Has online content jumped the shark?

Our esteemed readers, who can be counted on the fingers of an Aussie rules football team’s hands (on-oval cadre only), will have wondered where the heck we’ve been.

Where we’ve been, metaphorically speaking, is standing mute and stupefied in the middle of Germany wondering whatever happened to the Wall.

When we inaugurated this humble Weblog in April 2000, the commercialization of the Web had been underway for five long years. We, however, had already been online for 8 ½ years and came off as know-it-alls, because, in broad terms, we did.

We despised the Dockers-wearing advertising-executive manqués who somehow scammed enough money to start up Web sites that gave license to appalling ideas, chief among them convergence.

We wrote some 122 plain-Jane HTML entries before the NUblog finally got its sea legs (and a content-management system, if you will excuse the zeugma), whereupon we wrote some 104 further entries. More than enough for a book, really.

The problem?

The problem is that everything we asked for has either come true or is halfway there.

We are natural critics. It is our strength and, to the weak of mind and will, our failing. (They’re too dumb to have critical faculties.) But we are not sure there is a whole lot left to criticize.

It seems that online content has fossilized. Online ventures doing exactly the wrong thing or the right thing the wrong way are no longer the norm, as had been the case for two solid years of NUblog’s bejeweled-tiara reign. It seems now that the available range of criticisms limits itself to banality (in an epic of consolidation, only a few forms of online content predominate; they are interchangeable within respective forms) or small distinctions (vaguely pedantic and academic distinctions in HTML coding practices).

Without an antagonist, whom we personify as Dockers-wearing advertising-executive manqués but whose forms vary a tad wider than that, a protagonist lacks a reason to act.

We are in the position of acting as career demonstrators (ADAPT is the quintessential example) who finally get what they demanded all along and start to wonder if they now have a raison d’être.

There’s a reason to be found somewhere, but it has not made itself visible in a couple of months.

The novelty imperative

We think we agree with Su of BoredInsomniac infamy:

The thing I’m afraid of is that the more of these things are written, the more codified the idea is going to become. I want to see more people fucking with the blog. Who cares about “reclaiming” the word? Why bother agonizing over terminology like (war)blog, journal, diary, blahblahblah? Do whatever the hell you want, and let it mutate.

Now we want to see something new online. If we’re stuck kvetching about banality, maybe the cure is to begin to lay whatever pressure the equivalent of an Aussie rules football team could bring to bear in order to raise standards of novelty.


We may have located some signs of hope, though only in sectors of the online demimonde that are as obscure and ill-viewed now as Weblogs were two years ago. Our next instalment will cover these diamonds in the rough.

Posting schedule

The NUblog posting schedule may improve marginally. Yet we are not willing to commit to a regular schedule. We never held to one before, but then it was more palatable because we posted so frequently. But the truth was and is that we post only when we have something to say. If it takes longer now, then it takes longer.

We adamantly insist, however, that this Weblog is not f<asterisk><asterisk><asterisk>ed.

Posted on 2002-09-15