The liberal blogosphere’s uncertain future

This was retweeted twelve times in five minutes after I posted it. Blogs can’t move news that fast.

Eric Boehlert at TPM says the liberal blogosphere faces two challenges. Keeping readership after Obama’s win (and liberal blog readership has plummented since Obama got elected), and staying relevant when the real time web like Twitter and Facebook are fast becoming the communications channels of choice.

Uber-tech blogger Robert Scoble now uses his blog just for major stories, and does everything else on the real time web, specifically on Friendfeed. Yeah, he’s an early adopter, but that process will be happening to political bloggers too. Else they’ll get left behind.

I’m doing much now on Twitter, Friendfeed, and Facebook, both for personal updates and for politics. Feedback happens much faster and posts can get resent instantly. I tweeted last night about that senior ayatollah who said the election was a fraud. It got retweeted twelve times in five minutes and doubtless was retweeted again and again. Blogs, liberal or otherwise, just can’t move information that fast.

Another problem I see already happening is that some commentators on liberal blogs are in danger of becoming DC insiders themselves, and thus losing that all-important outsider perspective. They may think they can waltz into DC, change it, and take over. But DC has ways of absorbing and neutralizing such reformists (and has had lots of practice in doing so.)


      • Why do they keep celebrating how well they’re doing? Why do they keep growing, and more keep showing up? I’ve seen nothing but an explosion in the blogosphere, and that’s on the left and the right.

        Sure, there will be a drop after the election, but there’s a number of ways to explain this. For one, those extra hits during the election could very well be one person from multiple locations. For instance, I go to polizeros in the morning, several times a day from Haven, and then several times again at night. In the server logs, it would appear that 2 people are visiting, when in reality its only 1. It could even be 3 or more, depending on what browser, what machine, and whether or not Comcast or Knology has reset my IP. It’s not hard to imagine how someone could be checking places like 538, TPM, etc several times a day from several places at the height of a campaign.

        And anyway, most of the drop is to be expected. I’m sure after the Super Bowl ESPN’s hits go down a little, but it’s not like every year we have an “uncertain future” for sports journalism.

        But again, most of the 350ish sites I follow are doing great, expanding every day. I just don’t see any uncertainty.

        TV and print on the other hand………

        • I think Scoble was early and right in this. The realtime web will be steadily moving in on the turf once held by blogs and websites. In fact, it’s already happening. This will change all sorts of things. Google definitely sees it coming and is frantically trying to keep up.

          And with Google Wave, they may have a winner.

          I also see a trend of liberal blogs getting more and more policy-wonkish rather than looking at the big picture. Extrapolate on that for months and you might find they no longer are really outsiders. But then, I’m a progressive / radical and see gthe system as needing major changes, not just piecemeal.

  1. Let’s see: they show up regularly on television and radio, publish books, collect advertisement revenue, and beg for donations through pay-pal… yep, the new “insiders”.

    Some of do this for the love of inter-personal communication, the exercise in democracy, all that. And some of us, however marginal, and despite (or in spite of) our non-participation in the aforementioned free-marketry, are seeing an increase, however marginal, in our traffic.

    I think there’s a big difference between “Progressive” and “Liberal”.

    • Liberal bloggers are hugely dedicated. It’s just when you have thousands of dollars a month in costs, starting palling around with DC insiders, you might get sucked into the vortex.

      I used to write for a music magazine. It’s more difficult to slam a new album when you’re pals and friends with the band and the record company people. Not impossible. It’s just gets more complicated.

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