Nick pointed me yesterday to this blog post, by Chris Lott. It is a sort of manifesto (although apparently not the first) for what seems to be an emerging movement: slow blogging.
Slow blogging, on the concept drawn by Lott and his influences, means spending more time on posts, taking care to not distribute our thoughts half-baked. From the Slow Blogging Manifesto: "Slow Blogging does not write thoughts onto the ethereal and eternal parchment before they provide an enduring worth in the shape of our ideas over time."
Image via dawdlr: Super-slow blogging.
I'd like to counter-propose that while this conception is motivated by the right kind of concern, it misses what's really good about blogging in the first place. I want to do this because I am deeply in agreement that blogging is an undersold platform for doing a serious kind of writing work.
The slow-blogging advocates are correct that the blog culture is often unthoughtful, and that a likely culprit for this is a supposed need to deliver an incessant stream of interesting content. The immediate and obvious (albeit unreflective) solution is to just "go lowest common denominator," and pound out aggregate blog posts until your fingers bleed. I agree with the slow-bloggers that this is non-optimal.
However, I find it overly reactionary that the correct response to this observation would be to write blog posts more like a magazine articles. The right solution here, I think, has to both take on board the legitimate criticisms of the slow bloggers and still allow itself to leverage the power of the blogging medium.
So I would suggest, as opposed to the proposed "magazine slow," something more like an interest-based (or "geological") model of blogging, where deep ideas are allowed to accrete over time from an ongoing public conversation in blog posts. The requirement for a "slow blog" would not be that each post is a criticism-worthy piece unto itself, but rather that each post contributes to an emergent argument. I would suggest that taking such a tack manages to handle both the depth and breadth concerns inherent to good blogging practice handily.*
* On an interesting side note, this is exactly what tag cloud navigation tracks. As themes emerge, they become more and more salient navigational elements.
Tongue firmly in cheek, I'd like call this kind of emergence-model slow-blogging slogging: Slogging means that by simply continuing to make small steps forward, you'll eventually get somewhere.
But of course, the key is taking the time to notice what themes are emerging from your posts. So, as you tune up last year's weather-stripping on your windows this weekend, why not spend some time pondering what your blog posts are already trying to tell you?