Thursday, January 15, 2009

"Slow-Blogging" 2009

The only appropriate way for me to start posting in the new year, on the 15th day of that year, is to hearken back to something I bookmarked for this purpose a couple months ago on the concept of, what else but Slow Blogging. Clearly, I'm a grizzled veteran of this only recently-named approach.

Web-logging began as one of those breathlessly, literally up-to-the-minute Internet phenomena, where the idea was not only of posting every day, but of how many times per day you could publish. Never mind that these rapid-fire essays contained only the barest minimum of thought; the point was they were so timely.

The Tortoise & The Hare, by Milo WinterBut as we've now seen, especially in these past few months, perhaps we need to incorporate a bit more reflection into our culture's modus operandi. It turns out that, even in a world wired with communication speeds of gigabits per second, Haste Still Makes Waste. Just lots more of it now, and much quicker.

I found this approach to online writing in a November 21, 2008 article about this "small, quirky movement" in where else but the New York Times (slow blogging about Old Media -- even worse!), "Haste, Scorned: Blogging at a Snail’s Pace." I was relieved to find some brethren whole-heartedly embracing this approach.

"Slow bloggers believe that news-driven blogs like TechCrunch and Gawker are the equivalent of fast food restaurants," author Sharon Otterman writes, "great for occasional consumption, but not enough to guarantee human sustenance over the longer haul."
Not convinced, O thou wired child of our frenzied times? About the slo-mo thesis, or the relevance of quoting hopelessly out-of-date Old Media? I give you these words of none other than A-list blogger Om Malik, writing about the reporting on the Mumbai terror attacks in his native India, in a post titled "With Twitter, a Desperate Need for Context":
"Even with all the news coming at me from the local Indian channels by way of streaming on the web, no one was offering context, analysis or a comprehensive overview of what was unfolding around them. It wasn’t until The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times offered up their reports that the whole time line and sequence of events started to make sense."
Ah-ha! Take that, New Media bigots. But my point isn't either/or; the point, as ever, is balance. There's no way around the fact that we live in a hyperdrive world, and we've got to keep up or be left behind. But neither has the world fundamentally changed so much since Aesop posited that, as my grandfather was found of quoting, "Slow but steady wins the race."

Related, here:
Twittering on about Facebook

Illustration by Milo Winter in a 1919 Aesop anthology,
from Project Gutenberg via