My favorite bits...
"Everyone was going to have a home page. I wish that had worked out."
"We expect conversation. We are more comfortable with informal, personal writing. We get more pissed off when people write in corporate or safely political voices. We want everyone to be human and to be willing to talk with us in public."
I loved the article but... I don't know how to put it delicately, did it feel like an obituary for the web we once knew? It made me feel a little sad and dusty.
Nostalgia is a bittersweet, double-edged sword that way.
Everyone does have a web page... on AOL. Sorry I meant Facebook.
A community of thousands has its character permanently changed when it becomes a community of millions. People are often attracted by the aspirational (I want to be part of this), but don't end up as interested in the original concept of the community as they thought. (An example: we all like the idea of "Mom & Pop" stores, but our buying habits don't match our aspirations.) The community changes to accommodate the new majority. The original members may all still be there, but the dynamic of being thousands lost among millions changes everything.
Still the OP is right. Many of the original concepts around the blogging community have migrated outside the community. But certainly not the somewhat more egalitarian nature of the original blogging community.
On the other hand, the same change occurs even on a micro scale. Many small communities fold once they grow large enough to attract their first truly malevolent (or simply emotionally disturbed) member and have to take action to protect themselves. What works for hundreds doesn't work for thousands.
Such is growth.
Couldn't disagree more, both in terms of the original blogging community being egalitarian in any significant way--in fact, it could be terribly cliquish--and that something like Tumblr isn't egalitarian in nature.
The Tumblr user community may be egalitarian, but there is a very strong division between users and operators. That was, or at least could be, very different for blogs.
I'll certainly agree that the original blogging community could be cliquish, but the possibility of back-and-forth between creator and consumer existed when a blogger had hundreds or thousands of readers. When you have hundreds of thousands of readers - not so much.
As for Tumblr, I'd agree to its reasonably egalitarian nature, but I'd argue that for most people it doesn't represent "blogging" as a whole. As I said, it's not that egalitarian sub-communities don't exist, it's simply that their a near-insignificant subgroup of the whole.
Thinking about it, however, Facebook has provided a robust replacement for the "what I ate for breakfast today" type of blogs in a fashion that is probably superior to the original blogging platform.
My interests tended to be science and current affairs, for which there is now no shortage of good, popular content, but due to the massive success of the "winners", little opportunity for interaction while the rest are constantly fighting to attract enough readers to have a community at all.
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