A decade ago we were in the middle of the “Wild West” period of blogging. Lay people could and did write serious, insightful, and interesting content alongside professors, think tank employees, and other experts. There was a lot of noise, but reblogging and links helped create a network of good blogs you could visit without ever having to trudge through the low-quality stuff. We at Catallarchy, which eventually broadened into the Distributed Republic, were enjoying every minute of it. Eventually people moved on to new jobs and new levels of education, had kids, ran out of steam, and all those other kinds of ordinary things, and today’s blogosphere is mainly done by people who get paid to think and write. I’m not complaining; it was probably inevitable. But the early period was a lot of fun while it lasted.
I mention this because today is the 10th anniversary of the first of Catallarchy’s May Day: A Day of Remembrance series. The idea was to point out the failures and atrocities of communist regimes (on the day they had co-opted from the early, far less centrally-controlled workers’ movement) to make sure the romantic notions of days gone by were properly tempered by reality.
It was a huge success, and we continued it for several years until we, too, shuttered the blog and moved on to other stages in life. It was so much of a success, in fact, that we no longer get the credit for starting it. I’m not complaining about that either. (Obviously, some credit would be nice, especially for Jonathan Wilde who first brought the concept up to the rest of us at Catallarchy and to others in the blogosphere, but it’s more important to get the ideas out.) But it does make me reminisce back to the Wild West blogging era, when a bunch of ordinary people could throw ideas out there and have them resonate.