Big bog/small blog and “the headless mob”
Dan’s thoughts on Insta-Power: Blogging Myths and Media Hype
All it takes is for Instapundit, Powerline, Malkin and or a few other large blogs to shed light on some issue and, yes, you’ll likely see that issue highlighted on many blogs. But to what extent that comes from die hard conviction versus a quest for readership is grossly over-estimated in my opinion. If there is anything I know about bloggers, it is that they are as disparate of opinion as any other large group of individuals, and often just as in need and want of individual recognition, site traffic, and buzz for their own particular viewpoint. Consequently what might appear as a gathering of the like minded might in fact be one; but it could just as easily be a collection of smaller fish with a slightly different viewpoint clamoring for attention within a greater mass.
I see pundits and large bloggers talk about power, the new media and change – small bloggers often have to content themselves with wondering how much they want to continue blogging given the relative lack of interaction, traffic and recognition, unless, of course they want to play the big blog, MSM Insta-Power game. Given the relative immaturity of the medium, it really is just that – a game. And to some extent it’s being played by powerful people with new pawns – only these pawns can actually talk, if anyone ever asks them. But then, this is only the opinion of one right wing blogger. What the hell can any one of those guys really know?
This post has generated several thoughtful comments, including this one from Beth
Dan, you must have been reading my mind when you wrote this one. Today–or should I say yesterday?–I fumed all day about how there are dozens of us small to mid-size bloggers and ONE biggie (LB) all staying on message with the Terri Schiavo blogburst, with little to no help from those who direct the fuckin’ traffic. While the biggies are patting themselves on the back for “their” success in taking down Eason Jordan (they weren’t the ONLY voices) and fighting with those assholes over stupid shit like Jeff Gannon, of all things, we smaller bloggers are actually trying to effect POSITIVE change–trying to save a life, for Chrissakes.
I’ve emailed all the biggies and the only response I’ve gotten so far is from La Shawn Barber, who is a rare exception to what you’ve said above despite her enormous success. She knows what blogging is about and knows that we all have something to say. Other than that, David Limbaugh–a “real” media person of sorts, not even a “real” blogger–was the only other big voice to bother responding or acting. Maybe the others don’t agree with our cause, fine. But I SERIOUSLY doubt it in some of their cases.
Jonathan notices the MSM’s trying to perpetuate a fallacy
While I don’t think pure blogging can be strictly defined to exclude any particular type of blogs, I’m pretty certain that Eason Jordan did NOT resign just because the blogosphere called for it. The myth perpetuated by the MSM, playing the victim, is that the blogosphere is a lynch mob that always gets its way.
The MSM might want to picture bloggers as a lynch mob in order to justify dismissing bloggers’ opinions, or to somehow try to find a way to control bloggers’ content. Like Betsy yesterday, I see the MSM/blogger dichotomy as a partnership, particularly in view of how many large blogs have working relationships with the MSM.
Small blogs are in a situation similar to independent fimmakers. Thousands of people all around the world make films, but only a small percentage recover their financial investment. Those who get picked up by the better-marketed film festivals (i.e., large linking blogs, such as Instapundit) find a distributor. Some find an agent (as some bloggers have). Some films are made as “independent” films even when heavily sponsored by distributors, such as Miramax — just as some blogs list “team” of a dozen people, like Wonkette (a team underwritten by ?)– and get broad publicity in the MSM.
I blog because I want to write my opinions on a variety of subjects (and it improves my writing, too). I read small blogs exactly for the same reason: because people like Dan write what they (not someone else) have to say. I’m grateful that I can do both. If a large blog links to me, that’s enjoyable. If I write it (and, in my case, it’s a matter of what not to blog about, since there’s always a lot to blog about), and the readers come, that’s even better. But, to paraphrase the (tennis-playing) philosopher, “the journey’s the thing”.