Bartlett's Blog

Andrew Bartlett has been active in politics for over 20 years, including as a Queensland Senator from 1997-2008. This blog started in 2004 and reflects his own views, independent of any political party or organisation.

The decline (or re-defining) of blogging?

This piece in the SMH details some of the reasons why the breadth of blogging has reduced in recent times. I basically agree with the reasons it outlines, not least because it goes to some of the same reasons I’ve expressed on this site previously. Ironically, I read the SMH piece because it was linked to in the first post on a new blog by Annabel Crabb, which quite reasonably asked if starting a blog now was ‘too late’. I suppose the short answer is it’s never too late to do that (or anything else) if it works for you.

Writing blog posts on blogs about blogging was already tiresome many years ago (even though I’m doing it again now and I first did it from pretty much my first post on this regularly re-transformed blog over 7 years ago). Given all that’s happened to me in my life since then, this blog – far less frequently visited and tended as it is – is in someways more valid to my reality now than some deeply held understandings/assumptions I had less than 12 months ago.

Anyway, I guess the fact this the first thing I’ve posted on this blog in over a month – by far the longest gap I’ve had in the 7+ years I’ve being writing things here – speaks for itself. Perhaps the main reason why I decided to explore blogging in the first place was because of the potential for direct feedback and conversation from others within the general public. Whilst I appreciate those who take the time to comment on the posts I still occasionally do on this blog (although some of those comments still seem to bare little relation to what I have written or the issues I’ve raised in those posts), Facebook (and to a lesser extent Twitter) tends to provide much richer, more instantaneous comment threads from a wider range of people in response to links or comments which take me 20 words and 30 seconds to write. And it’s the genuine conversation, explanation, reflection and insight which I’ve always felt was the most potentially valuable and interesting aspects of blogging.

Similarly, these days I rarely read, let alone comment on, most of the key blogs I used to regularly read even a year ago (which reminds me, I must update/delete my ‘blogroll’. A big reason why I used to read many of those blogs was because they provided very valuable links to many interesting stories and pieces of information. I expect most of them still do, but nowdays I can see most of such links much quicker through Twitter or Facebook, and often also see comment threads there which are also at least as good.

Despite all that, I don’t think we’re seeing the death of the blog by any means. I think it’s just another stage in the evolution. My blog started out trying to be some sort of diary and has gone through a number of iterations since then. Some of those changes have been due to how my life has changed and some of them have been due to alternative platforms that have subsequently appeared which have enabled different ways for me (and everyone else) to interact.

And I end this by recommending you read and follow (and comment at) Annabel Crabb’s blog – she is still amongst the most reasonable and rational of the many writers within the federal parliamentary press gallery.


15 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. ken

    Andrew your blog was more relevant for the reasons of providing broader opinion when it often dealt with issues raised in the parliament or particular pieces of legislation. While not a comprehensive vehicle for community engagement it did allow you to receive some feedback from some types with which you would otherwise have not spoken. Whether that ever influenced any of your decisions is largely an issue for you to reflect upon.

    Nonetheless, it was always interesting and enjoyable for me.

    The more recent phenomena of twitter and Facebook, by their very nature are more ephemeral and more viral even if a chattier personal medium, as opposed to the more considered blog with which you began.

    Although as you note the comments are often self indulgent these days, and highly repetitive, hence my little effort at fun in typing different anagrams of the bird and the crab, it is still a habit to log on each day to see what is doing.


  2. What has happened to b;logging is that those with a shorter attention span have moved to twitter and those with out a true commitment to write on a regular basis have tended to drop off, frankly I think that the future of blogging is in joint efforts where a few people write at the one site, thus ensuring a regular updating of the site and some diversity. With out that you just can’t get the readers.

    Blogging is one of those things is very easy to do but harder to do well and it takes awhile to find both your niche and your style and and the right voice.


    Oh no! I have only just started blogging and you are saying it is dying out? A lot of the people I know are not into twitter or facebook. I joined facebook a short time ago and I’m now trying to find my way out of there. Feel really turned off about the privacy issues. As well, it’s not a medium I enjoy greatly, whereas I do enjoy blogging.

  4. Ann

    Hi Andrew

    There is always a new generation to take over, but I agree, people have less time of there hands with so many distractions.

  5. TerjeP

    So what is the deep assumptions/understanding that has changed in the last 12 months?

  6. Lorikeet

    A lot of politicians have gone onto Facebook because it is more popular with young people.

    Over the years, I have enjoyed reading and contributing to Bartlett’s Blog. I have also learnt quite a lot about various issues, and am very thankful to Andrew for taking the time to share his knowledge on a broad range of topics.

    I find that talking with other people on blogs helps me to come up with solutions and gain a broader understanding of political issues on an interactive basis.

    Some Moderators on other blogs allow incredible amounts of abuse. I think about 90% is directed at me, mostly because I am winning the argument.

    If I had a dollar for every time I have been accused of being off-topic, I think I would be a very rich woman. I find that some people have a very narrow frame of reference.

    I also think the government encourages a very narrow mindset, so that the people don’t understand what is really going on until it is much too late to do anything about it.


    Lorikeet: “….I am winning the argument”

    Is winning an argument the point of blogging? One might enter into debate but does anyone win? Ultimately we are all entitled to our views. If you think you are winning all the time, maybe other people are reacting.

  8. Lorikeet

    No, Nifty Nut. A select group of playground bullies on another blog (poorly moderated) think I am winning the argument and then start attacking me, left, right and centre.

    To some people, blogging is only a game, which they use to mock and deride other people, since there is no threat to them physically.

    On the blog I am discussing, the Moderator waits until she receives numerous complaints, then deals with the problem by axing the entire commentary. How dumb is that?

  9. Thanks for the comments:

    Ken – it was of some use at times in informing my understanding of issues and/or sharpening my arguments. I found it especially useful during one of the stem cell debates. I would have liked to have it be more often useful in this area, but it never quite got into that groove. In some ways the more instant, shorter and (sometimes) less shouty feedback that one sometimes gets thru Twitter or Facebook can be more useful for that ‘crowdsourcing’ sort of activity.

    Although Iain is probably right than the shorter attention span (or time poor) folks have gone more towards micro-blogging, those other platforms are more suitable for the more personal ‘here’s what I’m doing now or did today’ type of thing, which was were a lot of blogging starter out (including the earlier days of this blog to some extent).

    But apart from the feeling if having said it all before that particularly comes when I write another piece on refugee issues (and even more so responding to the same misconceptions over and over again), there is also the fact that there are now a number of online sites that will publish longer think or opinion type pieces, which is what most of my blog posts would be about these days.

    But I wouldn’t worry too much Nifty N – I think there will be a place for blogging for quite a while yet. Different things suit different people, and various platforms are still evolving.

  10. Colin

    Ok being off topic. Can people really win an argument on a Blog? To me winning the argument means either proving your point so that it is now obivous or converting parties to a new way of seeing the issue.

    Sure some things we can proove 1+2=3. But other things we can only assert (society is much better with a 38 hour work week). Sometimes we will read or share an experience and be turned by that, this can be both very good and very dangerous (because it is hard to verify lies on the internet and/or 1 extreme experience can colour the norm).

    So all things considered. I personally think that blogs help arguments develop, but they do not promote understanding or agreement.

    Back on topic. I don’t think that Blogging is dead. It seems that the internet is having a rise in ADHD sites and I think that society will turn away from twitter and slallower mediums. Truth is Andrew, all we have seen is the death of CRAP blogs.

  11. red crab

    i have to agree with ken as usual he is spot on .
    as fare as i am concerned this is the only blog i comment on i have no face book and twitter is a waist of time i wouldn’t bother.
    i think colin is correct to its only the crap blobs that are folding .
    this blog has made my life a better place to be thanks to andrew for keeping it going .and the people who give me a different point of view. even the ones that give me a hard time nifty.
    i play poker twice a week because i like the people who play

    i read and comment here for the same reason .

    i will be here till the end get used to it .

    id like to wish you ALL a happy new year
    also health and happiness for 2012 .


  12. Lorikeet

    I think blogging does promote understanding and agreement. I have come to understand many things through reading blogs and then using lateral thinking skills to understand what various governments are really up to.

    According to television reports, plenty of people have come financially unstuck by revealing too much private information via Facebook and Twitter.

    My Canberran son closed down his Facebook account when he decided he had more important things to do than read a bunch of idle tweets.

  13. Lorikeet

    Happy New Year to everyone for 2012. I wonder if the planet will still be in one piece after 21 December 2012, when we ought to be thinking about delivering the same greetings again.

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