This post was written in July, but it's still quite relevant. Laura McKenna has been blogging for six years and reflects on what changes she's seen in the medium during that time. In various updates to the post, many big-name bloggers leave their thoughts on the subject.
McKenna notes the decline of linking and blogrolling. I think that this is because of the staggering size of blogosphere. It's no longer a community in any sense, and only very specific niches can maintain a sense of community, where people know each other beyond blog name in the header.
four years ago, when I taught classes on blogging, I said "Blogging is a communitarian activity. Don't just write stuff and expect people to link to you unless you link to them. Don't expect people to read you unless you read them. Don't expect people to blogroll you unless you blogroll them."
To an extent, this is true. And it's especially true for new bloggers who have yet to develop an audience. But eventually, the monkeysphere grows too large and interesting content matters more than relationships.
I state this with some hesitation, however, because the blogosphere is so large that it's impossible to get a grasp of it from the tiny inkling of what I can encounter (example: until I found this post, I had never heard of Laura McKenna, even though several big-name bloggers refer to her as an important voice).
Which is why I make this further hypothesis with even more hesitation: blogging has become more of a commercial enterprise. Not everyone can blog effectively, even fairly talented print freelance writers. When newspapers and magazines began giving their print journalists blogs, they couldn't compete with independent bloggers because the print journalists weren't able to write effectively in the new medium. When they began hiring people who could blog to blog -- and began making money off the effort through ad revenues -- established media companies began to thrive in the medium.
Which is why, I suspect, there has been a decline in hat tipping. At least, that is my assessment from a very limited perspective. In a more niche communitarian model (such as the Methoblogosphere), not hat tipping will hurt a blogger's reputation. In a commercial model, hat tipping hurts your bottom line by suggesting that readers visit your competitors.
But, as I've said in caveats, it's hard to know with any certainty because the medium has become ubiquitous. The plural of anecdote is not data, and there's a need for comprehensive quantitative research to make any solid assertions about blogospheric evolution.
In your time reading blogs or actively blogging, what changes have you noticed?
HT: Grow A Brain