Usually, I don’t blog on the weekends, but I thought I’d ask these few questions today before Jeremy Cushman provides us with his weekly, weekend posts.
– Does it seem to others that biblioblogs are dying?
– If so, why?
– What will replace them, if anything?
(You can either comment or vote using the poll at the bottom of this post.)
I ask because if it weren’t for my cobloggers I may have archived this blog by now. Instead, I’m working with them to ask what’s next for this blog in its evolution. Prior to our URL debacle a few weeks ago we were experiencing a small decline in traffic and a more apparent decline in interactions. I don’t have access to the statistics of other bibliobloggers, but by their comments sections when I visit it seems to me that this blog is not alone.
I think there are several reasons for this. First, more experts have begun to blog, so the Average Joe seems disinteresting now. Second, people may be tired of the snippets of biblical studies and theology that come from blogs aiming to return to books and older media (or, the opposite is true: our attention spans aren’t even long enough for blogs now). Third, some blogs are specialty blogs that leave no reason to surf around several blogs to find something interesting, e.g., Biblical Studies Online is a one-stop-shop for much of what the Internet has to offer as regards videos of biblical studies related lectures. Fourth, as Rodney Thomas pointed out to me, many biblioblogs weren’t about biblical studies most of the time, they were about politics, social mores, and other tabloid-like news. Fifth, people have wearied of the type of interaction offered by commenting on a blog (personally, I’d rather discuss a contentious topic with someone over a cup of coffee in person than in the anonymous, stealthy underworld of most blog comments sections). Sixth, another point made by Rodney, blogs have become acceptable, institutionalized, AAR/SBL friendly, which has eliminated their role as alternative, anti-institution, gatekeeper free entities. Seventh, I’ve seen people being drawn to more contained discussions. Maybe someone is into The Gospel Coalition, or Missio Alliance, or a Calvinist, Wesleyan, or Anabaptist confederacy of blogs. These blogs are hosting the discussions that interest particular communities and tie them together, so why visit a blog that one day is going to talk about the syntax of Romans 1:1-4 and the next day whether or not Christian Fundamentalist in the United States are hermeneutically irresponsible in their interpretation of the Apocalypse. Too many topics from which the Internet voyager must chose! (Similarly, I’ve seen Facebook groups where shared themes results in hundreds of comments back and forth. Few blogs have this sort of interaction.)
I know for some this is pointless, but for others of us biblioblogs were our first microphone to join a broader discussion, our first means of interacting with scholars to whom we didn’t have direct access, and a place to share what we’ve learned or to read what others have learned. Is this changing? It seems to me that it is.