A reader writes:
Just a quick note about your post on the impact of blogging versus so-called "serious writing." You noted the difference between the mind set it takes to write "something that you hope will last a few years and something that you know will only last a few hours." I would suggest that in your case, at least (and this would not be true for most bloggers), the lasting impact on your readers of the sum total of the blog is what is important, not the content of any individual post. While many individual entries might not qualify as serious writing, your readers can always count on seriousness of purpose, the presence of a consistent moral framework, and an openness to a diversity of opinion. Although it's impossible to verify, I would bet that the influence of the blog on thoughts and attitudes of your readers is greater than the impact that one "serious" work would have.
And, I get the sense that the relational, interactive aspects of blogging are what most appeal to you, and you can't get the same depth of satisfaction from the production of a book. A book is a statement and, maybe, an important or profound one, but the blog is a dialogue. From seeing you in various media contexts, it is clear that you like to talk to anyone who has something interesting and intelligent to contribute to the discussion, whether or not he or she agrees with you. The sad reality is that most people only pick up works of non-fiction that are going to confirm pre-existing opinions. All this to say: My own take is that the blog is a lot more "serious" and impactful than any single work is ever likely to be. I've never read one of your books, but you have influenced my thinking in a number of areas. That's serious.
Thanks for the kind words. A blog is in many ways a continuing conversation - with myself and others. A book is a place apart, a statement. My reader captures why I'm still entranced with blogging and still figuring out what it can and cannot do. And now I'm paid for it!