Trevor Cook is writing a fascinating conference paper titled Can blogging retain its revolutionary fervour? Trevor’s thesis is ‘that as the blogosphere matures it will increasingly come to resemble ‘traditional’ media.‘
Its an idea I’ve wondered about myself over the past few months. Some of Trevor’s observations are spot on the money as far as I can see – he could well be onto something.
His analysis reminds me a little of a workshop I once participated in on institutionalization of movements. The speaker had done extensive research into significant movements throughout history which started as very organic, grassroots, unorganized and fluid networks of people who almost always would slowly move towards institutionalization despite the best efforts of their participants to stop the process. His theory was that institutionalization is always inevitable. You can slow it down but not stop it (not without killing it). You can see spin off movements that might lengthen the life of the organic nature of what’s going on, but they too institutionalize.
I’m totally generalizing and summarizing what was a complicated and interesting session into a paragraph here (its Sunday night and I’ve had a hard day of eating good food, drinking wonderful wine and sitting in the sun – not thinking too clearly) – but I wonder if what Trevor is describing with the inevitable movement of blogging to becoming like ‘old media’ is something like the inevitable shift from a movement to institution.