The picture on the right is by Orin Zebest, and it is used under a Creative Commons license.
We had a good run. Next month, it will be the eighth anniversary of the founding of the Blogging Alliance of Non-Partisan Canadians. And today, I have the sad task of announcing that this blogging association has run its course and I will closing down the shop, effective July 1st of this year.
The main reason for this is Google's announcement that it is retiring Google Reader. For the past few years, I've been relying on Google Reader to maintain the blogroll and RSS feed of the BANPC. As of July 1st, this feature will not be supported, and so the web page simply isn't going to work. Google promises that my Google Reader data will be preserved in some new system called "Google Takeout", but I have no idea how the thing works, and how to make it keep the BANPC's RSS feed and blogroll public. And, frankly, I believe the BANPC has outlived its usefulness. One of the best things about Google Reader is that I could take the code, set it, and forget it. The page chuffed along on its own -- perfect for a one-man operation, which is what the BANPC was. And, over the course of time, I forgot it.
Back in April 2005, I set up the BANPC because blogging communities were the new in thing. The Blogging Tories, the LibLoggers and the Blogging NDP were setting up groups of blogs with a communal website, a shared RSS feed and, most importantly, linkages between the members. These links were like rocket fuel to bloggers. The more links you had, the more prominent you were in the community. I set up the BANPC because I saw that there was a demand that wasn't being met. There many political bloggers out there who didn't want to take up with the partisan blogging associations. Why shouldn't they participate in the linkfest? I gave them access, and I'm proud at how well it turned out. For a while, there, the BANPC were spoken about in the same breath as the Blogging Tories and the Progressive Bloggers. There was a tacit understanding that there was a third way.
But blogging has faded from the prominence it once held. All the action these days is on the popular blogs. People wanting to make their voices heard these days go to Twitter or Facebook. There are a few prominent blogs out there, but the community of bloggers linking to each other is gone, and so to has the usefulness that the BANPC provides. Nobody has joined the group in a long while, and many blogs have gone silent. I don't have the resources to keep the BANPC going and I'm not really sure there's a demand anymore.
If somebody does want to come and take over the operation of the Blogging Alliance of Non-Partisan Canadians, they are welcome to. I will happily turn over the domain names and what code I have. Maybe somebody else can turn this into something useful that people will want to join again. But if not, then the BANPC will chug along until the lights go out. It's been a good run, but it goes to show how ephemeral the Internet is. We once thought that blogs were going to change the world, but today I think we're finding that change has passed us by.