A few weeks ago I noticed the “blog count” at WordPress jumped past a million. It seemed a quiet observance; maybe they’re gunning for ten million or a hundred. So what are we up to in the world now? A few hundred million? I remember reading somewhere that the internet is filled with tens of millions of abandoned blogs. Would you believe my retired (but still posted) blogspot site still gets over 200 visits a week? Change is hard.
One of my regular criticisms of the Catholic blogosphere is not the bloggers so much as the commentariats the larger ones foster: dozens to hundreds of individuals who hang on the writer’s words, pile on in criticism at the least dissent, march in lockstep to the philosophy of the master. (And I don’t mean Jesus or the Church when I write “master.”)
Change comes with difficulty, especially when one can find such a massive quantity of like-thinkers. In an ordinary parish, it’s hard to find people who make us philosophically comfortable. We might not talk to the people who share our pew, much less “connect” with that person who sits on the other side of the church at another Mass who might think very much like we do.
But in the blogosphere, you can feel the power. Most blogrolls identify members of the same species. Even more clear-minded “righty” folks like Bernard, when they do list bloggers of a different phylum, might add a disclaimer of sorts, like the “loyal opposition.” I don’t know that I’m bothered so much by it as amused. I’ll admit that when the darling of Latin and an early internet mogul, Father Z, linked me on his blog, I thought twice about linking in turn. His disclaimer is that I’m one of the “some blogs I keep track of,” which I also found amusing.
Like there’s an actual conservative blog authority that judges one’s soul based on the supposed orthodoxy of one’s links. Clearly, these bloggers are well familiar with the mob tendency to shoot the messenger. For those bloggers who flirt with such disaster, I applaud your courage.
Here at WordPress, the template for setting up a blogroll is a bit more involved than at blogspot. So I just keep one, and the software sorts it alphabetically. You’re either in or out.
This has grown into more of a preface than I had intended, and there is a busy Saturday ahead. Let me tell you I wanted to post on the changes I’ve seen in the blogosphere in the past several years: people blogging together, people giving up blogging, people dying, and people changing spots (though I’ve yet so see anything as radical as a conservative converting to being a liberal or vice versa–but give it time).
More later …