The web is wonderful - it's so ... immediate. And therein lies the problem if you interpret immediate as meaning anything will do. I was reading a book with the intention of reviewing it and suddenly I could stand it no more. The author was explaining how to make video for the web and was repeatedly reiterating the idea that it didn't matter what sort of video camera you had it was content that really mattered.
This is something I agree with but the whole argument was wrapped up in hype and came over as "anything will do". I could feel the hundreds of shaky badly framed and exposed videos making their way to a website far too near me for comfort of ad-hoc presentations with no script and lots of "ers", pauses and repetition. Cinema vérité may be a good idea but it has to be really good to work. The spontaneous rarely reaches the status of watchable, let alone art, unless the spontaneity is worked at very hard. To create something off the cuff you need talent yes - but without skill the talent is lost.
The same is true of much of the content of the web today. It's the reason I hate the Blog. Yes some blogs are very readable and valuable - but this is because the blogger is a skilled writer and has ideas to express. The blog as a sort of published diary where the blogger simply pours out the content of their mind simply don't work. They are generally poorly presented and hardly edited.
In the world of the technical blog things are just as bad. Can't be bothered to write a complete article - then why not blog it. You can dash of a few lines of text, pad it a bit with what you did on your holidays or your opinion of something irrelevant and as long as there is a nugget of an idea in there somewhere it's all of value. The blog is an excuse not to do a "proper" job of writing.
Now we can see the same thing spreading into the world of book publishing due to the rise of the ebook and Kindle in particular. So far no one has invented a term for a Blog that becomes a book - a Boolog perhaps - but this doesn't stop "authors" from pushing half hearted attempts at books out as ebooks. This is not the traditional self-publisher-author - many a good writer can't get published and in frustration creates something that represents their best work and lovingly publishes it. Never mind if it is a success or a failure it is a best effort. The new breed of self-publisher uses the lesser substance of the ebook to simply dash something off that might pass as a Blog, format it and offer it for sale at a cut down price - surely someone will buy it and be grateful for the nugget of an idea it contains?
As a result of the ease of ebook publishing we have a problem distinguishing between real content which might be worth something and the lesser efforts of the Blog mentality.
Yes I know that arguments like these have been raised every time the difficulty level of doing anything has been lowered - for example when free verse subverted rhyming poetry or automatic transmission replaced real driving with a stick shift - but remember the argument next time you find you have nothing worth reading and only a badly composed YouTube video to watch.
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