Saturday, February 10, 2007

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It's easy to get old in the blogosphere

In the past few days, both Henry Farrell and Eugene Volokh have observed that the old, gray blogosphere ain't what it used to be.

Henry first:

I was somewhat bemused to see a whopping big advertisement on the back of the bus in front of me for The Hillís Pundit Blog... It made me feel pretty weird; itís a very different blogosphere to the one that I started off in (I suspect the disconnect for the real old-timers is even bigger).
As for a real old-timer, there's Eugene "My Finger Is Well Off the Pulse of the Blogosphere" Volokh, who observes the lack of reaction to an op-ed he had penned:
I had expected there'd be more attention from various blogs and radio programs that often cover radical Islam and the law. I figured the case that my story had uncovered had it all: The First Amendment; jihadism; parental rights; child welfare. Yet I've had much less original posts yield much more interest among blogs and radio programs, especially conservative ones.

.... I wonder: Did I misjudge the likely interest? Did I just not publicize the story enough? Should I have taken heroic measures to keep Anna Nicole Smith alive for several more days? What can I do in the future to try to draw more attention to such matters?

My example of wondering whether the blogosphere has passed me by has been the kerfuffle involving two bloggers for John Edwards that was reported in the New York Times and Time this week.

For the record, my take is pretty much in accord wth this Obsidian Wings post, but that's not the point -- the point is that, as much as I used to care about these intersections between the blogosphere and the real world, I can't get worked up about this kind of thing anymore. Who cares about campaign bloggers? They are little more than good PR stylists.

If you don't believe me, check out this Amanda Marcotte post on Edwards' health plan -- turns out she's happy that Paul Krugman likes it. Well, blow me down!

Perhaps the old fogies in the blogosphere get that way because, well, we stop taking the whole megillah so seriously. And we can't take it seriously because, well, this isn't our primary means of employment and never will be.

Once the blogosphere is run by sufficient numbers of people who are paid to blog, us enlightened amateurs just look semi-pro.

UPDATE: Just when I think the blogosphere has passed me by, I get this e-mail:

On Jewcy's blog, the Daily Shvitz, we run a periodic feature called Movable Snipe, wherein two writers spend a week reading and tweaking or adulating five blogs of our choosing. The good news is, we've chosen your blog for this week... This means either valentines or vivisections, depending on how our Snipers react to your content and, well, general demeanor.

Your Snipers will be Michael Helke, the book editor of Stop Smiling magazine, and Fiona Maazel, formerly the managing editor of the Paris Review.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Hmmm.... maybe this is really a "lump of creativity" problem. Or it's a "hatred of phones" issue.

posted by Dan on 02.10.07 at 09:30 PM


My goodness. Vivisected by the FORMER editor of a French magazine and the book editor of some publication no one has ever heard of. How can you still write with all that pressure?

So, as the semi-pro amateur bloggers are replaced by paid bloggers, will that be like high school yearbook editors being replaced by real journalists?

Read the book The Long Tail to find your true place in the blogolaxy.

posted by: Useless Sam Grant on 02.10.07 at 09:30 PM [permalink]

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