The philosophy of one of my favorite bakeries is that they allow the bread to rise up to 36 hours to ensure the best quality. It reminded me of the Italian ‘slow food’ movement as a response to the production and consumption of fast food. The general idea was translated into various aspects of life and gave birth to the ‘slow movement’ which may be considered as “a cultural shift toward slowing down life’s pace.” (Wikipedia)
However, the web seems obsessed with updates, it seems to be in an endless beta state fed by a perceived freshness fetish where updating quickly and instantly is the norm. Blogging may be seen as a medium where the freshness norm is illustrated in the daily update. New York Times science reporter Andrew Revkin recently stated that
Much of the power of the Web lies in speed and reach. But those same properties are the source of its greatest failing as well: the tendency to spread faulty assertions instantly and widely. Maybe it’s time for a “slow blog” movement, just as there’s now a slow food movement — and even a slow life movement, as described in The Times this week.
While blogs thrive on the update , the quick update in order to break the news first may also lead to the “fast-motion flow of misinformation.” A recent example is the Robert Scoble’s quick but inaccurate Twitter message stating that “revision3 just sold to cnet for $58 mil” which was humorously covered by Michael Arrington on TechCrunch.
While freshness is still the norm on the web there are also a few trends that propose to slow down. We are dealing with an increasing amount and speed of information which gave birth to the Getting Things Done hype. Dutch problogger Ernst-Jan Pfauth for example applies GTD to blogging in ‘how to process blog-related email Getting Things Done-style‘.
Both the slow movement and Getting Things Done are a philosopy and a lifestyle. Slow blogging proposes to take a step back, reflect and think. Carl Honore gave an interesting talk on ‘Slowing down in a world for speed’ at Ted 2007 (see video). Of course the Slow Blog Manifesto does not apply to all blogs and bloggers. Slow Blogging is a style and mindset that rejects 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.
News blogs depend on quick and fast updates but depending on what kind of blog you run you have to balance between the speed of information and depth of information:
The best internet experiences balance the tension between speed and ease of access and depth of information. The superficial quality of speed is inherent to the net (just like water is wet) but that doesn’t mean it has to be accepted unquestioningly. The proliferation of information and our consumption and creation of it isn’t something that should be taken for granted. (Jesse)
Mari then distinguishes between two types of blogging:
There is and should be fast and slow blogging. Someone a while back made the point that the real issue is lazy blogging. I think that’s right. Fast blogging has its place in conveying news and starting conversation. Meanwhile, slow blogging is for thoughtful, considered analysis; for weighing all of the news that’s already been reported in fast blogging and by other media outlets. Both are good. Lazy blogging has no place. (Mari)
What kind of blogger are you? A fast blogger or a slow blogger?
Anne is a New Media Lecturer at the University of Amsterdam. She participates as a blog researcher in the newly found Digital Methods Initiative of the University of Amsterdam. Anne also writes about blogging and academics on her personal blog and the collaborative Masters of Media blog.