is this the end of theoblogging?

I’ve noticed something recently — perhaps you have too: the pace of theoblogging seems to have slowed … significantly.

Maybe it’s only the blogs I check regularly. Michael Jensen is still prolific — it’s just that The Blogging Parson isn’t really where the action is any more. Ben Myers only seems to post once or twice a week (although the quality and lyricism of his recent writing has occasionally moved me to tears). I’ve hardly heard a peep out of Halden for weeks.¬†And don’t even get me started on the pastors who’ve hit the brakes on blogging!

So what’s the elephant in the (virtual) room of theoblogging? What — if anything — has changed?

Now I’m not sure there’s a generalisable explanation (or that I’m even on the money with what I’m observing). Although, I have been pondering whether, beyond the loyalty of readers who’ll follow a blogger wherever they go, there might be something intrinsically project-related about blogging. I’m certainly familiar with the nexus that forms between the interests I happen to have when I scan through whatever lands in my RSS reader in the morning and the bloggers who hold my attention.

I’ve also observed that the discussion-generating function that theoblogging can sometimes serve (and, to be honest, that’s more than half the thrill of it!) gets satisfied in different ways these days. Several people I know use Facebook to workshop in hours the sort of thing that may have taken days with a blog post (or maybe never even got going). Shifting over to Facebook has its costs — things tend to be briefer and less subtle. But there are obvious rewards too. For instance, by starting with just your ‘friends’, you decrease the chance of a troll hijacking the conversation.

Of course, it’s entirely possible that news of theoblogging’s demise has been greatly exaggerated. But I wonder if the current slowdown might afford an opportunity to refocus on the ‘end’ of theoblogging in another sense — namely, its aim or goal.

Let me throw it over to you: If Facebook takes over some of what theoblogging used to do, what’s it still good for? Why do you read (or write) posts that have to do with theology?

To get the ball rolling, let me share how there’s something about the public and ‘occasional’ nature of theoblogging that helps me get outside my own head.

A recent Copyblogger post suggests that looking outside your own head is a great way to generate content for your blog (and then, in characteristic style, bullet-points 50 ways to do it). But apart from this strategic imperative, I find profound ethical reasons for valuing what emerges from the attempt to maintain a theologically-informed conversation about life and ministry in public.

All of which is a long way of saying that with a new 0.4 job taking me to a full complement of working days each week, there may be some changes around here too!

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4 comments

  1. Yeah – have to say I have received quite a few discouragements lately. There are the nutters who take over practically any topic and skew it towards creation science one way or other. I have at least one person in cyberspace who I am convinced is out to discredit me. And then there’s the disapproval of an older generation, who don’t ‘get’ blogging and think it is terrible.

    1. Hey Michael,

      Thanks for your honesty. It hurts to be attacked — in whatever forum it happens! From my experience, blogging (and commenting on other blogs) can occasionally present some massive challenges when it comes to responding to people in a Christian way.

      As for the older generation not ‘getting’ it, I wonder what the situation was like with other technological leaps — like the printing press or whatever. I remember that Plato expressed some worries about the corrupting influence of writing as a technological development. While I don’t want to write off their concerns automatically (since I’ve encounter some pretty horrible stuff in the blogosphere), I don’t believe abuse — even frequent abuse — renders proper use impossible.

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