You’ve no doubt heard about the train wreck that is Twitter’s current state under Elon Musk. Even if you would prefer a Twitter with less content moderation, as Musk had said he wished to create, it’s hard to be optimistic about Twitter’s future amid Musk’s wave of haphazard sackings. So many of us are now starting to ask: what does the world after Twitter look like?
And, well, do you remember the world before Twitter? It was full of blogs! A Substack post from Brad DeLong today linked to John Scalzi, who I remember best sixteen years ago for taping bacon to the cat. (I miss the ’00s in a number of ways. Something I never expected I’d say.) Scalzi, like me, did not stop blogging even when it stopped being cool, and he suggests that in the post-Twitter world “everyone should start blogging again.”
Will the post-Twitter world be a blogosphere again? Perhaps that’s just the wishful thinking of us bloggers. But we can at least take some steps to make it happen. And one of the things Scalzi reminds us – something I admit being delinquent about in the past few years – is to visit other bloggers’ sites. Now, as was already the case in blogs’ heyday fifteen years ago, few of us have the mental space to remember to regularly visit multiple weekly or biweekly updated sites. But there are ways to make the task easier. With some blogs, like this one, you can subscribe by email. For others: blogs suffered a major blow when Google killed Google Reader, but its functions are still available through Feedly and The Old Reader: tools that will deliver new content from multiple blogs to you.
The most important thing I can do in this post is to name other philosophy blogs that, like mine, have continued chugging along during the Twitter era. Because Scalzi and I are not the only ones who’ve kept it up. Most obviously there’s the Indian Philosophy Blog, which I co-run with Elisa Freschi – and she has kept up her own blog all this time as well. The IPB’s sister blog in Chinese Philosophy, Warp Weft and Way, remains lively. My exchange with Justin Whitaker earlier this year was notable in that his half of it took place on his own blog at Buddhistdoor.
And some of the older blogs in Western philosophy remain too. The Speculative Realist movement, in many ways born of blogs, keeps on going at Larval Subjects and Ecology Without Nature. Front Porch Republic carries on the same brand of intellectual conservatism that intrigued me a decade ago, through a very different political era. And the larger-scale blogs at Daily Nous and New APPS continue as well. Blogs were a great place for stimulating philosophical ideas before there was Twitter – and they look well poised to remain so after Twitter.