Monday, September 19, 2005

THE TRIANGLE: Limits of Blog Power

Peter Daou has an important analysis of the limits of the blogosphere in altering the public dialog (the conventional wisdom). His conclusion: the blogs alone cannot change the dialog unless they are partnered with the power of the media and the political establishment. It is only when this triangle works together that the dialog starts to shift.

The blogosphere cannot influence the public dialog itself because it still has limited direct influence on the public (you have to be reading the blogs in the first place to see what they are talking about). Furthermore, they lack the "legitimacy" that the political establishment has. They just don't rise above the crowd in the way that a Dean, Clinton, Reid or Pelosi can. When those people talk, people listen. When Markos Zuniga talks, most people say "Markos who?"

So what power does the blogosphere have? They have the power to influence the dialog amongst the other two points of the triangle: the media and the political establishment. Both of them are becoming more and more aware of this power and are starting to pay attention to it. And the more they pay attention to it the more they start to mimic and forward the ideas and attitudes of the blogosphere.

Peter's conclusion:

It would seem reasonable to conclude, then, that the best strategy for the progressive netroots is to go after the media and Democratic Party leaders and spend less time and energy attacking the Bush administration. If the netroots alone can’t change the political landscape without the participation of the media and Democratic establishment, then there’s no point wasting precious online space blasting away at Republicans while the other sides of the triangle stand idly by. [...]

Read what Peter has to say.


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