May 08, 2006 | Graham

Is Guy Rundle right – are blogs fading?

Guy Rundle, writing in Crikey, makes a case that blogging will go the same way as CB radios.

As with CBs, what thrilled people with blogs was “the ecstasy of communication”, the pure fact of being out there in the wide cyberworld – in other words, the form rather than the content. What stales the experience is what some have thought was its greatest attraction – its networked capacity, which makes everyone producer and consumer, and hence collapses the notion of an audience (since time does not expand, while blog numbers do).
What most realise is that blogging is the illusion of connection, publishing into a void and thus doubly isolating. Those blogs that survive will and are evolv(ing) into multi-person sites, some with collective and decentred ways of uploading, others with hierarchies essentially identical to paper editing.
This repeats the birth of newspapers out of the “pamphlet wars” of the 17th century – the latter a product of the creation of a cheap, single operator platen press. This may be the necessary stage of development required to create a media sphere which genuinely overturns the mass media model – one in which a range of well-edited moderate circulation outlets can charge and get subscriptions. Whether they could turn into full newsgathering organisations remains to be seen.

Can’t say that I agree with him, or that I disagree with him. Most blogs are by their nature ephemeral, particularly single author ones. There’s going to be turnover. A trail of empty blogs doesn’t mean the species is dying out, anymore than a row of tombstones means man is about to become extinct.
On the other hand, when we invented On Line Opinion which is in effect a super blog created before the term blog had even been coined we decided that to work it had to be multi-author and it had to have a newspaper style hierarchy. That others are coming to the same conclusion is not surprising. OLO‘s circulation figures (and Crikey‘s as well) say that all along we were right. Which doesn’t mean that I’m about to stop blogging, although it’s been difficult to find the time lately for reasons that have to do with where you take a super blog when the world is waking up that it was the right way to go in the first place. You always need to be ahead of the game.
Update: Mark Bahnisch has posted the whole of Rundle’s article at

Posted by Graham at 10:08 pm | Comments (2) |
Filed under: Media


  1. Back in 96 everyone (the few that is who got on the net) were making PERSONAL WEBPAGES. And many were blogs and many evolved into more that what they began with. A few are still around. When I first heard BLOG, I thought, so what’s new? Mainly its just the Jason-come-latetlies who got out of grade school or got into college and discovered the internet after 2000. Then it really took off and what it was really was just ‘Personal Web-sites’ by another name. Call it personal-web-site-wave-2. Actually we had forums and bbs’ prior to the worldwide web. I sent my first email in 92 and used to post on bbs’ before 94.
    Yeah, its a fad and let’s face it the mega-media and big governments want to crush things like Blogging.

    Comment by Kartasik — May 23, 2006 @ 3:59 am

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