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The Institutionalization of Blogging

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.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Nicole Simon says:

    Is it really only the ‘old media way’? For me, if you speak about ‘getting out of grassrooting, into more institionalzed (you can’t be not thinking clearly if you still get that word out), this means more standard ways to access it, easier distribution.

    Think automobile industry. Sure, we are out of the aera where you have to start engines by hand and now nearly everybody has one car (at least in the western world), so this is not ‘grassroot’ anymore. But it had evolved. And in another way than let’s say trains.