It's a Web 2.0 death frenzy today. One blogger pronounces the impending death of Twitter (to be precise: "imminent supernova-like implosion"). The Atlantic Monthly announces the impending collapse of social networking sites (or all of Web 2.0; one weakness of many in the piece is confusing the two). And Bruce Sterling snarls at blogs, giving them a decade to live*.
It's fun to see what these three have in common, both in terms of analysis and what they miss. Each one evokes hype and faddishness, for example, to explain a rise-and-fall arc - although I wonder if a seven-year-old period for the blogosphere, and a decade for wikis, is too long for that. All three complain about the quality of social media content. None pay attention to education, or storytelling, or to global community formation.
I remember teaching a class back in 1997, about cyberspace and the Gothic, where we touched on how both worlds love apocalyptic rhetoric. There's something deeply attractive about calling in the end of the world upon something you dislike, yet feel powerless to shape. There's also the thrill of melancholy, the lush decadence of ruins, the eroticism of collapse. Not to mention the superiority of drawing a boundary around someone else's enthusiasm.
*To be fair, Chairman Bruce then explains himself. He meant one kind of blog, not all blogs. Sort of. Like South Park's Cartman talking about rainbows ("oh, rainbows!").