John Battelle fondly remembers “the way it used to be”, and goes out on a limb:
I believe that the personal-site-based essay is making a comeback
I won’t say that I totally disagree (after all, not only is remediary precisely what he’s talking about — but also: why else would I have registered personal-blogs.com? ), but I think he is overstating the significance of personal diaries. Sure, expressing yourself (rather than letting facebook, twitter, et. al. censor your ideas) can be a very “social” activity and it also fosters personal growth, insofar as writing ideas down can be a good way of clarifying them.
I find it comforting that when someone with a truly unique point of view has something important to say, they often return to their own site to say it there.
I agree — and yet different things are important in different ways. For example, some things are important to me personally — and conversing with John (e.g. the way I am doing here and now — I expect John will “automatically” be notified of this post) is one of them.
Other things are important as topics or issues (or something like that). In this case, I think the cliques of blogging’s “early days” John refers to are best left in the past. When considering the significance of such a topic or issue — be it “Occupy” or “Water” or whatever — I do NOT want these to be left to a small group of celebrity bloggers.
I want people to become engaged and involved in society, not to merely pose as individuals.