The Weblog

Home for the heteronomous

Blog Anniversary

This post about how blogs suck now reminds me that yesterday was my sixth anniversary as a blogger. I agree with many of the points listed, particularly the decline of linking culture. In my early days, I had a few posts linked by bigger blogs — now such a thing is clearly impossible (except when I manage to cajole Bitch PhD into llinking something). That has made me very discouraged about blogging about much of anything and has turned The Weblog into little more than a series of open threads, that little more more being Erika’s food posts and my TV posts in their better moments. Why bother coming up with a compelling, well-documented argument when no one will ever see it? The possibility of wide exposure was what motivated bloggers to produce such good work for free — we shouldn’t be surprised to see a rapid decline in quality among non-career bloggers.

My experience with AUFS, however, makes me think that a lot of these problems are limited to political and other “general interest” blogs. In a more niche environment such as theology or continental philosophy blogging, linking culture is much better — though still not nearly as good as the “good old days” of mainline blogging, since conventions like crediting the person who alerted you to a link are widely ignored — and it’s still possible for quality to be rewarded with attention from an informed audience. Maybe not probable, but possible.

July 2, 2009 - Posted by | boredom


  1. Weren’t you linked by Andrew Sullivan just last week?

    Comment by Colin | July 2, 2009

  2. An Iranian dissident was linked; Sullivan happened to pick the copy that was posted on my blog.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | July 2, 2009

  3. Despite its popularity, I think the quality of Daily Dish has also been in decline.

    Comment by ebolden | July 2, 2009

  4. […] McKenna’s take on the current state of blogging (via Adam Kotsko), especially the bit on the decline of linking culture among weblogs, seems to me, too, quite apt. […]

    Pingback by Brian Hamilton » Blogging 2.0 | July 2, 2009

  5. Why bother coming up with a compelling, well-documented argument when no one will ever see it?

    Um. You *are* planning on getting a research-type job, right?

    Comment by bitchphd | July 2, 2009

  6. Blogs are technically public. Journals are behind pay-walls. People have to pay for the privilege to not read journals. They seem to merit more consideration somehow. Plus, you might get at least three or four readers of your article (editor and the two or three reviewers). More if it is rejected and you try somewhere else.

    Comment by Craig | July 2, 2009

  7. There are more concrete benefits aside from simple readership when it comes to academic research positions.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | July 2, 2009

  8. I would attribute the fall of blogging to a generational gap in the trends of the internet. The golden age of blogging, when the linking culture was strong, was a part of the early, Google dominated, wild west internet. The linking culture was strong because at that time, people were comfortable having dialogs with total strangers over the internet.

    However, this system has now been replaced by the Facebook dominated, social internet. Many people are turning away from the blogosphere because its easier to simply use social networking to have a dialog with existing contacts. Wired has an article related to this with the statistics on traffic coming from Social networking (which I won’t link in light of the post I’m commenting on).

    Or I could be completely wrong. I’m wasn’t involved in blogs in the early days, so my impression of what the linking culture was could be wildly off base.

    Comment by DrP | July 2, 2009

  9. Of the changes on 11D’s list, three at least (“The A-List Doesn’t Matter Anymore,” “It’s all about niche blogs,” and “MSM yawns”) are welcome reversions to the early pre-A-list days of blogging, somewhat as blogging itself was an unanticipated and wonderful retreat from dot-com frenzy to earlier hopes for the web. Twittr’s a bettr technology for what Twittr handles, and I doubt I’d read Huffington Posts in any format even if they crosslinked more.

    I’m in no position to argue against “Blogger Burn Out,” though.

    Comment by Ray Davis | July 3, 2009

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