One of the main purposes (or in more neutral language, uses) of art seems to be programmed psychotropism: art permits the artist to arrange thoughts at a distance. Some art forms permit the artist only coarse-grained control over the Other's mind; a painting, for instance, might resonate with its viewer for a long time, but that resonance is highly personal and associative, even if the painting's subject matter (and the artist's aim in presenting it) is quite clear. Poetry works similarly, by evocation and association.
Not many people read poetry. Not many people spend time looking at paintings.
It's hard to share your neighbour's precise reaction to a poem or painting.
A novelist, on the other hand, can achieve very fine-grained control over the step-by-step alteration (excuse me, Prof. Austin: alternation) of the Other's consciousness. She controls the pace of presentation/encounter, the emotional context and content of each scene, and -- through sheer repetition and acculturation -- even, to some extent, the private linguistic framework within which the reader-Other will (must!) encounter the events depicted in the text.
My mentor Prof. Thorburn always said that 'Great novels teach us how to read them.' One way of understanding that not-quite-transparent claim is in the terms I'm suggesting here: by the time you reach the last page of a 500-page novel, your reading-consciousness has been subjected to a very specific series of remote-control instructions from the author, and that specificity of effect-dictation can't be matched by any other art form.
Dramatic performance comes close, long-form serial entertainment (e.g. TV shows) even closer; but our social-cognitive and emotional-processing apparatus has a lot more free reign to interpret events onstage or onscreen. They're people up there, after all.
But literary characters don't come to us as people. Not quite. Not like dramatic characters, whose medium of existence is human action, however abstract/formal. Epic poetry has some of the same quality, but its allusive/metaphorical qualities induce a certain lossiness of info-encoding.
The novel is one of the great innovations ever achieved by mankind, because it allows for an astonishingly high-fidelity transfer of enormous amounts of information, whose key function is to programmatically alter the consciousness of the reader, creating an impression not just of events-in-line but of meaning-creating-meaning. A painting can take you to an imaginary place; a poem can create a synthetic feeling; a dramatic performance can communicate a social moment. What the novel transmits, above all -- its informational payload -- is structured time: not just an explanation of how the universe works, but a fully functional example of an artificial universe.
I make no such claim regarding blog posts, though.
OK, hopefully I can sleep now.