Are blogs back?

You’ve no doubt heard about the train wreck that is Twitter’s current state under Elon Musk. Even if you would prefer a Twitter with less content moderation, as Musk had said he wished to create, it’s hard to be optimistic about Twitter’s future amid Musk’s wave of haphazard sackings. So many of us are now starting to ask: what does the world after Twitter look like?

And, well, do you remember the world before Twitter? It was full of blogs! A Substack post from Brad DeLong today linked to John Scalzi, who I remember best sixteen years ago for taping bacon to the cat. (I miss the ’00s in a number of ways. Something I never expected I’d say.) Scalzi, like me, did not stop blogging even when it stopped being cool, and he suggests that in the post-Twitter world “everyone should start blogging again.”

Will the post-Twitter world be a blogosphere again? Perhaps that’s just the wishful thinking of us bloggers. But we can at least take some steps to make it happen. And one of the things Scalzi reminds us – something I admit being delinquent about in the past few years – is to visit other bloggers’ sites. Now, as was already the case in blogs’ heyday fifteen years ago, few of us have the mental space to remember to regularly visit multiple weekly or biweekly updated sites. But there are ways to make the task easier. With some blogs, like this one, you can subscribe by email. For others: blogs suffered a major blow when Google killed Google Reader, but its functions are still available through Feedly and The Old Reader: tools that will deliver new content from multiple blogs to you.

The most important thing I can do in this post is to name other philosophy blogs that, like mine, have continued chugging along during the Twitter era. Because Scalzi and I are not the only ones who’ve kept it up. This blog’s co-founders each have our own blogs: I have Love of All Wisdom and Elisa Freschi has her own blog. The IPB’s sister blog in Chinese Philosophy, Warp Weft and Way, remains lively. My exchange with Justin Whitaker earlier this year was notable in that his half of it took place on his own blog at Buddhistdoor.

And some of the older blogs in Western philosophy remain too. The Speculative Realist movement, in many ways born of blogs, keeps on going at Larval Subjects and Ecology Without Nature. Front Porch Republic carries on the same brand of intellectual conservatism that intrigued me a decade ago, through a very different political era. And the larger-scale blogs at Daily Nous and New APPS continue as well. Blogs were a great place for stimulating philosophical ideas before there was Twitter – and they look well poised to remain so after Twitter.

Cross-posted with minor modifications at Love of All Wisdom.

3 Replies to “Are blogs back?”

  1. Let’s hear it for blogging. I’d add a shout-out to the APA’s Black Issues in Philosophy blog; infrequent posts, but some very good stuff there. The Religious Studies Project (a podcast, but still a kind of blogging) sometimes veers into philosophy of religion and is also worth a look.

    But trying to make the blogosphere as vibrant as it was in the oughts? I have my doubts. First of all, writing a blog is not for everyone. As someone who’s been blogging since 2005, I can testify that it takes dedication, and it takes a *lot* of time. Reading blogs, and interacting with them, also takes a fair amount of time. I’m a compulsive reader and a compulsive writer, so blogs are a good fit for me. But I suspect most people are going to prefer the low level of commitment required by social media platforms like Twitter, Mastodon, Facebook, etc.

    Having said that, I’m glad the Indian Philosophy Blog continues. I’m glad that you and Elisa Freschi continue to blog. Maybe the blogosphere isn’t the same as it was in the oughts, but for some of us it still remains the best place for long-form writing, deep reflection, and serious thinking.

    P.S. Every blogger should have a blogroll. That’s a key feature that makes blogging social. I note that Scalzi doesn’t have a blogroll.

  2. Pingback: Blogging – Yet Another Unitarian Universalist

  3. As this reply shows, I am often late in reading blogposts. Still, I hope you are right, Amod, and am grateful to the blogosphere for having brought us together and having made many in-depth conversation possible (in a way which is significantly different than what Twitter allows). Let us hope you are right!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *