On 26 January 2011 there were 235 blogs listed on the LibDemBlogs aggregator: on 26 January 2015 there were only 109.
Mark saw the explanation for this remarkable decline as lying chiefly in the diminished fortunes of the party - in particular, people's unwillingness to put their "head above the parapet for fear of being shot at".
In response to Mark, Alex Marsh wrote a post suggesting a wider range of reasons, not least the rise of social media such as Facebook and Twitter. (To be fair, Mark mentioned this too.) He also questions whether blogging in our party is any more in decline than political blogging in general.
Does this decline in Liberal Democrat matter?
I think it does. I love blogging, and a political party should be buzzing with ideas and full of people who want an outlet for their own.
Twitter appealed to me as soon as I tried it (though, to be honest, partly as a way of promoting Liberal England.
I might have taken to Facebook if it had been around before I started blogging - I have always blogged in rather a Facebook style, sharing lots of interesting links - but I have never been able to think of a way of using it that this blog or twitter does not already provide.
Besides, for me Facebook has failed to shake off its origins on university campuses. Not everyone who wants to read your words is a friend.
Alex makes a good point when he writes:
A post like this one – a response to something posted by another blogger – would undoubtedly have been much more common four, five, six years ago. Now it feels a bit old school. Many bloggers are still commenting on the news, current affairs, opinion polls and the like, but there is less of a sense that being a blogger is being part of a community debating issues among themselves.That is right, though I think I can claim to be better at linking to other Liberal Democrat blogs than most.
These days people are far more likely to link to an article in the Financial Times of the Economist than to one on another blog.
But then there are many bloggers whose ambition seems to be to become the next Peter Riddell. Some even want to be a Royal Commission.
I also find, and this may be a generational difference, that some bloggers are prone to regard a post questioning their ideas as a personal attack. Put it down to the remorseless rise of identity politics.
When I gave a talk on blogging in Leicester last year I spoke of the "punk ethic" of blogging. You don't need anyone's permission or any qualifications to start. You just do it.
That is not the ethic of most bloggers today, with the result that a lot of blogs read like newspaper comment articles. To me the point of blogging is to do something different, not just mimic what has long existed.
I also note that Mark has commented on Alex's post saying:
I always think that the best bloggers give us a window into their hinterland, as well as being interesting on Lib Dem related issues, and that’s a point which deserves further thought.I agree, but I suspect that some would describe Liberal England as being all hinterland and no coast.