Evolution of Blogging
Scott Payne has an interesting interview with Kevin Drum on the evolution of the blogosphere since the days when dinosaurs roamed the earth circa 2002. I joined the fray about six months later and think he’s dead on.
But the political blogosphere did have a bit more of a clubby feel to it back then. Mainly, this is because we spent a lot of time talking to each other and nobody else really noticed us much. It was sort of like joining a book club, where you talk about the same stuff as the big-time critics but it’s only between friends.
There was also a lot less expertise in the blogosphere back then. There were a fair number of legal bloggers, and a few economists, but that was about it. That gave the whole enterprise a very wide open feel. We could all talk about anything we wanted to without having to contend with a bunch of genuine experts barging into the discussion to tell us where we’d gone wrong.
Indeed, one of the things that got me noticed early on was that I brought some genuine expertise (a PhD in international security and combat experience) to the debate during the run-up to the Iraq War. Two or three years later, the blogosphere was positively overrun with people who had much more specialized knowledge in counterinsurgency, terrorism, and regional affairs than I did.
First, politics itself has gotten increasingly tribal and the blogosphere has followed along.
Second, as the blogosphere aged, bloggers started to realize that their opposite numbers were never going to change their minds. As that became clearer and clearer, engaging with them got a lot less interesting.
That’s largely right. The exceptions, oddly enough, are mostly among the group that’s been around since those early days — most of whom have gone professional — and know one another.