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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

...and bloggity blog at

I think trying to have an objective view of current blogging is a bit like viewing a marathon race somewhere just after the half way mark. The runners tend, by this stage, to be well established in packs or groups. There is the lead pack. Then there are other packs staggered back through the field. Occasionally, a runner will break out of a pack and race to position themselves in the pack ahead. The NYM articles give a predominantly U.S. view of the blogging field. Over at, there is a view from the outside - a European view. Only thing is - it's written by an American, Trevor Butterworth. Butterworth's piece is a good read coming after the NYM stuff. I'm not saying the NYM stuff is unbalanced. It's not. But Butterworth's piece gives a counter-balancing perspective, a reality check. The blogosphere is not the b-all and end-all. The professionals still dominate in set-up, writing style and hits and the good writers have found blogging a stepping stone to another life and leave professional blogging behind. I love this part:

blogging in the US is not reflective of the kind of deep social and
political change that lay behind the alternative press in the 1960s. Instead,
its dependency on old media for its material brings to mind Swift’s fleas
sucking upon other fleas “ad infinitum”: somewhere there has to be a host for
feeding to begin. That blogs will one day rule the media world is a triumph of
optimism over parasitism.

and this:

Blogging will no doubt always have a place as an underground medium in
closed societies; but for those in the west trying to blog their way into viable
businesses, the economics are daunting.
The marathon of the blogs continues. The winner/s of the race is/are not yet clear. Will enthusiastic amateurs, even those earning a reasonable income, remain ephemeral also-rans? Will the race go the swift, the powerful, the well-connected, and the talented as remains the case for the mainstream media? Will the blogosphere become a true democracy, a talented meritocracy of lifestyle and opinion? Is good grassroots blog writing sustainable in a commercialised, globalised democracy or can it only be sustained in censorious nations like China and Iran? The finishing line is a long way off.