First, there is certain alienation of individual bloggers accompanied by consolidation of various “party groups” and increased numbers of their commenters. Few years ago it was generally welcomed to use someone else’s blogroll as a walk into his inner circle, to put yourself into his shoes (or reading glasses) not only to understand that person better, through his preferences, but as a means of widening your own perspectives without immediate commitment. Now this activity is tolerated, at best, and sometimes pointed out as impertinence or even considered suspicious. And when I go reading the “secondary” blogrolls (listed on the margins of the blogs on my own roll) I see changes, too: general-interest bloggers who in the past attracted lively discussions under almost every post, are now gathering, maybe, 1 or 3 responses in a month. It’s not that their observations and interests became boring, it’s that life became more difficult for everyone, and there is not much point in endless chatting on topics one might live without. The general mood changed, too: we all are more pessimistic, gloomily focused on immediate tasks … teeth are clenched in perseverance while we put on a cheerful mask of camouflage de jour.
I’m willing to entertain the possibility that my own observations and interests became boring, but that implies a time when they weren’t.
I do see some of this activity, and some of the inactivity as well, though I’m not so sure it’s a result of some sort of cultural malaise. Certainly a lot of us don’t have as much time to devote to this sort of thing as we used to: I don’t, though I don’t seem to be turning out significantly less product. Yet. Shifting alliances and such, however, are a reality in blogdom. And if I’m part of anyone’s “inner circle,” I apologize for throwing off the center of gravity.