CampusTap logo
It is too early in the morning for me to even bother mincing words: Vivien Wu's recent Crimson article on CampusTap reads like a press release:

Thanks to CampusTap, the Harvard blogosphere has evolved from a few isolated websites into a tight, well-oiled forum for students to debate campus issues, keep track of the local news, and just jabber around. CampusTap is the conscription of the guerrillas—a private ring of Harvard student bloggers with a consistent form, a unified index of topics, and an easily-searchable directory of names.

While Ms. Wu might find nothing wrong with the monolithic aspects of CampusTap, other Crimson writers have caveats. In his most recent column, Crimson tech columnist Matthew Gline[1] suggested that CampusTap founder Adam Katz's use of the phrase "walled garden" might be troublesome:
In the Harvard community, where it is frequently observed that the diversity of opinions on some issues is already limited, do we really want to close our discussion off to a potential source of new perspectives? Is the Harvard bubble not already sufficiently insular?

Cambridge Common's blogroll
I would argue that the answer to this question is a definite "Yes." The Harvard blogosphere as most people conceptualize it is limited to blogs like Cambridge Common, DemApples, and RedIvy, which primarily deal with Harvard College politics and gossip. While they might be interesting for those wanting to insights into the life of an undergraduate at this university, they fail to contribute to the blogging community in a substantive fashion. Look at the "blogroll" of Cambridge Common (image at the right) - all of the links point to blogs and websites that either deal with Harvard or belong to Harvard undergraduates.

Now, if this problem was realized, I would have hope that it might be resolved at some point in the future. Instead, we have writers like Ms. Wu, who crow about the fact that multiple Harvard blogs can now be found on one website, oblivious to the fact that to non-Harvard affiliates, Cambridge Common is simply a restaurant and bar located to the north of Harvard Square, and not the apogee of blogging:

Even the Cambridge Common folks have moved their operation over to the new site. Thanks to CampusTap, no Harvard blogger is an island.

I may not have as many Harvard-based readers as Cambridge Common,[2] but I am somewhat proud that my connections to the blogosphere as a whole are not limited to the fact I wrote a post on Summers' resignation. And while the fact I do not write at CampusTap[3] makes me an "island" in Ms. Wu's eyes, I prefer my current state to being landlocked at

Regardless of the loss of my Adsense and Dreamhost revenue streams, moving to CampusTap would cause me to lose readers and endure large amounts of spiritual angst. None of their blogs, as far as I can tell, have RSS feeds, a standard feature for web publishing systems since 2000. I have seen no features allowing authors to license their blogs' content under Creative Commons licenses. And their pages do not follow web standards and use ASP.Net.

[1] Full Disclosure: I am friends with Matt Gline.

[2] I am not currently monitoring the number of my readers who come from Harvard, so it is possible (albeit not likely) that I do.

[3] I did receive an email from one of the founders after my previous post mentioning CampusTap, inviting me to join. I declined.