Iain Dale has been the Queen Mum of blogging: despite being occasionally acid, even his political foes like him personally and his blog has been innovative and interesting. Although it has been clear that he was losing interest in the blog- far fewer articles in recent weeks- it is still a slight shock to see the end of one of the most popular British political blogs.
Yet in many ways blogs are becoming quite old hat, and the days of a one man political blog, like this one, may be coming to an end. Writing this blog takes time, and it can be a struggle find inspiration and to avoid being repetitious. Yet all the time blog readers are demanding more content, not just more articles but now increasingly video and audio podcast content. I have not had time to learn the skills that would move this blog from being a series of articles into that more developed blogging scene.
I have been content to treat this blog as a bit like a newspaper column, but it seems that the demand is now that blogs become more like a newspaper- and considering the effort and time that this requires, I think that this can not be done on the free economic model that it has run on up until now. The advent of the paywall is providing a new model for the mass news media to use the technology, and to compete in a way they have not done until now. I suspect that after the qualified success of The Times paywall, most of the print media will move to that model over the course of the next year- more and better content, but you pay for it. Meanwhile the number of blogs peaked early last year and has been declining since, and the number of readers may now also be declining- although the readership of this one continues to grow.
So what next for this blog? well, I shall keep it up for a bit, though I expect by the end of 2011, I will either have stopped writing altogether or will have merged this blog with another or will simply write a column on a much bigger blog, like Lib Dem Voice- provided that I have a certain freedom to cover a broad range of topics, in the same way that a newspaper columnist does.
In the interim, I shall continue to bang the drum for the things that I believe in: Hayekian Liberalism, in fact most kinds of Liberalism, the need to oppose tyrannical states, especially the Mafia State in Moscow, the political problems of the UK and occasional general whimsical musings.
I will try to remain reasonably civilised, and will try to avoid the invective that many blogs have used.
Since readership has been growing, and I hope to reach a few readership milestones in the next couple of months it seems fair to continue for a while- after that, we will see.