I actually posted on this very phenomenon several weeks back. The blogosphere is becoming very consolidated, and it's increasingly rare for a new blog to come out of nowhere and join the national discussion.
1. Political bloggers like to use the word "blog" to mean "political blog". In the rest of the world, it can be, and is, on any subject imaginable, and there's no shortage of new ideas.
2. Most if not all of the "upstarts" who were going on and on and ON about new paradigms and shaking up the established order and new ways of communicating and giving voice to the people etc. were not, in fact, interested in doing any of these things. They were interested in joining the elite that they were railing in, not tearing it down.
3. In ten years time, the stars of the political blogosphere, left and right, will be right up there dancing with President Bush's successor at the White House Correspondents Dinner, looking even more ridiculous than David Gregory did when he rapped with Karl Rove.
4. You heard a lot about the voice of the people, but what you really had was a handful of talented journalists looking for an outlet. Even on the good political blogs, the commentating is of a uniformly abysmal standard. What the people have to say just isn't that interesting to anyone but themselves. You can create a community of people who enjoy hearing each other talk, but it has no importance whatsoever in the outside world. Notice that some very influential blogs, like Sullivan, feature no comments at all, and a writer established outside the web.
4. This is all very predictable. There are only so many people eager to type furiously about the issues of the day, and during the period of discovery, when they were finding their outlets, it was very exciting. Now, they've all got their niches, and stasis sets in.
5. This is just another wave in internet maturation, following Usenet, email discussion lists, and the first wave of the Web.
6. It's really no different than anything else; it's a medium. It can help fundraise. It generates a huge amount of heat, not much light. It's not a revolution.
7. In the future, politics will be driven by the comments on YouTube.
I'm not terribly surprised. I read a few different progressive blogs, and for the most part, they repost the same stories on every one. They each have maybe one unique story per day, and Crooks and Liars does a good job reposting video clips, but I can't see many more sites being supported.
Every new organizational entity, no matter how noble, eventually turns into a caste-style hierarchy.
In order to combat spam, we are no longer accepting comments on this post (or any post more than 45 days old).