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.

kevindrumA couple of excerpts:

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.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. odograph says:

    August 2001!

    Not in continuous operation though, there’s a 3 year gap. I dredged the old pages back from archives and stuck them into the newer system.

  2. Erick says:

    How can you spew such left wing propaganda? Democrats loudly booed George Bush during his state of the union addresses. Joe Wilson simply told the truth. Obama is lying. But the left wing MSM is horrified because it is forbidden to criticize a black man. This is just vicious reverse racism. Nothing more. Nothing less.

  3. MarkedMan says:

    James, FWIW I look forward to your column due to your intellectual honesty and the rigor with which you apply it. I consider myself a progressive.