As regular readers know, Larry Ribstein is one of my favorite blawggers. His Ideoblog has been one of my daily reads ever since it first opened six years ago. Sadly, however, Larry is closing Ideoblog and moving to the group blog Truth on the Market. He explains:
First, I’m joining a great bunch of writers, some of whom I’ve known for a long time. TOTM offers what I could not – a full-service blog with the complete range of business-related topics, all written with an appreciation of how markets operate.
Second, this group site provides a good opportunity to do some things I didn’t really have the resources for operating all alone, particularly including symposia on hot topics.
Third, I am hoping to reach a broader audience. I’m happy with the exposure I’ve gotten on Ideoblog but alas, there are still too many wrong-thinking people in the world! I’d like to get my ideas out before the regulators have crushed what’s left of capitalism. With object in view, I will also be writing weekly on Forbes.com, cross-posted at TOTM. More on that later.
I can certainly understand Larry's rationale. Nonetheless, I'm saddened. You see, I like sole authored blogs a lot better than group blogs. They tend to be more coherent. They have a real voice rather than a cacophony of noises. I feel a greater degree of personal connection to a sole-authored blog than to a group. The quality of group blogs tends to be uneven. And so on.
Group blogs seem to be the future, at least in legal scholarship. Indeed, most of the blawgs I read regularly are group blogs. I suspect this trend is a reaction to Clay Shirky's power laws analysis of blogging:
A persistent theme among people writing about the social aspects of weblogging is to note (and usually lament) the rise of an A-list, a small set of webloggers who account for a majority of the traffic in the weblog world. This complaint follows a common pattern we've seen with MUDs, BBSes, and online communities like Echo and the WELL. A new social system starts, and seems delightfully free of the elitism and cliquishness of the existing systems. Then, as the new system grows, problems of scale set in. Not everyone can participate in every conversation. Not everyone gets to be heard. Some core group seems more connected than the rest of us, and so on. ...In systems where many people are free to choose between many options, a small subset of the whole will get a disproportionate amount of traffic (or attention, or income), even if no members of the system actively work towards such an outcome. This has nothing to do with moral weakness, selling out, or any other psychological explanation. The very act of choosing, spread widely enough and freely enough, creates a power law distribution.
For those of us not lucky enough to be A list bloggers, joining a group blog is probably the best way of maximizing exposure. Empirical research finds that:
... multi-author blogs, although relatively infrequent, have a significant impact on the blogosphere, being more likely in our data to be ranked higher than 1-2 author blogs according to popularity scores. They also tend to have longer average post lengths in our data, which can be an indicator of quality.
So what am I doing out here on my own as a B (or C) lister? Sheer cussedness, I guess.