Sunday, April 30, 2017
The Slow Death of the Canadian Political Blogosphere
I must admit that when I flew to Scotland a few weeks ago to attend a friend's wedding, I had no idea that it would lead to my longest break from blogging in almost twelve years.
But then who knew that after a few wild days in Edinburgh, I would find myself in the rugged Orkney islands, listening to old tales about Vikings, giants, and evil dwarfs, rather than reading about the latest exploits of the insane monster Donald Trump.
Or that while racing back to Edinburgh my motorcycle would hit a patch of black ice and I would have to spend two days in hospital, and almost a week recovering at my family's home in the highlands.
Too battered to blog, and unaware that one of the aggregators that has published this blog for years had just died.
For sadly Canadian Progressive Voices had passed away quietly almost five years to the day it was born.
A number of good blogs appear to have gone down with it. And if you consider that the once mighty Blogging Tories are now little more than the walking dead.
It's pretty clear that the Canadian political blogosphere is heading for oblivion.
As this article makes clear, there are many reasons why blogging has declined since its golden age.
Blogging seemed to happen in a tumble in Canada. One day there were newspapers and they were everything. The next, there were blogs. It was a remarkable time to be a young writer, and a reader too. The bounds of what seemed possible were so suddenly loose. In an instant, it seemed, the web was flooded with petty fights, partisan dives and quite a bit of smart commentary too.
Facebook changed the game. Many old bloggers have moved to Twitter or other social media platforms.
No one thing killed blogging in Canada. Twitter played a role. Much of the old blogosphere energy now gets expended on Tweets. The structure of the Internet changed, too. Between maybe 2003 and 2009, when blogging was huge, the Internet was more about websites. Today it’s all about platforms like Facebook and YouTube.
Others simply succumbed to exhaustion.
The Japanese even have a word for all those dead or abandoned blogs, ishikoro, or pebbles.
They litter the landscape like these old stones in the Orkney Islands...
And like them most offer no clues about why they were abandoned.
But the good news is that Progressive Bloggers is still very much alive, still attracting some new bloggers. Even though it's not hard to see what could eventually lead to its demise.
For where once it helped rally and unite progressives to overthrow the Harper regime, now mainly thanks to a cabal of old bloggers the aggregator often spends more time attacking progressives, Justin Trudeau in particular, than it does attacking the Cons.
It's sad, it's pathetic. I thought Warren Kinsella described the Twitter version of those people well in this post the other day.
Humourless, pious people who are online hall monitors, perpetually tsk-tsking everyone else, and acting like God made them the arbiter of all that is morally/ethically/politically correct.
And in a different world we could simply laugh at them.
But in the absence of a better leader than Trudeau, all they are doing is helping the Cons. We all saw how the alt-leftists in the United States helped elect Donald Trump.
Now some in France seemed determined to repeat that mistake.
And all I can say is that a left that cannot find common cause in the fight against the growing fascist menace is doomed to be destroyed. A progressive aggregator that spends more time attacking progressives than it does attacking Cons will not attract young bloggers.
And without them no aggregator will long survive, so all those old geezers are really doing is cutting their own throats, and ruining it for everybody.
As for me, I must admit that I have been tempted to give up blogging, and focus more on Twitter, so I can spend more time working on a novel, and my different video projects.
But I believe that a Canadian blogosphere is something worth fighting for, I'm not ready to abandon all the readers and friends I have made over the years.
So I think I'll stick around, at least for a while longer.
I'm sorry for disappearing for so long without a word of explanation. But now you know what happened.
It's a wild world out there, I'm sometimes a little wild myself, and I definitely should stay away from motorcycles.
But hope really is everything, the Cons of this world must be defeated.
So let's continue this journey together...