September 15, 2004

Please Shut Up Before You Say Something Else Stupid

I knew, eventually, the whole memo thing would devolve into one giant backslapping session, followed by extensive bloated analysis of What This All Means. The backslapping, I can take. Much of it is deserved (for example: I don't think anyone's going to tell Bill of In DC Journal that blogs "don't do any investigative reporting" ever again.) But couldn't we have skipped the What It All Means part? That would be the part that Old Media has been tacking onto stories as they wind down and lose steam for decades now. It sucks when they do it, and it sucks when bloggers do it.

Then again, I don't really consider Hugh Hewitt a blogger; I consider him a guy with a radio show who, because of his position in the Old Media, was able to proclaim one day, "I Have a Blog!" and immediately be welcomed with open arms to the New Media, kind of like every blogger Nick Denton's foisted on the unsuspecting online public. And just like the GawkFleshWankette crowd, the man got into this having nearly no idea what he was talking about:

Sure, a few hundred blogs seem to own a large share of the traffic, as N.Z.Bear's rankings by traffic shows. But there are tens of thousands of blogs each racking up unique visitors. If those blogs in the tail pick up a meme --say, "Dan Rather is a doddering fool and CBS is covering up for him"-- its spread across the universe of people using the web for information gathering is huge and almost instantaneous. And irreversible because a friend or colleague of Rick is much more likely to believe his analysis because he knows and trusts Rick than it is some knucklehead from CBS who is attempting to dismiss Rick as a pajama-wearing loon.
Yes, that's right: Everyone with a shitty Technorati (and never even mind the Ecosystem; it refuses to update my URL and so only ranks the old journalspace blog, making me look like the least-read weblogger out there, which is only somewhat true), all we "bloggers in the tail" are read primarily by our friends and family.

Oh please; this is to upchuck. Look, I can't pay my family to read this blog, and as for my friends, if I want to keep them I have to make damn sure they don't even know this blog exists, because yes, they're that kind of left, the kind that only tolerates you so long as it can assume you're voting for Kerry.

I run anywhere between 100-200 unique visitors per day (currently Sitemeter's reporting an average of 165), depending on how frequently I update and, yes, whether the updates are crap or not. And for the most part, I have no idea who those visitors are. Some of them are sent by generous higher-traffic bloggers, but not all. Anywhere between--I'm estimating here--25-40% of them show up with no referrer information at all. Either they found me once long ago through the same generous linkage described above and liked it enough to keep coming back, or they . . . look, I have no idea how they got here. I have no idea what posts they like and what posts they hate. I have no idea, period. I just know they're not my damn "colleagues." They have no reason to trust me beyond what I can document and support.

Please, please, PLEASE can we stop fawning over these halfwits who get into blogging because it's the "done thing" all of a sudden. Please. Let someone who actually HAS a small blog tell me about the potential influence of smaller blogs. Don't let me read it from some dork who had to have it explained to him by the founder of Technorati. Please, don't make me have an aneurysm over this.

Make your minds up, bloggers: Either Old Media needs a whopping dose of humility before you could ever find it attractive again, or Old Media is only hateable right up until the moment it condescends to play with you in your sandbox. Do you know what this is like? This is like when the goth kids in school all sneer at the football team right up until the moment the captain asks out Lady Ophelia Darkenmore of Ravenwood. Then it's all, "Pray tell, Lady Darkenmore, what attire thou shalt don for thy evening promenade with Sir Jocky?" Christ.

I GUESS I'M TRYING TO CLOSE THE BARN DOOR AFTER THE HORSES ARE LONG GONE UPDATE: I forgot even to mention this imbecilic idea. Yes, let's have Congress investigate CBS. I'm sure that won't lead to any cries of censorship or anything; it's not like there's anything in the Constitution that prohibits the government from doing such things, right? Right? Who let this guy on the internet?!?


Posted by Ilyka at September 15, 2004 12:36 AM in hell is other people

I really would have enjoyed the segment with Brit Hume (I like Brit. I wanna party with that guy. Really.) more if Scott Johnson would have showed up in his jammies.

But that's just me, I guess.

Posted by: Margi at September 15, 2004 01:48 AM

...and as for my friends, if I want to keep them I have to make damn sure they don't even know this blog exists, because yes, they're that kind of left, the kind that only tolerates you so long as it can assume you're voting for Kerry.

Oh, you too, huh?

Actually, I've never concealed my beliefs around my friends. I've lost a few, and it hurt, but anyone who runs a political litmus test on you is not your friend.

I once was friends with a PETArd who asked me how I could stand to be friends with people who were anti-abortion. I kind of mildly told her what I said above about litmus tests. She couldn't grok it. She's no longer my friend, although it's for reasons other than politics. Which is just as well, because it's been a great relief not having to suppress my contempt for animal rights in front of her. I'm sure she absolutely loves that disgusting Holocaust-imagery campaign PETA is running.

The only problem is that I live in an extremely idiotarian part of the country where one does have to suppress one's beliefs somewhat in order to find/hold down a job. The other day I interviewed for one that's connected with a university, although I myself wouldn't be in an academic position. I can't afford to turn it down, but I wonder how long I'm going to last in that office once they find out I'm not a Kerry admirer.

/ not really good at stifling myself

Posted by: Reginleif the Valkyrie at September 15, 2004 07:44 PM