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Bit Sway
August 11, 2005 10:41 AM   Subscribe

Emergence of the Progressive Blogosphere: A New Force in American Politics

Since March of 2005, the total number of blogs has grown from 7.8 million to 14.2 million. At this rate, the online universe is doubling in size every five months. This memo is a comprehensive look at the underlying dynamics of these online communities, along with a targeted analysis of how to engage them to generate political power.
posted by The Jesse Helms (20 comments total)

 
At this rate, the online universe is doubling in size every five months.

No, it means that the number of blogs doubled in 5 months. That's not enough data to determine a pattern for future.
posted by Kickstart70 at 11:51 AM on August 11, 2005


What a shoddy report. I like how it completely diminishes the purposes and coherence of right-wing blogs by saying that they only exist to hate progressive and mimic talking points, but then it speaks about left-wing blogs as if they are this bastion of free thinking, original people with actual ideas beyond hating Bush/conservatives. I guess this guy never visited any of these left wing blogs that are one giant echo chamber with the same "talking points" and if one strays, one is castigated to no end as an apostate.

In reality the two are the same side of the same revolting coin. Festering, cocooning echo chambers that do nothing more than reinforce prejudices to the point that sanity is not longer cognizable by any of its members who get lost in the righteousness of their particular cocoon.

The only difference I see is that right-wing blogs tend to be more monolithic and left wing blogs tend to be more niche oriented, but that's the same reflection on national politics so it shouldn't be surprising. The right wing is fairly monolithic and the left wing is an amalgamation of a bunch of special interest groups united in a monolithic opposition to the right wing to pursue their niche policies.
posted by dios at 12:18 PM on August 11, 2005


Also, the increase in number of blogs does nothing more than increase noise, fracture the ability to form a base, and dilute the power of the overall "movement."

"Movement" *cackle*
posted by dios at 12:20 PM on August 11, 2005


Anyone see this...

digging for hope in shit mountain

(via, via, Rolling Stone "huffpo" and RWWL)
posted by nervousfritz at 12:41 PM on August 11, 2005


Festering, cocooning echo chambers that do nothing more than reinforce prejudices to the point that sanity is not longer cognizable by any of its members who get lost in the righteousness of their particular cocoon.

From my experiences, the conservative blogs actually do seem much worse in terms of being just an echochamber than the left leaning ones. Sites like littlegreenfootballs and freerepublic literally ban members who are liberal while sites like plastic and others will just drowned their their conservative counterparts under mounds of replies rather than banning them. This isn't to say that life is fun for a conservative poster on a site full of liberals (I have seen dios smothered by opposers quite often), but at least he and his view point can have a presence in the discussion.

Are there any conservative blogs with a significant liberal presence at all? Even powerline, which I think has occasionally great content, suffers from a lack of liberal counterparts to create actual discussions of the often discussion-worthy content.
posted by aburd at 12:42 PM on August 11, 2005


Oh god, I don't even know where to start on this one, so I don't think I'll bother.

One day soon, people are going to realize how boring and pathetic it actually is to spend your days reading the duplicated opinions of uninformed keyboard jockeys who secretly wish they had the voice for talk-back radio.

It pains me to say it, but what dios said.

I remember when weblogs were about the cool links.

......

Ah fuck it I will make a point. "Emergence" of the progressive blogosphere? If I remember my history correctly the blogosphere was progressive to start with, and then "right wing" blogs emerged. The authors of this report clearly weren't around then to notice - seeing as they cite a "2003" report for their evidence of the "early dominance of right-wing blogs". Sheesh, pull the other one.
posted by Jimbob at 12:44 PM on August 11, 2005


Blogosphere.

Blogosphere. Blogosphere. Blogosphere. Blogosphere. Blogosphere. Blogosphere. Blogosphere.

Nope, saying it several times over and over doesn't help it sound any less moronic.

How about "blogmunity"? Nope, that sucks ass too. "Bloggerhood"? "Blogvernment"? "Blogiety"? "Bloggerverse"?

Blah.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:50 PM on August 11, 2005


I agree w/ Dios that many sites (right and left) are just parroting what they're told. From dittoheads to ... i dunno, whatever the term is for the left, nobody likes to think for themselves. They just repeat what they're told and what they hear.

And on that note, aburd makes a good point about fostering discussion and allowing both sides to discuss the issues. For the few of us who actually care about trying to debate and understand the issue (and those not being delusional or disingenuous), its nice to be able to hear both sides. FR and its ilk have no tolerance for other points of view, whereas with a place like plastic some of the right wingers get modded up when they make good points, just like the ones on the left (I cant think of the guys name off hand to link his profile... damnit).
posted by SirOmega at 1:05 PM on August 11, 2005


The predictability of these blogs has begun to approach 100%. I mean, I can read about an issue in the NYT in the morning and know exactly how both sides will respond in the next 48 hours. This kind of clockwork precision makes it entirely superfluous to actually read the blogs themselves. I'm now getting to a zen state where knee-jerk reactionary bullshit will just be beamed directly through my brain and out the other side.

I like the term "Blogmass".
posted by selfnoise at 1:08 PM on August 11, 2005


The direct political impact of blogs is going to be muted, because they're read by none of the three audiences which interest politicans: swing voters who need to be persuaded, the lower-middle-class white voters Republicans need to motivate, and the urban minority and poor voters Democrats need to motivate.

The one important audience of blogs is the mainstream media, who can actually motivate themselves to report a story if bloggers can tie a pretty enough bow around it.
posted by MattD at 1:08 PM on August 11, 2005


MattD, that is just about the smartest thing I have ever seen you say here.

But enough of the back-patting, we'll start to look like a weblog or something.
posted by Jimbob at 1:13 PM on August 11, 2005


"Bloggerhood"?

It's a beautiful day in this bloggerhood
A beautiful day for a blogger
Would you read mine
Could you read mine

It's a bloggerly day in this bloggerhood
A bloggerly day for a blogger
Would you read mine
Could you read mine

I've always wanted to read a blogger just like you
I've always wanted to live life through a blogger just like you

So, let's make the most of this bloggerhood day
Since we're together we might as well say
Would you read mine, could you read mine
Won't you be my blogger
Won't you please, won't you please
Please won't you read my blo-og
posted by Kickstart70 at 1:26 PM on August 11, 2005


I agree with both what dios and MattD said.

But I have to laugh at the title:

"Emergence of the Progressive Blogosphere"
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 1:54 PM on August 11, 2005


I actually agree with what dios said. It's becomming isolated in one or the other 'cocoon' that, ultimately, screws us all.

I have tried to interject some sence into the enlightening forums on LGF, but they don't seem to want any 'other side' invading their nice 'kill 'em all and send the proceeds to Jesus' lovefest.

So which ARE the forums to get a 'fair and balanced' discussion? Does John Stewart have a weblog?
posted by Balisong at 2:24 PM on August 11, 2005


Balisong, a sincere, if flawed, effort along those lines is attempted in "Left2Right" -- the premise of which is for left-wing academics to explain mainstream (for left-wing academics) ideas to a open-minded right wing audience, which could dialogue with the academics in the comments. It hasn't really gone anywhere. The Volokh Conspiracy is a more well-developed, if less explicit, counter-example of that, since the posters are all very conscious of the overwhelmingly liberal character of legal academia, which is their main audience.

However, all the best bipartisan political chat happens at entirely apolitical boards and blogs. Interesting, diverse, and respectful political discussions occur all the time on the finance and legal boards I frequent. While I don't frequent it (NSFW, you know), I know that there's tons of intersesting and diverse, if obscenely disrespectful, chat on the F---edCompany.com boards.

I also think that there's tons of very interesting chat on the partisan boards on subject matters of which there's no settled partisan point of view, or where there's a strong dissident point of view. Unsurprisingly, these discussions tend to focus on the libertarian axis, which cuts across partisan lines. On DemocraticUnderground, you get great discussions on gun rights; on FreeRepublic, you get great discussions on drug legalization and immigration. You used to get great discussion on both sites on globalization, but DemocraticUnderground seems to pretty much driven out the free traders of late, while protectionists and free traders both still thrive on FreeRepublic.
posted by MattD at 2:42 PM on August 11, 2005


But I have to laugh at the title:

"Emergence of the Progressive Blogosphere"


Almost as funny as calling the new debt-and-spend Republican party conservative.
posted by sonofsamiam at 2:45 PM on August 11, 2005


MattD: One of those groups, swing voters, does read blogs and perhaps in the last US elections they were influenced by what they read online but not nearly enough to alter the fact that the other two groups don't.

There would be a group of swing voters who have good incomes, are socially liberal but fiscally conservative and fairly pro free market who do read blogs.

The impact may not be that great, but it is there.

The war on Iraq is probably considerably less popular than it would have been had there been no blogs. The protest marches against it used online organisation a good deal.
posted by sien at 5:07 PM on August 11, 2005


The war on Iraq is probably considerably less popular than it would have been had there been no blogs.

So, you think "liberal" blogs were more influential than "conservative" blogs? How many people had their bigotry made feel justified by LGF, I wonder?

I don't think blogs make a lick of different to anyone much at all. My evidence is, like yours, purely anecdotal. All my family and friends who are "anti-war" have never read a political blog in their lives. And I've never, ever seen someone post a comment on a weblog saying "Gee, wow you're right, I'm wrong, I'll go vote for the other guy now!"
posted by Jimbob at 5:39 PM on August 11, 2005


I've read LGF, Free Republic, DailyKOS Democratic Underground, Bladeforums and here.
That's 3 right and three left.
The right wing has banned me 2/3'ds of the time.

Is it any wonder that I lean left? This is actually where I feel home.
posted by Balisong at 7:05 PM on August 11, 2005


Are there any conservative blogs with a significant liberal presence at all?

Yea there is, and it's called tacitus.org I'd advise everyone to go check it out. It's a scoop based site originally founded by tacitus of redstate.org and various other communities.

We (and I say we lightly, i'm more of a lurker) just held elections for our first "Triumpharate", shall we say, or, those able to post FPP, promote diaries, and ban.

It is a conservative community, but there is an ever growing band of left leaning posters, including one administrator!

The commmunity at large seeks to keep the level of discourse appropriate. Profanity, nonsense, and especially personal attacks are all discouraged and a bannable violation of the rules that have made it such an accesible, friendly and intelligent community.

Metafilter denizens, this is your chance to duke it out with some persuasive and compelling conservative posters without having to worry about invading the echo chamber.
posted by WetherMan at 7:39 PM on August 11, 2005


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