It’s a sad day in the Aus blogosphere. Leading left-leaning group blog Larvatus Prodeo has folded its capacious tent and joined the ranks of ex-
parrots blogs. Supremo senior commissar Mark Bahnisch explains the public rationale:
We collectively feel seven years is enough.
I think LP played a significant role in stimulating political debate over the course of its life, and acted as something of a catalyst for a lot of good things in the spaces of new media and public discourse.
To large degree, though, the caravan has moved on.
There’s no longer the same need for a hub for political discussion, as lively debate has migrated to social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, and as the space for opinion and analysis around the shop has widened. The fact that the ‘blogosphere’ in Australia is no longer a term that makes much sense is an indicator of that change.
I don’t want to pick a fight in the circumstances, but the last paragraph doesn’t make a lot of sense. You can’t develop a meaningful political, social or economic analysis or opinion in 140 characters, and I can’t say I’ve noticed much of it on Facebook either (perhaps I’ve “friended” the wrong people , although to be honest I don’t use Facebook much at all so I really wouldn’t know).
As for “blogosphere” no longer being a meaningful concept, I don’t think it was ever a cohesive, identifiable entity or culture, although there was certainly a greater sense of community among the pioneers in the early days up to (say) 2005-6 or so. However I still keep up with Australian blog writing and I have no doubt that the depth and breadth of quality material is better than ever.
Anyway, I don’t want this to become a small-minded snipe on a sad occasion. I hope all the LP crew turn up again somewhere in the blogosphere, because each one of them wrote material from time to time that was thoughtful, different and well worth reading.
Warning – The first commenter who uses the expression “hive mind” will be banished to the naughty corner.
Update 2 – Maybe Liam and Anna are right that Twitter and FB respectively are where “all the absurd has gone out of the grand old poliblogs” and where the “socialising/flirting/drunk weekend conversations” have gone. Legal tweeters have regular social meet-ups at least in Melbourne and Sydney, and I gather the same is true of other focus areas. Bloggers used to have such functions too but they ceased long ago as far as I know.
Maybe we could revive at least some of the on-blog silliness by deliberately fostering clearly designated silly, snarky and stoushing posts. I’m not sure I have time to write them except if I have a particular bee in my bonnet, which doesn’t happen very often these days. I’ve fulminated multiple times over the years on just about every topic in which I’m even marginally interested. But what about others? Fyodor, Nabakov etc. Rex R still occasionally raises the silly banner on high but he needs help (in more ways than one). Calling for volunteers.
Come to think of it, I was looking through the Troppo author lists just now and noted that Sophie Masson is still listed (though without an email contact). If only Sophie could be tempted into a comeback. She had a God-given talent for provoking extreme silliness and snark all in the same comment thread. In fact it was a huge stoush about Sophie that indirectly contributed to Larvatus Prodeo getting started in the first place. This one about anarchism post-dates LP’s genesis but is a vintage example of Sophie’s talents. Ah, those were the days …