'Europeans can't blog', reads the headline from a newly created blog by the Brussel-based think tank Bruegel. One phrase in particular stuck out at me from this lament about the poor state of European blogging: 'Europe has bloggers, but no blogosphere'.
It seems to me this might be true of Australia also, at least in the political sphere in which this site operates. The distinction between blogs and the blogosphere is that, on its own, a blog is a platform to push out ideas, information and links to other sources. That's a powerful thing in and of itself, but it's when many blogs form a blogosphere that you get, in Bruegel's words, 'a living ecosystem to exchange and debate'.
We have some outstanding political blogs in this country, but from my observation, the 'ecosystem' is a bit barren.
Presumably this is partly a question of scale. It requires a great deal of content to generate the kind of debate I'm thinking of, and we can't sustain the level of blogging activity that goes on in the US political blogosphere. But based on the way Twitter has taken off among the Australian political class, we certainly could sustain a higher level of political blog discussion than we now have.
Yet for some reason, Twitter captured the imagination of Australia's political class in a way blogging never has. And although Twitter has some advantages, I think the political conversation in this country would be richer if things had turned out differently. For instance, is there an Australian equivalent to the blog stoush now taking place between two of America's senior commentators and thought-leaders, Andrew Sullivan and Jeffrey Goldberg, on the Israel-Palestine question?
One recent candidate might be Malcolm Turnbull's debate with Catallaxy's Sinclair Davidson, and maybe there are others. My thoughts are based only on observation, so if there's data out there on this topic, I'd love to hear about it.