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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Does the blogozine mean that the blogosphere has joined the establishment?

The blogosphere is an entity with a micromillimetre of history and yet it is rapidly mutating. Such is the case with the announcement by the blog guru:Iain Dale, of his new vehicle “The Daley: Iain Dale and Friends” – a new online magazine fed by 60 “retired bloggers”. Shall we call it a blogozine?

The rationale being that a blog needs a portfolio of contributors to sustain it and to produce sufficient copy. The solitary blogger not having time or energy to do it alone.

This begs the question as to whether a group blog loses its identity, energy and rationale when the fingerprints of many are over it. The emergence of internet-driven blog author-publishers is a welcome 2011 manifestation of an earlier age of pamphleteers. Widespread printing confronted the monasteries and constitutional institutions of the time and the edgy blog carries that on.

Will the new corporate blogs be just a new manifestation of the quality press with its teams of columnists? It was significant that in the recent long-listing of blogs for the George Orwell Prize that of 22 chosen, 11 came from bloggers who worked within the shell of a broader blog entity, either a national media outlet or a corporate political grouping. Was mainstream journalism already taking over the preserve of amateur bloggers with its idiosyncratic views of the world and choice of subject?

The rationale of the blogosphere was to get under the skin of the great and good. The Daley and its ilk may become part of that establishment and gone native. If that is the case, then the scope for the individual blogger is once more opened up to be the grit of sand in the oyster.

The strength of the blogosphere lies in its anarchic content and often questionable prose but we return to the sites to see what happened next. I am not sure that the new blogozine will offer us anything that the 4th Estate is not offering us already.

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