Jun 252007

Ever wondered, dear reader, whether the solo blogger is a dying breed?

Together Ken Parish’s intellectual brain child, Club Troppo, academia’s Mark Bahnisch and Co in their oddly named Larvatus Prodeo; and the economic spruikers anonymous crew Catallax-ing their way across the ‘sphere seem to hold some sway in Ozblogworld these days. I can admit to scanning Club Troppo from day to day, but rarely read or visit the other two at all. Group blogs seem, even more so than used to be observed, to do the circle thing when it comes to mentioning each other ad infinitum. Ergo, I really don’t see any need to visit LP or Jason Soon’s efforts, because they get quite a few mentions at CT. Doubtless the other two observe Newton’s Law, and compliment likewise. Sufficient to negate any desire on my part at least, to find out what each of the other two have to offer.
So, just what is the attraction of group blogging, if the communal ethos which seems to pervade group blogging nullifies the supposed benefits of so doing? Benefits, I hear you ask?
Ask yourself, reader, why people do this blogging thing in the first place. Generally, and I say generally because it’s not a unique drive by any means, but generally bloggers blog in the fervent hope that people will read. The same reason newspaper owners employer journalists to write up the days news. In the hope that someone will read what’s been written and pay for the privilege to do so. It’s a kind of plea for attention. All kinds of material there for the serious shrink, if you stop to think about it. Clearly, no-one’s going to pay to read a bloggers scribblings, so this cultural back patting exercise seems to have insinuated itself in lieu of coin of the realm. It used to be individual bloggers patting each other on the virtual back, or to use the parlance, tipping a hat to each other. Since group blogging seems to have coalesced into a more tangible form from the oddity it once was, this hat tipping seems to have gone pretty much by the by. Those who used to dip their lid, now join their fellow former lid dippers in the group blogging circle. Readership of the group blog, by dint of aggregation, goes up. Those few who used to read blog ‘A’, now have to read group blog ‘ABC’ if they still want to savour the scribblings of former ‘A’ blogger. Ditto for the scant readers of bloggers ‘B’ and ‘C’.
Noticeable also is the coagulation of blogger types into group concerns. Remember the tired and worn ‘left-v-right’ ideological hobby horse? Well, it’s sway-backed and broken, but never the less, still alive in some sectors. Take, for instance, the three group sewing circles already mentioned. CT is decidely left-leaning, undoubtedly to the chagrin of it’s creator. Soon’s economic and legal commentariat is decidedly right-leaning, and seems angsty to boot, while the unfortunately named purple people’s patch, Larvatus Prodeo, is definitely leftish but seems to want to be more centrish. Seems old habits die hard.
Which brings me to the culmination of my ruminations on the subject of group blogging. Is it a worthwhile pursuit, to engage your talents, such as they might be, on behalf of a collective, if that collective ultimately winds up being something that you, personally, aren’t? I often wonder whether Parish feels out of place, surrounded by non-centrist types. Perhaps Soon feels restricted by the necessary niceties of group blogging. Does Bahnisch yearn to pull his group offerings back to the middle, or dare I say, even to a more common ground? I dare say that group blogging is akin to visiting a Turkish bath house. Leave your inhibitions at the door and never mind how you present to the world at large. If you’re not comfortable in the atmosphere, then don’t go in.
For mine, blogging is and always has been an individual pursuit to be pursued by individuals. End of story. I’ve always written whatever I write because I enjoy the exercise of writing. Sometimes it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but still, I get my thoughts out there. Like finally reaching that itch that needed scratching. I write for me. If anyone reads it, then I suppose that’s a bonus. I must admit, it’s nice when CT mentions that I’d written about the race cars, but that’s not why I write about them.
I don’t think the solo blogger is dying off. At least this one isn’t. Group blogs are clearly a fond attraction for those who choose to be a part of them, but from my perspective, sitting in a Turkish bath house letting it all hang out just because said bath house has a transparent wall isn’t my cup of chai. I’m much more the blogger who fronts the trough at the Regatta, to enjoy a private moment while still able to ogle the comings and goings on the other side of the one-way mirrored wall. It’s a Brisbane thing. You’d have to have been there to get my drift.

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