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Coming Soon: Blogging Rehab Centers

If this were beer, I'd be an alcoholic -- Tony Pierce on blogging, quoted in this New York Times article. I see the Times is still dismissing blogging as unimportant. Only now it's not just unimportant, it's a hobby taken up mostly by losers in bathrobes. Ok, ok. Point taken. But not all of us are like that. The author of the article goes a long way around to make blogs appear to be nothing more than a pointless exercise of talking to yourself.
Sometimes, too, the realization that no one is reading sets in. A few blogs have thousands of readers, but never have so many people written so much to be read by so few. By Jupiter Research's estimate, only 4 percent of online users read blogs.
The decidely negative tone of the article left me wondering why? - why would the NYT care enough about blogging to pay someone to write this pointless drivel? Perhaps Bill Quick figured it out:
Total number of internet users: 785,710,022. Four percent of that number: 31,428,400. Total number of NYT readers: Hard to estimate. Print circulation varies from about 1.16 million daily to 1.8 million on Sunday, website page count 1-2 million per day, total readership somewhere in the neighborhood of 4-5 million. Blogs as a whole are more widely read than the New York Times by a factor of seven plus. As for political blogs? Again, hard to say, just as it is hard to quantify the readership NYT's political offerings (OpEd, news, etc.) garner. But N.Z. Bear's The Truth Laid Bear: Weblog Traffic Rankings gives a total daily visitor count for the top fifty ranked political blogs of about 950,000. That certainly puts these top blogs as a whole in the NYT's daily circulation league. It has apparently also put the NYT into a a dress-rending frenzy.
I'm not suggesting the NYT is afraid of bloggers; but I do think the consistently negative articles are something akin to a pre-emptive strike. bq. Indeed, if a blog is likened to a conversation between a writer and readers, bloggers like Mr. Wiggins are having conversations largely with themselves. I beg to differ. Let's use this week as an example. I tried to use posts on a variety of subjects, so one can't refute this by saying that warblogs or techblogs or X variety of blog topics are the exception to the rule. Little Green Footballs: this post had 132 comments. Atrios: this post had 222 comments. Tim Blair: this post had 43 comments. Sheila O'Malley: 55 comments on this post Bambino's Curse: a lot of comments (he doesn't make the count viewable) on this post. Electric Bugaloo: 43 comments on this post. Talking to ourselves? Hardly. What about the blogs without comments? How do we know they aren't just masturbating with words when they blog? Instapundit 110135 visits/day Gizmodo : The Gadgets Weblog 62990 visits/day Volokh Conspiracy 14038 visits/day Tom Tomorrow 13902 visits/day Well, they still might be masturbating - that's none of our business - but the point is - they are not talking to themselves. Far from it. Now, as far as the painted picture of blogger as obsessive, single-minded, anti-social, basement dwelling dweeb, I think that's all just a ruse by the New York Times to put a pathetic face on blogging. I mean, we know that the NYT would never, ever employ someone as sad and delusional as they make bloggers out to be. Right? Ok, I'll grant them one thing: If this were beer, I'd be an alcoholic I'm already worrying that my ISP is cutting my service on Saturday evening, and won't be hooking up the new house until Tuesday. In fact, I feel a panic attack coming on. Good thing I'll be too busy with the move to really think too hard about it. Well, I may see if any of my neighbors are using wireles routers so I can use the laptop to steal their signal. Or I could always go to Starbucks. Or my mom's. Chug that beer. That's right, keep chugging. Oh, it goes down sooo smooth. Quick, give me another. I do have a question for the people over at the paper of record: If blogs are so damn boring and unimportant, why do you keep printing stories about them? Keep the beer flowing, barkeep.

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Comments

They keep printing stories about them because they haven't finished PhotoShopping up another batch of prison torture photos.

I resent your view on this Michele. My blog consists mostly of either (a) me commenting to myself or (b) the same 2 people commenting or © crickets chirping....

Then again, I realize I'm boring. Maybe I should write provocative a$$-fu[<ing stories.....

Of course they are threatened. The people who run blogs are tearing the NYT to shreds every day. It's like death by a thousand cuts.

And everyone who reads blogs is not taking the official NYT story at face value.

This reminds me of a comment made circa 1997 by the CEO of a major telco (AT&T, if memory serves). He said that the Internet was no more of a threat to the incumbent telcos than was ham radio...

Gee, this sounds familiar. Blogs must be run by sorry losers unable to understand the highly nuanced TRUTH*. These bloggers (and the few commenters) must be unable to see the TRUTH* unless we (the media) lead them by the hand to the stories that are REALLY important.

  • The TRUTH of course being well left-of-center....

Thanks for the link! And your points are spot on.

(FYI: My comments thingy is antiquated and broke last year such that it no longer displays the comment count. I've sort of grown to like the "mystery" factor.)

Personally, I can't take anything I read seriously unless I have to register to see it first. Or unless it leaves nice ink smudges on my fingers.

How did they know I was wearing a bathrobe?

think about how long it took the media to realize that rock n roll wasnt a fad.

... even after elvis showed up.

i expect them to dismissing blogging twice as long, particularilly because it exposes them as being far less professional than previously thought.

I don't think real fear has set in yet. Remember, these people, while not inherently stupid, are functionally so on account of ideological blinders and arrogance. As such, they're still in the first stage: denial. Soon we'll get anger. Then fear.

Or is it the other way around? Eh, who cares.

Losers.

If the difference is between a plagarizing, agenda driving, self important rag and a 45 year old virgin who still lives with his mother.

I say comb the sweettarts out of your beard and I'm yours.

Consider that NZ Bear's stats are based on Sitemeter results and for all their good intentions Sitemeter is woefully shy about actually counting hits. Comparing logs against Sitemeter stats on Snooze Button Dreams and Zero Intelligence.net shows that Sitemeter is missing around 40% of my visits.

Bill's figures are even more impressive if you bump the weblog side up by 40% or so.

"First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win."

I figure the NYT is at stage 2.

As a journalist, I have to say, go a bit easier on us little people, for we have money that needs to be made to pay for things. But, yes, as a blogger, I have to admit, the Internet has diminished the "professional" mythos that has been so traditionally embraced by a lot of journalists. Personally, I never bought into that, but I've known plenty who held a "better-than-the-masses" opinion of themselves. I think it's probably horrifying to them that people are actually reading someone besides themselves to get information.

Now, just you all try to keep in mind how awesome I am. That's all I'm asking.

"By Jupiter Research's estimate, only 4 percent of online users read blogs."

The fact that the NYT printed this statistic with no context (i.e., the actual number of online users), while the bloggers are the ones who crunched the numbers to explain how huge the blogosphere's readership actually is, explains everything you want to know about why people prefer blogs.

Especially over the NYT, which is putting on a brave face over its underlying fear.

Best of all, this "beer" is no calories.

Except for the Hershey's bar that's next to the computer.

Well, chips

cookies

But I sometimes have carrots w/tzaziki dip or fruit....

Don't forget to buy the basket....

More important than the absolute numbers is the trend. Blogs are experiencing tremendous growth right now, while the Times' readership has been on a long-term decline. I've worked for companies that are declining and companies that are growing, and believe me, there's no comparison. I've been neglecting Brainster's but Kerry Haters' readership has been growing by leaps and bounds.

I can quit any time! Oh wait, does it count if you quit and then start up a week or so later with a new name and site? Cuz if it does, I'm aces.

The reason the elite print media hates blogs is because the second they print something that doesn't add up as truth, they have a whole army of very smart people (in bathrobes) launch out on the internet and fact check them...
How dare you! Stop it, this minute!

I'll tell you why I think they're writing about it - it's because they're all talking about it. They're gathered 'round the watercooler, saying things like, "damn, I just got busted on that assumption, poor logic, faulty premise (fill in the blank) by another one of those miserable, insignificant bloggers who gets maybe 100 hits per day, and now the ombudsman has received an email from each of that site's readers, and now I look like an idiot.

Then someone else at the watercooler nods sympathetically, and thinks to himself, "hmm. maybe there's a story in here," but of course applies his own cognitive lenses ("did this guy go to Columbia? No!") and you get those kinds of reactions. My 5c.

Wouldn't it be funny if half of the Times's online traffic come from blogs?

Obviously, if the NYT didn't leave so many "news blanks" for the blogosphere to fill in, then the blogs would soon dry up.

But they can't (won't) present all the news that's fit to print....those days are long gone. Welcome to neo-journalism: agenda-driven; politically-biased; deaf to the needs/wants/concerns of the populus.

To paraphrase Wayne and Garth: Blog On! Blog On!

exactly!
this, i thought, was a great parody of people who are constantly writing about the 'novelty' of blogs:
http://www.felixsalmon.com/000279.php

Hey, what about me, Cathy, the military mom that reads blogs because I am searching for the truth. I read Sgt Stryker and all the guys that are right there on the frontlines, I am trying to find the truth, something the NYT has a way of spinning. I don't think you bloggers are losers. I think of you all as an alternative to 'the man'. And you all talk back to little old me, that is when I comment. My momma always told me people call you names when they have something to fear. Watch out here comes the bloggers.

The NYT is full of it. The Urban Farmhouse has only been around for a couple of months, and as near as we can tell, we've got a couple of hundred regular readers. And it's not like we're out there doing a ton of traffic whoring either. Just remember Ghandi's maxim: First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

Wasn't it Michael Bloomberg that said in 96'ish: "The internet is just once of those passing fads"...the old media rareley give credit to any emerging 'new' media...they aren't going to start now...who cares what the NYT has to say?

Wasn't it Michael Bloomberg that said in 96'ish: "The internet is just once of those passing fads"...the old media rarely give credit to any emerging 'new' media...they aren't going to start now...who cares what the NYT has to say?

Bathrobe? This is a nightshirt. And as for talking to myself, why, since I opened comments a week ago I've heard from two different people.

In all fairness, I do have to say that the Denver Press Club President (and journalist) John Ensslin was most welcoming to the band of bloggers that visit the club on Friday night, mingling with the members, etc.

I know of one or two local journalists of moderate import who seem to be rather dismissive of blogs, but when those same people think that there's no bias in their own reporting, I have to wonder where and what kind of drugs they buy.

Overall, though, my limited experience with the press has been largely positive.

Been watching...and reading...these blogs for a while now. Most of the "high profile" bloggers are angry white males, whining and bitching like they always do.

Blogging started out as a cute little fad for 13-year-old girls to share hobbies, like their love of Brittney Spears and Barbie dolls, with their best friends.

Now it's a fad among grown-up boys -- yes, losers in bathrobes (probably unemployed programmers whose oriental wives left them when the paychecks stopped coming in) -- sharing their second-favorite hobby: living vicariously through war mongers, from Rummy to Pat Tillman.

No, blogging is NOT the next big thing; no, blogging is NOT the new journalism; no, blogging is NOT going to save the Internet; and NO, millions of people are not reading your blogs. It's all just a circle jerk.

You boys DO know what a circle jerk is??

Karen, did you once have a blog that no one visited or something? You seem very bitter.

And Michele, I notice that on your blog you seem to have failed to mention that you are, in fact, an unemployed male programmer in a bathrobe with a mail-order bride. For shame, you and your secrets!

Nope, never had a blog. Don't want one. Was probably 12 years old when I first heard that old axiom equating opinions with assholes...

Meanwhile, go back and read my post. I used the word "most" in the sentence referring to high-profile blogs.

Spongebob PJ bottoms, here.

They need to improve their research.

Wow Karen...what crawled up your arse and died?

You obviously know nothing about most of the top bloggers do you? Bet if you bothered to do some research you would know how wrong you really are...

Nope, never had a blog. Don't want one.

It's far easier to go on other people's blogs and tell them how much they and the entire format sucks.

Was probably 12 years old when I first heard that old axiom equating opinions with assholes...

You might want to keep in mind the axiom when spouting your opinions, Karen.

Blogger rehab isn't so bad, really. I have gotten in touch with my higher power, came to believe that a power greater than myself could restore me to sanity, made a searching and fearless moral inventory of those people I had harmed through my addiction, and made amends to those people, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Nobody told me about the weight gain and the sudden addiction to sweets, though.