Saturday, March 12, 2005
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What to read on the blogosphere
In honor of my trip to New Orleans to talk about blogs at the Public Choice Society meetings, here's what I'm going to be thinking about for the next 24 hours:
posted by Dan on 03.12.05 at 12:45 AM
Is twelve percent of Americans being frequent readers of blogs dealing with politics a large or a small number?
What percentage of Americans reads the editorial and op-ed pages of a newspaper? Is it really larger than 12 percent? I doubt it.posted by: Linc Wolverton on 03.12.05 at 12:45 AM [permalink]
There is an aspect to this matter of who blogs and who reads blogs--an elephant in the room nobody seems to want to mention. That is the geography of it all. Instapundit teaches law at University of Tennessee; the Power Line people are in Minneapolis-St. Paul; Daniel Drezner teaches at University of Chicago, and used to teach in Denver, Colorado; Patterico is a Los Angeles man, as is Roger L. Simon. A long list of greats could be adduced without reference to either New York or Boston. Ladies and gentlemen, the colonized areas of North America are coming un-colonized.
Now if we could just get a few publishing houses started, so that high quality material from Montana does not end up enriching the Atlantic Monthly (see the current issue), and if musicians of quality had some outlet other than NPR (what earthly claim does Ken Burns & Co have on jazz, fer godsake?), we'd have taken another turn to our own good.
Long may it wave.posted by: Thomas Drew on 03.12.05 at 12:45 AM [permalink]
Dan, your recalling Cass Sunstein's cyberbalkanization thesis of a few years back is very welcome. I hope you, or Sunstein himself, or somebody, will follow up on that more systematically.
Sunstein caught a good bit of grief in the (at that time rudimentary) blogosphere for his dystopian prediction. I agreed with his critics because blogs were young, and it did look as though everybody would be reading and commenting on and linking to everyone else, not just people they already agreed with. In my case at least, the 'net has continued to broaden rather than narrow the ideas I expose myself to. But some of the Adamic and Glance data on linking patterns may add a bit of weight to Sunstein's thesis. It's hard to know.
Can you wander over to the law school and ask Sunstein what he thinks now?posted by: Richard Riley on 03.12.05 at 12:45 AM [permalink]
Also, WHO are reading blogs? I'd bet the demographics tend towards the better educated, more affluent, most curious, knowledge-hungry savages in our society. I remember Sullivan reporting some data frmo his blog that supported such a generalization. Blog readers probably tend to be hubs--as oppossed to nubs--in social networks. They actively spread ideas through those networks, not merely consume it. Theoretically, their influence is greater than raw consumption data can capture.posted by: Eric Anderson on 03.12.05 at 12:45 AM [permalink]
I agree. I would like to see readership statistics for specific groups of people like journalists, Congressional staffers, political consultants etc. I suspect that they are quite high and that the influence of the blogosphere goes beyond what the general readership number indicates.
The comparison with op-ed pages is apt; not that many people read the op-ed pages of the big dailies but they still have a big influence on public life.posted by: Strategist on 03.12.05 at 12:45 AM [permalink]
Last I checked 800lb. blogrilla Josh Marshall writes from New York.
But Thomas, if you want to embrace the rural hinterlands of...uhh...Chicago and Los Angeles, like they say in Minneapolis, go crazy.
Dan, if you get a chance in NO take the St.Charles streetcar line out to Igor's for a beer. It's tons of fun and worth a trip beyond the French Quarter.posted by: joejoejoe on 03.12.05 at 12:45 AM [permalink]
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