Saturday, September 03, 2011

What Explains the Decline of the Blog Carnival?

My headline is a question for which I have no definitive answer.  Perhaps readers may be able to contribute their own hypotheses.

For those unfamiliar with the concept, a blog carnival is ... well, here is a definition from Dean Abbot, as quoted by the host of the Carnival of the Mundane on May 21, 2006:

A blog carnival is a post published by a single blogger (whoever is hosting that edition) and consists of a collection of links to other posts that have been emailed to the host. The host then tries to present the links to those posts in single post of his or her own with a little context, maybe even some clever commentary.
There used to be a lot of very active blog carnivals but they seem to have disappeared by attrition.

Blogging For DummiesIn the past, I have hosted the Carnival of Liberty (now defunct) and twice, at my book review blog, the Book Review Blog Carnival (still active). My posts have been featured on now-departed blog carnivals such as the Virginia Blog Carnival, the BoBo Carnival of Politics, the Carnival of Divided Government, and quite a few others.

What prompted my question was a visit to the Blog Carnival Index, which claims to have listed 14,354 individual blog carnivals. Yet, of these, only 156 are active in the sense that they have upcoming editions listed.  That's barely one percent of the total number of blog carnivals that have been created.  Even so, some of those "next editions" are as distant as 2017, 2018, and 2019. (The bulk of them, however -- about 125 or so -- say their next editions will be published within the next few months.)

The loss of so many blog carnivals is unfortunate.  They were major factors in the conversational nature of blogging, adding to the give-and-take and sense of community that I remember from my own early days of blogging.  Blog carnivals offered bloggers an opportunity to discover like-minded writers and people with similar interests.

I should confess that, earlier this year, I made a failed attempt at starting a blog carnival.  After announcing the launch of the "Carnival of Live Theatre" last December, with a debut date of January 2, I first postponed the first edition and then scuttled it completely after I received no submissions that met the guidelines I had posted on the Blog Carnival Index.  (I did receive some spam submissions.)  Rather than further postponements, I simply let the idea die.

I'm glad the Book Review Blog Carnival -- now in its 75th biweekly edition -- is still vibrant.  I'm sad so many of the others that I've participated in have gone moribund.

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Jan Paynter said...

Bob Gibson, Executive Director of the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership, says: "It’s everyone’s obligation to follow the news as best they can, as they understand it, as they want to become involved in their communities. What we need are people who are going to find outlets that they trust and participate in their community’s affairs. The more people who are turned off by politics and turned off by the news of politics, it just leaves politics in the hands of fewer and fewer special interests. The more people who become involved and stay informed, the better off we are." (Bob appeared on the locally-produced interview program Politics Matters with host Jan Paynter discussing journalism

This would seem to support the development of Blog Carnivals. Is the lack of success a reflection of the lack of individual participation, or are Blog Carnivals themselves flawed?

The BoBo said...

Howdy! I know I'm almost a year late posting a response to this - but - I've been gone for a year! :) I love blog carnivals and I really appreciated your submissions. I'm back to blogging again and will look to start another one up again in short while.

I just got back on yesterday and your backlink is on the top of the list! LOL.