From about December 22 to January 3 we have Christmas and Boxing Day and then New Years which, when you add them all up mean that there are two weeks where not a lot gets done in business. It is a good time to clear off old hard drives, walk the dog and the kids, read and count blessings.
Coming back to blogging after a year’s hiatus has been fun and quite interesting. How I use the internet has changed a lot and, I suspect, my usage is pretty common. A few years ago there was a lively blogging community in Canada and there was a fair bit of cross the aisle chatter. That has pretty much ended. People have moved on. Twitter is perfect for snark, Facebook seems to have captured the imagination of people with time on their hands, the Left’s readiness to go to law for the most trivial reasons, the overall reluctance of people to allow people they disagree with to comment on their blogs have all had the effect of shrinking audience.
Combine that with the sheer bulk of information coming at us and even the most dedicated web user is reluctant to travel too far afield. People develop favorite sites and they go there day after day. I know I do.
The internet itself has shifted in the sense that the sheer mass of information is mediated by assorted aggregators, feeds, spinners and a few commentators. Really fast connections mean that it is painless to move on to “the next thing”. And one of the obvious effects of this is that the walls of the various bubbles are becoming thicker.
And there are vast bubbles which exist out on the net but which almost never impinge on any sort of mainstream discourse. The 9/11 truthers and the really out there economic doomsters (and, no, I am not talking about zerohedge.com which appears moderate by comparison to people who have big traffic but are too crazy to link) have all found each other. Hell, there is even a bubble for the Liberal Party of Canada…though not so very vast.
Fragmentation and the gathering of like with like was a predictable outcome of better search and the link rolling common in groups. But it has not particularly improved the conversation.
What I am going to be interested in seeing is if, after the radical splintering of the web there is any re-integration. Or even initial moves towards such re-integration. I am not optimistic.