August 30, 2017

Welcome to Niskanen Notes



In the Golden Age of yore, there was a wonderful something called a “blog.” Writers of all persuasions would jot chatty short items on their personal online diaries. Pithy and informal in tone, these “posts” were nevertheless frequently full of insight and erudition. For a time, an ecosystem of blogs flourished, facilitating wide-ranging debate about politics, policy, and even  philosophy across ideological and partisan lines. Our children deserve to know.

Alas, all good things come to an end. Bloggers who had built sizable followings were brought inside big media concerns, or started new ones. Meanwhile, Twitter and Facebook began to drink blogging’s milkshake by aggregating content and delivering captive audiences. The coup de grace may have been Google’s shameless murder of the beloved Google Reader, an RSS aggregator, which broke up a huge and active network of blog aficionados, and made blogs harder to find and read. Blogging platforms became “content management systems” and the distinctively casual blog style began to retreat from the scene. “Blog posts” at many think tanks and publications stopped being bloggy and reverted to stuffy journalistic formality.

Still, the original, breezy blog form remains unrivaled as a vehicle for the quick hit, the hot take, and the public-service link dump. That’s why Niskanen Notes is bringing the wonk blog back. In this space you’ll find the Niskanen Center’s policy staff dishing up tantalizing short takes on news and views, as well as useful links to and comment on new and interesting policy-relevant research. A “fisking” or two might even occur.

If you lack a disappointing Google Reader replacement, you can keep up by following the Niskanen Center on Twitter and Facebook, but not on Snapchat. We don’t understand Snapchat. Welcome to Niskanen Notes!