Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Blogito ergo sum - Part One

If there's anything bloggers like, it's a bit of navel-gazing. And John Hawkins has prophesied the slow death of the right-wing blogosphere.

Hawkins blogs for a living. Most bloggers don't, of course. Even for a guy like Mitch Berg, who has a pretty substantial daily audience, a day job is required. Personally, I've been at this for 5 1/2 years and I've never once had a day where I merited more than 300 page views. My top traffic day remains the time, 3 years ago now, when I made a mildly disparaging reference regarding the solo career of Eric Carmen.

Steve Eggleston, the excellent Milwaukee-based blogger who holds court at No Runny Eggs, has a smart take on the matter:

Honestly, what we’re seeing is quite similar to the consolidation the left side has seen. Indeed, William Jacobson noted that in his piece.

How much of that is consolidation at the top, how much is just more voices out there, and how much of that is social media sucking the life out of everybody is up for grabs. Way back in the day, Charlie Sykes established the Rule of Five, saying that one couldn’t really follow more than 5 blogs very closely. While he was way off on the 5 number, especially with the advent of RSS feeds, there is a very-real limit to how many blogs one can follow. Trust me on this one; I can’t keep up with all 400+ feeds I try to.
I certainly think there is consolidation -- even a guy who is as prolific as Mitch has made room at his place for smart local bloggers who don't have a lot of time to write, including my friend and former Truth vs. the Machine colleague First Ringer. And Steve is right -- there just isn't enough time in the day to follow everyone.

But does that mean the right wing blogosphere is dying? I don't think so. We'll come back to the reasons anon.

1 comment:

Night Writer said...

You cite Mitch and his blog, "Shot in the Dark". I think when he started, blogg was very much like shouting into the void, listening for a ping. That's not the case anymore. Now it's shouting into the white noise, trying to be heard over all the other transmissions. What was once a new and unexplored world is now pretty well charted.

That doesn't mean someone can't still get himself an acre or two and set up a nice little homestead, or that villages of like-minded folks don't gather and support each other. Even tending a small plot, however, takes a lot of work while the rewards are often intangible.

Meanwhile, other things and other satisfactions show up in your life as labors of love can take many forms. Ultimately, something gives. I don't think the right wing blogosphere is dying, but it is maturing. The good news is that all those labors of love by so many people have paid off by organically growing and encouraging alternative voices. I think one of the reasons the government shut down blew up in Dayton's face is because he counted on the media to carry his message and while they did their best, a sizable chunk (maybe even the majority) don't look to The Media any longer. They hear and embrace a different message thanks largely to all the gentlemen (and gentlewomen) farmer-bloggers out there tending their plots.