Saturday, July 4, 2009

What's Next for the Blogosphere?

How much time do you put into your blogging?

I blog most of the day, depending on what's going. If it's a workday, I'll post in the morning before lectures. Read the newspapers at break, and then write something at lunch. Then I'll blog in the late afternoon and evening. In the summer, I can organize my activities around blogging. Today I'll post a couple of more times this morning, then I'll be out most of the afternoon for my family's 4th of July party. Then more tonight.

I'm thinking of this while reading Laura McKenna's piece, "
The Blogosphere 2.0."
Many of the top bloggers have been absorbed into some other professional enterprise or are burnt. It's a lot of work to blog. Most bloggers, and not just the A-listers, spend 3-5 hours every day blogging. That's hard to maintain, especially since there is no money in this. They used that time to not only write their posts and monitor their comment sections, but to read and foster other bloggers. Blogging survived based on the goodwill and generosity of others. It's probably no coincidence that every blogger that I've met face-to-face is an extraordinarily nice person. But it's hard to volunteer that much time over a long period of time. The spouses tend to get annoyed.
Make sure you read the whole thing.

McKenna seems to be burned out herself, or at least she's not hip to some new trends in blogging (I'd called them elite partisan network effects). Rick Moran wrote about changing norms and practices last fall at Pajamas Media, "
Blogs and the 2008 Election." Moran's main point is that political blogging is the new muckraking, with attacks and counterattacks consuming the time of most partisan bloggers:

While the nation is going through an economic crisis, trying to decide the best course of action in Iraq, and wrestling with serious questions of war, peace, and financial security, blogs as a whole are concerned with either promoting or knocking down the latest smear from their opponents. Or, even worse, trivializing the utterances of both candidates so that the elections seems more about the best way to make the opposition look bad by blowing a statement out of all sensible proportion while, at the same time, accusing the candidate of all manner of hair raising-perfidy.

Perhaps it is time to pause and ask “Is this the best blogs can do?”
I think the more appropriate question is "how can we do it better"?

Really, blogs aren't on the sidelines anymore, obviously; and hence they're by no means passé. The Obama administration plants Huffington Post bloggers at its
faux town hall meetings. And the president reads top leftists bloggers to get a clue of what's happening politically. Conservative bloggers like Glenn Reynolds serve as the portal for the right wing opposition, in the tea party movement, for example.

So I hardly find much significance to this idea of the lost "glory days" of blogging (note how McKenna's "glory days" were when the Democrats were out of power).

It takes a lot of work to build a readership and reputation, as I wrote about in "
How to Become a Successful Conservative Blogger." I'd warn folks not to get their expecations too high. But I think the key is to build alliances and networks. Share a lot of links and promote others in your work. Some days will be slow, and you will "burn out" a bit. But blogging will continue to be a central means of political communication in the new era of Facebook, Twitter, and the "next big thing."


paul zummo said...

I go through severe blogging mood swings. Some days I'm blogging up a storm, and the next I feel like giving it up completely. I work a full-time job and then come home to a wife and baby. Before the baby, it was a full-time job and a dissertation. So it's tough to get into any kind of rhythm. But it's worth it, and frankly the camaraderie among people - many of whom I still haven't met in person - is a nice side benefit.

No Sheeples Here! said...

Professor Douglas,

I thank my lucky stars for bloggers like Robert Stacy McCain, Stogie and you.

My humble little blog is a lot of work but the satisfaction I derive from those who visit it is incomparably wonderful.

Have a happy, healthy and safe Fourth.

cracker said...


what about us commentors!

Me, Casebolt, Dave, Webb

You think its easy coming up with interesting comical wit repose and muck in return for these earnest blog posts!

Yeah its tough, whew....Thanks for all you do Dr. Douglas.

Happy 4th, God bless , now go hose down the roof

TonyfromOz said...

Originally, I was asked by the editor of our blog if he might post my comment as a post of its own, and if I would like to contribute on a regular basis. I didn't think i had it in me, and it was time consuming to write up and then send off my posts via email every second day, and then every day. That was 16 months ago. After a couple of months, the editor allowed me to login and submit my posts directly. Now I help out with the editing duties. At our site, we have permission to copy posts from other sites and post them at our site. Our site has the best of both Worlds because of that. We have a diversity of opinion from many sources. Admitted, we are still only small.
We also have the best of both Worlds in that I'm from Australia, and you may think of that as problematic, contributing as I do at a U.S. blog site. Because of that, I can cruise those other blogs during MY day time while our other editor, and the rest of the U.S. sleeps, and vice versa, so there is a list of five or so posts already posted in the U.S. AM.
I still try to contribute on a daily basis, but that cruising and then copying takes me around three to four hours, and more often than not, more than that, and I really enjoy it, because of that diversity of opinion.
Mainstream media might dismiss the blogs, probably in a cursory manner, but they do it at their peril, because now, people will turn to the blogs for their news. People used to buy a newspaper on the way to work and read it on the commute or later at work or during a break. Now people login, and click on their favourites.
Blogging has now become so huge, that regulation will become difficult, because of that diversity of opinion.
The big ones will stay so big, that because of their size, they will offer protection for those of us smaller guys out there.
Blogging is not a chore.
We don't do it as a job. We do it because we want to.
Luckily, I'm an older guy, so I have that time to do it.
Sorry to take so much space with this response.

AmPowerBlog said...

TonyFromOz: No need to apologize ... always appreciate your comments!

Dave said...

"What's Next for the Blogosphere?"

Stopping Obama from appointing an Internet Commissar, or else kick back and watch the conservative blogosphere disappear completely.

Believe me when I tell you, the American Idol-watching, People Magazine reading government-schooled dumbMasses who put the fraud that is Obama in the White House will not only not notice your plight, but will not be coming to your defense, either.

We who truly love freedom and liberty are now in the decided minority in this country today.

Too many of us who are supposedly "plugged in" are making the hideous, and perhaps ultimately fatal mistake, of believing that our fellow Americans are beginning to finally wake up to what is really happening to our once fair republic.

They aren't.