The golden age of blogging

Jonathan Starling, of the now defunct Catch a Fire blog was lamenting on facebook having shut down his blog due to potential conflicts of interest in his role as Executive Director of Greenrock.

I do miss writing on my blog, Catch-A-Fire. I miss writing about current events, and such, and I think the blog, and the others out there played a key role in spurring political debate and awareness.

The ‘golden age’ of Bermuda blogging is long since over though. When I ceased blogging last October I was one of the only ones still operating.

The golden age of blogging existed before commenting was democratized and made accessible. Many blogs existed at a time when comments weren’t possible on the newpapers. This blog was seen as one of the core group who wrote opinions more like editorials and generated a good amount of reasonable discussion as a result.

As commenting has risen on sites like Bernews, The Royal Gazette and facebook, the discourse became more like that on BIAW. A stream of vitriol often dominated by the same voices driven by ignorance, bias or a political agenda. The core blogs (real blogs: web logs, not comment forums) used to do their best to police comments to avoid them descending into anarchy. This simply doesn’t happen on comment forums. Every time I bother posting on the Royal Gazette I encounter zealots relentlessly pushing an agenda. Worse, it seems like I keep getting moderated after a while and the zealots are free to keep spewing their vitriol. It grows tiresome.

In my own opinion, blogging jumped the shark around the timeĀ I sat down in a meeting with the various media bodies regarding a media council. I was the only blogger who turned up to represent us and had to defend against a group who believed that bloggers should be responsible for helping fund the council. It was a bit much and a sign that things had just gotten too ridiculous. First off, to be held liable for someone’s comment on your blog put a damper on things, then being expected to pay for the privilege of being able to voice your opinion. Well…

Personally I drift in and out of regularly blogging simply because I’ve resigned to only writing for myself. I do it for writing practice and personal interest only. If I feel like writing, I do, if I don’t, I don’t. I don’t have a particular point and have drifted more in terms of topics. I’d rather be more Bermuda focused and less Bermuda politics focused than I used to be.

Part of the impetus to shift away from purely politics is that writing about Bermuda politics has very little impact. Things don’t really change. We have the same two camps of extremists we’ve had for years and moderates in between. Politics is best reserved for the ignorant, the opportunists, the idealists and the independently wealthy. Seeing as I view myself as none of these, much of my own focus has been dedicated on building a company vs blogging. I’m growing in the belief that one can make more of a difference in private enterprise than politics.

Will we see a return to a new golden age of blogging? Maybe, though I doubt it until we have a decent forum that can generate reasonable discussion rather than vitriol.