what's become of the blogosphere?
Oh the fickle, fickle Web. Oh the Ridalin-smoking, post-MTV, fast-edit generation. What have you done to our new media revolution? Don't you realise that in your absence, the new media mega corps are stepping in to perpetuate the old media models, to establish Old Boy hierarchies and to open and close the gates of information at their whims and inclinations?
Huffington, Gawker, Digg: these are the establishment figures for the next generation - the Hearsts and the Murdochs of the blogosphere. They may have started out pushing the boundaries, but now they've cemented their foundations as bridges between the people who understand the power of this new medium and those who desperately want to.
And what of the rare and the obscure ephemera that captured the imaginations of the Great Blogger Rush of 2004, when the world and its grandma got a blog because it seemed like the thing to do, and there might be a book deal at the end of it? Has the world really lost interest in, oh, I don't know - Smell-o-Vision, or has the person behind http://digiscents.com/blog/ simply realised that typing into a vacuum isn't much fun?
Of course, out of the vast sea of digital nonsense, hierarchy was inevitable. In the lean communication Internet platform, we seek out sources of information that we can trust. To establish a new resource's credibility, we must rely on heuristics of similarity and familiarity. We have to thank Arianna Huffington, Nick Denton, Kevin Rose and their media revolutionary contemporaries for standing firm at the precipice of the chasm between them and the offline big brands, otherwise we'd simply be reading the same content from the same sources. These new rebel aggregators provided a point of focus for blog consumers to gather around, highlighting quality and popular content that was an alternative to the content that Old Media thought was worthy. They've done it faster and more transparently and are more accountable to their readers.
But the result is that the great levelling ground has morphed into a giant virtual pyramid. Yesterday's revolutionary has become the today's institution. Where will the next upstarts come from?