As I peruse my blogroll lately, I am finding more and more dead links. Links that once connected to lively discussions and interesting topics are now dead and displaying 401 errors and other such test patterns.
In the last few years, the definition of blogging has changed from that of an independent voice to that of a controlled environment– controlled by major media, and controlled by money.
Are we witnessing the end of the independent blogger? Is blogging for the little guy finally reaching its apex? Or has it already crested– now crashing down to earth in a fireball?
When I started blogging in 2004, it was an exciting new medium. You could find blogs about everything from cooking to music, from sex to politics. There were discussion blogs and “mommy” blogs. There were comedy blogs and, yes, even some tragic blogs. Nearly all of them were independent in nature. Blog ads were an unknown concept– making money on the medium had not even surfaced yet.
A year or two later, the landscape had changed considerably. Media outlets had taken notice of blogging’s popularity and power. More people jumped on the bandwagon, and ways to make money were devised. Eventually major players emerged and became just as famous as the medium that created them. Yet somehow everyone was still able to coexist in peaceful harmony.
Today, however, it seems that the tide has turned. The major players have been decided, and the independent voices are quickly starting to vanish. The media outlets that reported on blogging’s popularity had begun producing their own blogs, putting an end to many independent voices in their wake. The edges of what blogging initially meant had been blurred; its original meaning turned into the next passing fad.
I miss those early, glorious days. I miss meeting new people and seeing new names. I miss the excitement of discussing current events one day and your own personal crises the next with people I had never met before; and probably never will. I miss the camaraderie that was shared between the pioneers of the medium.
I don’t miss the fact that so many people are disappearing without even saying goodbye.
Whither blogging? Maybe not completely, but the definition is most certainly changing.