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6/16/2005

Right and Left in the Blogosphere

My lefty friends - both of you - will be interested in this article at MyDD,

The left-wing blogosphere is beginning to decidedly pull away from the right wing blogosphere in terms of traffic. This is largely a result of the open embrace of community blogging on the left and the stagnant, anti-meritorious nature of the right-wing blogosphere that pushes new, emerging voices to the margins.
chris bowers
Bower's argument is somewhat disingenuous in that what Kos and others do is bring the long tail inside the sitemeter thereby driving up the Daily Kos rankings. But it does reflect a difference in style between right and left: in Canada we have had the pleasure of Rabble for what seems like an eternity and I've no doubt that it consistently outranks righty sites like Free Dominion (but I have no numbers on that.)

There are over 1000 people who post regularily at Kos and probably ten times that number post comments on the endless threads. There is no question that Kos is a community. Indeed, part of the left's approach to politics is about creating community; part of the right's approach is a wariness of community lest the values of that community overwhelm the individuals within it.

It makes perfectly good sense to a libertarian to have a his or her own blog with 200 readers (on a good day)rather than hooking up with an Alliance or, in the case of Kos, a Borg in which his or her voice will only be one of many and subject to community values and norms.

However, because of the top-down nature of right-wing blogs, new conservative blogs remain almost entirely dependent upon the untouchable high traffic blogs for visitors. In short, the anti-community nature of right-wing blogs has resulted in a stagnant aristocracy within the conservative blogosphere that prevents the emergence of new voices and, as a result, new reasons for people to visit conservative blogs.
mydd, bowers
This is another manifestation of what Seth Finkelstein and others are talking about when they point out blogging hierarchies and the inverse power curve out towards the long tail.

In the next few weeks I am going to be launching a rather fiendish plan to flatten that curve a little on both the right and the left (where the tail is just as long but fluffier). Just as soon as I can get a tiny PHP problem solved. (And yes, if you are a PHP God I do need help.)

Because what Bowers does not mention, and what is actually rather worrying, is that people on the left and the right in the blogosphere have almost entirely stopped reading each other.