Monday, December 27, 2004

Blogger nationalism

Jesse Taylor makes an interesting observation:

Cernig has an important point on the need to build up an actual blog community on the left. Although I think that part of the conservative interlinkage has to do a lot more with the idea that they're building up some sort of aboveground underground resistance (think Harriet Tubman, but with an advertising budget and a lot more white property owners), and so the very act of blogging is, to them, a statement, some sort of glorious revelation handed down from the good folks at Moveable Type.

You can see it in the year-end conservative blogger fellatings - blogging is a transformational tool reserved solely for the right, and, at this juncture, it's a critical move to push liberal bloggers out of the conversation. Even the most breathlessly wrong "fact-check" makes the conservative rounds in a few hours, whereas it's seemingly much more difficult for a liberal post to get around. Part of it is simply how memes spread - the conservative side of the blogosphere, from my reading of it, when not citing bad TCS columns tends to interlink to one another in a continual reaffirmation of the position and of the importance of the communal declaration of belief. In a Norquistian twist, conservative bloggers promote communalism and liberal bloggers tend to promote individualism, at least in my reading. [emphasis mine - Chris]

I'm not sure if it's elitism as much as it is a lack of the same romantic idealization of this act, but it's definitely something to think about.

Being a low-level blogger (hit counts in the hundreds per day), I notice it whenever someone links to me and such linkage has become rarer and rarer these days. Now, that could just be because I'm not as interesting as I used to be. But it could also be that the rise of community blogs like The DailyKOS have encouraged a sort of blogger nationalism. On The DailyKOS, everyone can write a diary and people frequently link to each others diaries but less often to the outside world, and then only to prominent bloggers.

The rules of diary posting on The DailyKOS say that people who write a lot of diaries should consider getting their own blogs. But my experience is that making that kind of leap actually reduces the level of attention the diarist turned blogger receives. There is a real disincentive to strike out on ones own when it is much safer to just remain in a safe and secure community.


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