It’s been three years since I ranked some of my favorite blogs/bloggers of 2009 in a January 2010 post. I was reminded of how infrequently many of them post nowadays when I saw today the re-emergence of one of them in a Tumblr vehicle, Exacta-Mundo. Stroll through the “Blogroll” to the right and click through them and you’ll find many are barely active today. Indeed, the average posts per blog the last three years has probably diminished as precariously as the average starts per horse the last 20. Some—like the blogger Knight Sky—will blame Twitter as the cause of output reduction, as some owners point to only Lasix as the culprit of less starts in horses, but there’s probably more to both worlds (and in a few posts below this one, the renowned blog commenter Tinky and I discuss the issues with horses).
There’s no question Twitter has played a role in blog slowdown. But, the advent of Twitter is really nothing more than the emergence of new voices and personalities over another, newer platform. Yes, many of them are younger than the early group of bloggers here who’d formed a community/clique and become elder statesmen, but remember—I don’t know, maybe six, seven years ago?—when these same bloggers were the new voices in a world dominated by an even older inked crowd (no, I don’t mean tats)? Change, then, is the issue, and how voices—whether in ink, posts, or tweets—remain relevant over that process is one factor.
The author of the new, amusing, and current Exacta-Mundo—on the hipper and younger Tumblr, no less—is Dana Byerly. She began her last post at “Green but Game” on Sept. 9, 2011, this way:
Like a good Friday night news dump, I thought I’d quietly start blogging again. When one doesn’t blog for awhile, the blog comeback starts to feel insurmountable. I’ve certainly made copious notes for multiple posts on “big issues” that have come up, but usually ended up ventilating some of those thoughts on Twitter. After a bout with Twitter crabbiness I’ve decided to bring my chat capital back here, to the land paragraphs. I haven’t abandoned Twitter, I’m just adjusting my outputs to more appropriate channels (or something like that… I miss blogging, OK?).
Dana runs the Hello Race Fans site and was part of a crew that ran with each other on the web that included Brooklyn Backstretch, Foolish Pleasure, Superfectablog, Railbird, Gathering the Wind (now defunct), Colin’s Ghost, The Race is Not to the Swift (now defunct), Pull the Pocket, etc. Some of these folks have been invigorated by Twitter, which has led to more blogging (PTP; BB also has more ink), while others have shifted only to Twitter (“Swift”); others have become quieter or have disappeared altogether, unable, unwilling, or uninterested in competing with newer, “louder” presences and shifts in attitudes.
The following time capsule is part of a Jan. 1. 2010, post titled “Best of the internet in 2009: racing + breeding sites, blogs” [Only the blogs have been included here—SHF]
Best Racing + Breeding Blogs: Top 10, shaken, on the rocks!
1. Montjeu.com Irish-based blogger Victor Sheahan, an accountant by trade, is not prolific with posts, but his stuff is of the highest quality. Updates the site daily with news links from around the world, too, in between bouts of number crunching.
2. bloodstock in the bluegrass Frank Mitchell’s blog has shot up the charts with critical acclaim since he started it in early 2009 (on my advice, I keep reminding his fans!). Outstanding writer who knows his subject and has the journalistic skills to make it readable, topical, and oh-so interesting. And the DRF let this guy go? Whose head is gonna roll, Irwin?
3. The Pedigree Curmudgeon Like Frank Mitchell, John Sparkman is a writer of the highest class. With his personal experiences as manager at Pillar Stud + bloodstock editor ofThoroughbred Times, his knowledge of pedigrees, and his curmudgeonly demeanor, Sparkman weaves a really mean post.
4. Futeki This Japanese blogger has a South American fetish, and that’s all he posts about — in Japanese! Frequently, he scoops even the South Americans, and I predict he’ll one day live in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
5. Jessica Chapel / Railbird v2 Jessica Chapel, longtime blogger, curates Raceday360, an aggregator. She has a distinct conceptual aesthetic that’s at the vanguard of racing’s new media. Now everyone just needs to catch up to her.
6. Ray Paulick Ray gets double-dipped here because the Paulick Report also got props in the section above. But, let’s face it, Paulick’s double-fisted posting on PR — Does this guy have a life? — gives the PR the nod over Seth Merrow’s Equidaily – Does he have a life, too? — a more prolific aggregator than PR. Paulick, by the way, was right in the middle of many happening stories in 2009, which makes him one hep cat.
7. R2 Collective You can see Jessica Chapel’s thumb print on this site, which is a collaboration between her + the very game Dana Byerly (Green but Game) + the very sharp Dean Towers (Pull the Pocket). It’s all about marketing + new media + racing + technology + new dimensions at R2 = innovative thinking. Anyone who’s interested in the future of racing needs to take a ride into the new world with these three. And that includes you and your buds, Mr. Knight Sky.
8. The Race is Not to the Swift The blogger’s name is John — that’s all I know! And he’s plenty swift, too. He’s the guy who wrote the priceless line that’s now legend in the Twitterverse: “In 2009 more and more bloggers became Twitterers and disappeared faster than cupcakes at Dinny Phipps house.” In the same post, he also wrote this about Paul Moran’s quitting the blogging game: “Paul Moran announced, in that self important way of his, that he was abandoning the blogosphere to pursue more monetarily rewarding pursuits. They pay him to write? I didn’t notice, did you? ” There’s nothing more to say, except read him — and hope he’s not writing ’bout you next!
9. Gathering the Wind This blog is not active now, but do yourself a favor and go read it and then tell me it isn’t the most virtuoso, angst-ridden tapestry of literate posts ever put together on a racing blog. This guy — and I chatted via comments with him while he was active — was the Kurt Cobain of racing bloggers. RIP.
10. Who’s Hot, Who’s Not Jack Werk, the author and pedigree authority, consistently put out some of the best and most timely profiles of stallions in 2009. And he did it without pandering to farms and stallion owners. That’s why he gets quoted in ads more than anyone else. Who’s hot, he asks? You are, J-dub!