that things are going in another direction (take the beautiful tablet magazines these days). But there are many people who have said the same thing I have: they never read it online, but they do read the paper. We, the paper and book people, are still a force to be reckoned with! (As well as poor people who do not have ipads and kindles.)
Back to my original question, who reads blogs? Who has the time to sift through all of the information on the Internet? This is why print publishing is still alive (though many would say, dying) — people need a filter, a middle-man, a gateway to help them sort through what’s really worth their time. (I use facebook, which is not a great mediator, but if my newsfeed friends like it, I will probably like it.) And you can safely say that if someone has gone to all the trouble and expense to get something printed on paper and designed to look nice and distributed widely enough, that maybe it has some value, at least to some people.
And back to the theme of my blog — the paper edition is a much more satisfying product than the news website, no matter how great the site is. It is not only visible but tangible as well. And this is why I am happy at this job (that and the fact that it’s only a couple days a week), and why I remember enjoying my time at the English-language daily paper in Taiwan in the early 2000s. I can see the product and feel proud of it, especially if it’s an article I’ve written. Sure, I can write anything I want on the Internet (I’m doing it right now), but to get it out to the whole town, that feels completely different, and awfully satisfying.