September 11, 2008
Abandoning the Outpost
Joe Carter wonders about the future of standalone blogs.
A few days ago, I received a press release for GodblogCon, the annual gathering of Christian bloggers. The September 20-21 meeting in Las Vegas (it is scheduled to coincide with the mainstream BlogWorld and the New Media Expo) will feature several prominent Christian bloggers, like Tall Skinny Kiwi's Andrew Jones, La Shawn Barber, and ScrappleFace satirist Scott Ott.
But at the top of the list, the press release mentioned that a key speaker would be "Joe Carter, the Christian blogosphere's very own Bono." Carter, formerly of Family Research Council, World Magazine, The Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity, the Mike Huckabee campaign, The East Texas Tribune, and the U.S. Marine Corps, is perhaps best known as the creator of EvangelicalOutpost.com.
The five-year-old site became one of the most prominent evangelical blogs and was in many ways as influential on its own as several of the organizations on Carter's resume. (Not too many Christian bloggers' views on bioethics have been profiled by The Washington Post.)
But there's a new wrinkle. Carter is no longer speaking at GodBlogCon, and is no longer blogging at EvangelicalOutpost.com.
And according to a farewell post on Evangelical Outpost, Carter wonders about the future of independent sites like his.
"The future of the new media, in my opinion, is moving away from personal sites toward online collectives that are focused on particular interests," he wrote. "The political left has been doing this for years (see: DailyKos) but the other areas of the blogging community have been slow to follow this approach. ? [T]he future of online activity will move to ?planned communities' rather than, for example, the ?ghettos' that Christian bloggers have been trying to break out of for years."
I wonder how that will go over at GodBlogCon, where the emphasis in recent years has been on personal sites rather than corporate blogs. (Carter has some more thoughts in an interview at Justin Taylor's hugely popular independent Christian blog, Between Two Worlds.)
Carter isn't giving up on blogging, though. His new outpost is one of those "planned communities" and "online collectives." Carter is managing editor of Culture11.com, launched by former White House staffers Bill Bennett and David Kuo with David Gelernter. And he's blogging with Kuo. (Though the title of the new blog, "Kuo & Joe, may be a massive misnomer: Carter's posts significantly outnumber those from Kuo, who says he's keeping his Beliefnet blog alive.)
Evangelical Outpost will stick around, too. Carter handed the keys off to Biola University's Torrey Honors Institute, which is the main sponsor of GodBlogCon.