According to an article in indieWire:
. . .technology's greatest gift to film culture may be the blogosphere, which has seemingly ignited a passionate audience for auteur cinema around the country. Film historian David Bordwell, whose film textbooks are used in college classrooms around the world, has recently taken to blogging, which he calls an "overturning of the critical establishment," he says. "In the 1950s and 1960s, when film culture really got going, it was a small space, mostly in New York City. Now that monopoly is eroding very fast and there is a tremendous amount of people out there. They don't buy newspapers. They're not my students, and they're not the general public, either," he continues. "And their cinephilia is much greater."
I don't know that American literary culture was ever literally a "small space," but it is surely the case that it has long been centered in New York City, whose writers, critics, and publishers have consituted whatever "critical establishment" exists in this country. (Some people might regard the academy as the intellectual arm of our critical establishment, but academic criticism has all but lost interest in monitoring current writers and their work except insofar as these writers can be made to align with the critic's own external political objectives.) It has exerted a "monopoly" on what ultimately can be regarded as acceptable practive both of fiction-writing and of literary criticism in the same way New York film culture monopolized the critical discourse about film. All other practices are marginalized, even if in the long run they turn out to be more influential or more durable than those sanctioned by the establishment. (One thinks of Gilbert Sorrentino, a native New Yorker whose work--in criticism as well as in poetry and fiction--was essentially invisible to this establishment, and who could barely get an infuriatingly perfunctory obituary from the New York Times on his death.)
(And I don't mean this to be a slam against New York City per se. A critical establishment has to be located somewhere, and in our case New York is it.)
To this extent, I wonder if the blogosphere (the cybersphere more generally) is having/will have the same kind of effect on literary culture Bordwell believes it is having on film culture. It would seem that the litblogosphere has indeed demonstrated there are large numbers of people "out there" who take a passionate interest in books and writing, people who have not much been taken into account by the "mainstream" outlets of opinion (they're not just members of the "general public") but who clearly know literature just as extensively as those reviewers and critics sanctioned by the establishment and have intelligent things to say about it. I think a journey down the blogrolls on the right will demonstrate this to be the case, both through the blog posts themselves and through the comment threads many of them attract.
The establishment response to litblogs has lately been pretty uniformly and intensely negative. Bloggers are accused of being "pooters" who should leave the real thinking to those reviewers who get paid to do it. They sell themselves out "for a couple of review copies and a link on a blogroll." Even when blogs are ostensibly being praised, establishment types prescribe that they "are supposed to be fun and freewheeling, filled with quick snippets written in a breezy, conversational voice," as if this will safely distinguish them from the more serious work being done in the newspapers (!). Perhaps this is all justifiable criticism, but perhaps it is also the collective voice of panic being expressed by those whose authority "is eroding very fast."