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Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Nature of the Blogosphere

Just One Minute has some interesting ideas on how the lefty blogs can have more influence. More interesting to me though is his description of the blogosphere itself and how it differs in structure left vs. Right:

First, a brief digression into the structure of the blogosphere. The largest Lefty blog is the Daily Kos. One must register to enlist there; members can leave comments, or write 'diaries', which function as blogs within a blog. In addition to leaving their own comments on other blogs, members can vote on diary entries, to move them up the in-house rankings and call them to other people's attention. So, for a member, the hours can be whiled away, and there is always plenty to do in Kos World. But it is a separate world. Having casually observed them in action on the Gannon hunt, it is clear that they can summon tremendous energy, manpower, and talent to a particular task. However, I would suggest that a tendency toward groupthink, and a weakness in gathering information from blogs outside of KosWorld, are significant weaknesses which, with experience, may be overcome. Because the folks there spend so much time in their own world, but can still generate significant buzz, we will call them The Hive. And who stands against them on the right? Essentially, an almost totally disorganized pack of hungry bloggers led by the hypercaffeinated Glenn Reynolds, the InstaPundit. Do people on the right 'vote' a blog post into popularity? No. Are research tasks assigned, or project volunteers sought? No. Glenn Reynolds provides a link to a blog, an Instalanche results, and whatever message was there is widely dispersed. Of course, there are plenty of other large blogs directing traffic, so readers and ideas certainly move independently of Glenn, but he is a major hub. And since Glenn does not have a comments section, there is no reason to linger at his site- people stop by, and head off into the blogosphere. So, the Hive versus the Pack - which organizational structure is better at influencing the national debate? For righties, the answer is important, because we have demonstrated neither the temperament nor the talent to form a useful hive.
It is always interesting to me ways in which political bent seems to manifest in other ways. For example, I observered during the 2000 recount battle that despite the fact that both sides goal was to purely to win, and one might expect that the legalistic arguments used would have little to do with their broader political philosophy the arguments used did in fact mirror the basic philosophies quite closely. The democrats argued (among other things) that voters needed help and it was the government's job to help them. Hence the need to determine voter intent and make sure 'all the votes were counted.' Republicans countered that it was a voters individual responsibility to vote correctly and make sure that their chads were fully removed and if they didn't do that, too bad. A similar dynamic was present in the Washington Governor recount this past election. Of course the old struggle of collectivism vs. individualism has been present for a long time. It is always fascinating though how many ways this basic difference ends up manifesting though.


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