Blogging first became popular roughly a decade ago as a way to share instantaneous news and commentary on breaking stories. It continues to serve that useful journalistic purpose, but it also has evolved into a medium for synthesizing information and for reflective commentary, analysis, and opinion. I believe that this latter mode describes how some readers use blogs in connection with their work, hobbies, and avocations. Blogging in this manner encourages more contemplative writing that will be relevant well beyond its initial posting date.
To characterize this use of the blogging format, I’d like to invoke two terms, slow blogging and slow media, that capture how we can use social media to temper the pace of our tech-fueled, hurry-up society.
The philosophy and practice of slow blogging has been beautifully articulated in the Slow Blogging Manifesto by Todd Sieling. Here are a few snippets:
Slow Blogging is a rejection of immediacy. It is an affirmation that not all things worth reading are written quickly, and that many thoughts are best served after being fully baked and worded in an even temperament.
Slow Blogging is a reversal of the disintegration into the one-liners and cutting turns of phrase that are often the early lives of our best ideas.
Slow Blogging is a willingness to remain silent amid the daily outrages and ecstasies that fill nothing more than single moments in time, switching between banality, crushing heartbreak and end-of-the-world psychotic glee in the mere space between headlines.
Slow blogging relates strongly to the concept of slow media that is circulating around the wired world. In the “Slow Media Manifesto,” co-authors Benedikt Köhler, Sabria David, and Jörg Blumtritt describe their philosophy this way:
The first decade of the 21st century, the so-called ‘naughties’, has brought profound changes to the technological foundations of the media landscape. The key buzzwords are networks, the Internet and social media. In the second decade, people will not search for new technologies allowing for even easier, faster and low-priced content production. Rather, appropriate reactions to this media revolution are to be developed and integrated politically, culturally and socially. The concept “Slow”, as in “Slow Food” and not as in “Slow Down”, is a key for this. Like “Slow Food”, Slow Media are not about fast consumption but about choosing the ingredients mindfully and preparing them in a concentrated manner. Slow Media are welcoming and hospitable. They like to share.
In other words, slow media emphasizes sustainability, quality, dialogue, and respect for its users. There’s a personal connection as well:
Slow Media ask for confidence and take their time to be credible. Behind Slow Media are real people. And you can feel that.
The heart quality of slow blogging
Informed by these thoughtful words, for me the concept of slow blogging means writing thoughtfully, reflectively, and connectively. It doesn’t dodge tough topics or avoid stating a strong opinion, but it attempts to steer clear of knee-jerk reactions and snarky provocation. It means writing posts that are relevant and interesting beyond the present. And it means interacting with your readers when time and opportunity permit. (This can be a challenge when work is piling up!) Although I sometimes fall short of following these precepts and practices, I regard them as worthy aspirations.
Blogging can be a modest, yet meaningful way of sharing information, ideas, and opinions for the longer term. If you’re a blogger, or if you’re thinking of starting a blog, then I hope this has inspired you to consider the deeper purposes of your writing in this form.
Hat tip to writer and editor Jane Friedman, whose post introduced me to the slow media concept.