Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Blogger Democracy

Tonight Hugh Hewitt writes:

"In Blog I predict that the first Las Vegas casino to throw a "bloggers' ball" --with discounted rooms and perhaps a subsidized bar-- will reap an ocean of free blog buzz. Other innovations are ahead. Fitness magazines are going to have to figure out how to deal with compelling free sites like TriGeekDreams. Wineries had better start figuring out a Bainbridge strategy. By this time next year, AdWeek or some other trade publication will have to create a new category for best blog campaign. 27% of Americans using the internet is a big piece of the impressions pie."
Sounds persuasive, right? People who know about the importance of blogs are bending over backwards right now to accomodate bloggers; and if you're not, you're suddenly old-school.

But there is another way to look at this. I Live-Blogged Hugh's book (as near as I can tell, I'm the only one so far manic enough to do so), and alerted him about it at the time. He read the e-mail and looked (I can see he looked via Sitemeter). But he didn't deem it necessary to link or mention me (let alone offer me a free suite in Vegas).

Is this a self-pity post? No, it's actually the opposite. This blog is a pretty small fish, and I never assume otherwise. No doubt dozens like me ping Hugh every day. I never take offense when a BIG blog fails to link me just because I ping their attention. I was actually flattered that he looked.

But this itself is instructive about a blogosphere aspect Hugh overlooks because he has never experienced - the Big Blog Cold Shoulder. In other words: What happens when blogger attention is drawn only to be spurned?

Much of what Hugh assumes about bloggers and their interaction with others is drawn from his own experience. Nothing wrong with this in itself, but due to his national radio presence Hugh never really experienced blogging from the ground floor. Despite some truly solid advice for how new bloggers should operate if they want to grow, there are still areas where his inexperience with being a low-traffic blogger surfaces. This is one of them.

The danger of the "Big Blog Cold Shoulder" is no different in kind than what Hugh identifies as the problem of the MSM. It is the thing that exists the moment a Hugh Hewitt, or a Glenn Reynolds, or a Dan Rather changes their mindset from competing for attention to presuming they already have it.

What's more, it is unavoidable.

I actually think Hugh is a great guy who tries to plug small blogs to an amazing degree. He has even plugged mine in the past, via his "Vox Blogoli" forums. It's not his intent that keeps him from being able to plug my more recent posts (presuming he would like to of course), it's his capacity. Yet that same factor will lead to notions of a "media elite" as surely as the factors that have lead to the current situation.

The blog medium is the check here. Not the bloggers themselves. This is an underappreciated point, which will eventually result in "casualties" in the blogosphere sense.

4 Comments:

Blogger Drew said...

You know . . . I think this is a topic worth exploring some more. I may just do that at some point . . . but I'm not sure how to do it without sounding like i'm complaining.

7:01 PM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

Hugh just read this post on the air and instructed us to visit, so here I am! Nice site, by the way.

7:59 PM  
Blogger Daddypundit said...

Doug, I agree with your point. I've got a fairly small traffic blog myself. I've been lucky enough to be linked by Hugh a couple of times but I've also gotten the cold shoulder. It's taken me a while to not focus on the number of hits I get but who is visiting. Slowly I am beginning to see a circle of influence grow among people that come back to my blog regularly. That's really the point - developing that circle of influence. It's great when a big blog links to you but it's more flattering to have people add you to their blogroll, visit often, and most importantly, link to the posts that you spend so much time and energy putting together for all the world to see.

9:42 PM  
Blogger ricardo said...

Ahh, the whole context...

Doug, my father-in-law heard Hugh read your post on the air.

BTW - I thought your post was very interesting and linked to it...

7:43 PM  

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