Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 22:21 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 22:21 | SYDNEY

Our lost blogging opportunity


Sam Roggeveen


4 May 2012 14:00

Blogger Dragonista has a slightly dyspeptic reply to my recent op-ed about blogs and Twitter. I argued that, although Australia has blogs, it doesn't really have a blogosphere. Twitter, I said, has captured the imagination of the Australian political class in a way blogging never has, and the conversational energy that, in America, is centered on blogs is here invested in Twitter. On the whole, I think that's a loss, because Twitter is 'more feverish and less reflective'.

I still think that argument stacks up, though Dragonista does make a valid point about the way blogs and Twitter can interact. In fact, I see evidence of that every day on The Interpreter, with a good percentage of our audience finding us through the very successful Lowy Institute Twitter feed. I regret not saying something about that in the op-ed.

One thing we'll never know is how much of that audience would have been captured through a more active political blogosphere, if we had one. Links to Interpreter posts are regularly retweeted by journalists, diplomats, academics and others interested in international politics. But if those people were blogging instead, wouldn't the overall effect be about the same?

Dragonista thinks we do have a 'strong network of political bloggers in Australia', and as evidence offers a comprehensive list of Australian political blogs compiled late last year. Needless to say, a list is not a network, and my observation of just a few of these sites is that there is very little conversation between them. John Quiggin and the folks behind Larvatus Prodeo seem to agree that much of the energy has moved to Twitter and Facebook.

Also, note that when I referred in the op-ed to Australia's 'political class', I meant our elites: politicians, journalists, commentators, academics, think tankers etc. Maybe there's a thriving Ozblogosphere out there with citizens discussing local government, public transport, health care, broadband and the rest. I hope so. But the elites have not picked it up in Australia, and yeah, I think that's a loss.

One last thing: much of Dragonista's reply is based on the premise that I just don't know Twitter because I only joined recently and rarely use my account. That last part is true, but I've been tweeting on the Lowy Institute's account for a few years now.

Photo by Flickr user inju.