Monday, April 7, 2008

On Becoming A Dinosaur

When you're young it's always hard to picture how older people get so, you know, out of the loop. What makes them seem so dated? I mean, it's not like the don't have access to all the same things.

For a middle-aged person I'm reasonably conversant with the new. But yesterday's Times story about blogging made me feel about a million years old.

The story, which you probably saw, discussed the manic life of bloggers. I knew that lots of bloggers who live off of blogging don't make that much money, and I knew that they often get paid by page views (which has its own weird puzzles).

What I didn't know is that blogging was so much about being first. The story said that if you're making blogging your profession, it's crucial to get the news first. Even being milliseconds behind the next guy and you lose.

I don't get this -- I mean, I don't even get how this works in practice. I mean, suppose you're a reader. You read some blogs. You check in, find something mentioned. How would you know whether it was being mentioned seconds earlier on some other blog?

And if the news is something you want to read about, don't you want to know what your favorite blogger thought about it, regardless of whether it was a few hours later?

As a reader, I can't even picture what is happening. You mean readers are checking blogs to see who has the news first and then only reading those blogs? What would be the point of that? I don't even see why someone would do that.

(I also wasn't sure why all the bloggers are at home. Wouldn't you take your laptop to the cafe and blog from there? How depressing to be sitting at home all day.)

Clearly I am being left behind by some new mode of existence. The Times reports that the result of all this is that bloggers never sleep, are poor, and have terrible health problems. At least I have the consolation of knowing that the new mode sucks.

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