Tomorrow is the first day of the American Horse Publications 2012 seminar, Ride into History. Therefore, May’s end-of-the month pondering on blogging will be on the meaning of permanence. Which lasts longer, my magazine articles or my blog posts?
Personal: I did these first, so of course, I think they are superior. Plus, I’ve been paid more often to write for magazines than for webpages, a second compelling reason to favor the former.
Older: The form is established. Magazines come and go no one suddenly changes the alphabet.
Tangible: I can pick up an issue, open to the page, and see it. There it is. Right there.
Fixed: No one is reaching into my bookshelves and erasing all the pages. Short of fire or eventual paper deterioration, the magazines I have written for will sit on the shelves over my right shoulder until judgment day.
Replaceable: When the horse magazine SPUR went belly-up, the issues remained. If I lose my copy, a library, bookstore, or collector will have a replacement.
Effective Life Span: each issue is only seen by those who subscribed, paid, or found it left in a doctor’s waiting room. Yes, articles in old issues can be found, but how often does anyone other than the author bother?
Personal: (I wobble between 2&3.)
“I’ve come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.”
Douglas Adams, Salmon of Doubt from Good Reads
New: Who knows were the form will be in 5 years? We could be getting our LOLCat fix from hologramatic renderings and using our computers for fish tanks.
Intangible: If it’s not written down, it doesn’t exist. Therefore my blog doesn’t exist. Sure, I can print an entry but even I am not compulsive enough to print the comments, the links, the Facebook likes associated with each post. If I did, they would be stored linearly, rather than as an intersecting heap. The nature of the beast would be altered.
Blogs go away: Services go out of business. People change their minds. Blogs get removed for terms-of-service violations.
Blogs don’t go away: Early email advice applies double to blogs: Never mail (post) anything you wouldn’t want to see the next morning on a billboard on your way to work. Once it’s out there, it has the potential to swirl in the ether forever. I have commented on the appropriateness of a post only to realize that it was written 5 years earlier.
Worldwide. Self-replicating. Ever-expanding: There is a reason it’s called Going Viral.
Connectivity: A blog post can reference earlier blog posts, magazine articles in PDF, or books sales for those fortunate enough to have same. Older work no longer goes off to die in musty, dark corners.
Of course, the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs carved in stone will outlive us all.
How do you vote? Which is more permanent: limited but tangible print or omni-present but intangible electrons?