Monday, April 08, 2019

Looking back on the golden age of blogging

One of the stars of the early years of Liberal Democrat blogging was Nick Barlow.

The other day he announced (on Medium) that he had decided to let his blog What You Can Get Away with disappear - though it is still available via the Wayback Machine.

In making that announcement he wrote:
In the way that all ageing men looking back on their youth remember it as a golden age, that period up to around 2005 was the heyday of British blogging, especially political blogging. 
There was a community and a network of writers, reading and responding to each other, fed into by a wave of commenters who’d pop up across a range of blogs to contribute to the debate and it all felt like one big conversation. It could get challenging and angry at times (this was the period of the Iraq War) but it felt like something interesting and different was going on. 
And then, like so many other things, it just got too big. The “blogosphere” (a terrible word, but I never found a better one) started to become a place where people realised they could make a name for themselves, and blogs started becoming more about self-promotion and developing your own community, not just one part of a wider and bigger conversation. 
Twitter and Facebook started nibbling at the edges of what blogging had been, especially the conversational aspects of it, and blogs started becoming more content repositories than anything else.
I would place the good old days a little nearer than that.

In saying that I am thinking of the wonderful unconference Caron Lindsay organised in Edinburgh in 2009 and my trip to New York (courtesy of Oxfam) the following year.

Just after I got back from the US I was given a free pizza by Domino's after posting about them, which means my two best freebies from blogging came back to back.

But whenever the golden age of blogging was, we can agree that it is now long over.

I originally set up Liberal England as a way of promoting a long-vanished site I posted for Lord Bonkers, but blogging soon became my passion.

As you may have noticed, I fell in love with Twitter too, but every time I have got close to having a Facebook page something has happened to put me off. Maybe, deep down, I am afraid that it would supplant this blog.

I am aware that I ought to write more articles and even books, but I remain hooked on the instant rewards that blogging brings.

And I have never found a platform that has tempted me away from dear old Blogger.

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