« In Between Molecules of Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide | Main | Annual Horror Movie Survey- With a Twist »

Post-RatherGate Thoughts on Blogging

[This gets the pure, unadulterated rant warning] Paul at Wizbang:
It was my adventure debunking Professor Hailey that lead me to an epiphany. I no longer what to be called a blogger and neither should you.
We are not bloggers, We are independent, peer reviewed journalists.
No, Paul. No we are not. There are some bloggers who dabble in journalism. There are some bloggers who definitely are pure journalists. And there are bloggers who think that posting about one breaking news item makes them a reporter. I'm sensing a sea change in blogging, courtesy of RatherGate. Suddenly, blogging is in the Era of the Scoop. Everyone wants to break a story, everyone wants the Drudge link, everyone wants to Make A Difference. RatherGate was heady stuff; many bloggers saw their site stats double or quadruple. Ad revenues increased as bloggers raised their prices in accordance with their new site visit numbers. And the feel of the right side of the blogosphere changed, nearly overnight. I've been at this for almost four years. So it's a bittersweet thing for me to see blogging being recognized by big media as a viable source of information, to see bloggers taken seriously as sources. The new guard of bloggers are taking off. The old guard (i.e, Kottke), well they took off a long time ago. And some of us are standing here looking back and looking forward and wondering when it was that we let the bus pass us by. Or maybe not so much that we let it pass as much as it just zoomed on by without stopping. I wasn't really part of RatherGate (I was on hiatus when the story broke). I just reposted links and threw my personal opinion in the mix, so I'm not crying about being left off that bandwagon. I never made the attempt to really hook myself onto it. But as I watch that bandwagon roll on without me, I wonder what it's taking with it. As other's stats have risen, mine have dropped. I get less comments, less repeat visits, less emails. If the face of blogging has changed in the last month, then I'm still wearing the old face. And for that, I'm struggling to even make the relatively inexpensive price I charge for ads justifiable. I's not just me. I've talked to several high profile bloggers who see a dark sort of change happening in this end of the blogosphere. What has Rathergate wrought? Well, it's wrought a need for some people to find that elusive scoop that will propel them to further heights. With the adrenaline of Rathergate still in their veins, they are making a heady, if understandable, attempt to keep the sugar rush going and I don't think they are being very careful about what they are consuming in the process. Sour grapes? Perhaps. In the age of Wonkette and $500 a month blogads, maybe I'm just chewing on a bit of jealousy. It's funny that it used to be the variety of subjects here that attracted my readers. Someone said to me yesterday that that same variety is probably what's driving them away now. The blogosphere - or at least this end of it - has become a tunnel of sorts. It's the same thing on every blog and that's really not supposing given that there's a presidential election happening in thirty days. I'm doing my own share of electioneering. It's been bugging me for a few days, this feeling as if something has changed or something is missing and I figured it out today: fun. Not long ago it was fun to run through my blogroll. I got a few good laughs along with the news and opinions. I read about politics and war alongside funny anecdotes or amusing stories that had nothing to do with whatever was on the front page of the paper that day. And yet, blogging is at it's pinnacle. The word "blog" has been spoken so many times on the evening news in the past month that's I no longer have to explain to people what a blog is. There are bloggers with pieces in the New York Post. They are on tv, on the radio, linked in online mainstream media stories. So I guess my dismay comes from the fact that blogging is reaching a peak - in recognition, credibility, stats and money-making - when I think it's at it's worst. I'm seeing people that are straining to hold onto the post-Rather stats and the rush that came with them and it makes me uncomfortable in sort of the same way that watching someone make a horrible mistake in a movie does; I just want to turn it off until that part is over and hope that when I turn it back on, everything's worked out. No matter how negative I feel, I'll keep writing here, anyhow, because I'm trying to rediscover what made this fun for me to begin with. Oh, no. I'm not going off on that "I'm done talking about politics!" tangent again. Nor am I thinking of quitting. I happened to catch the tailwind of the Rather stats push and it made me way too aware of my audience. I'm much happier when I forget there's actually an audience out there. That's not an insult to you. It's hard to explain, but it's not. Paul's words again: I no longer what to be called a blogger and neither should you. We are not bloggers, We are independent, peer reviewed journalists Nope. I am a blogger. As a blogger and not an independent, peer reviewed journalist, I am able to write about what I had for lunch or my broken coffee pot without feeling as if I'm breaking some journalistic standard. I am blogger, hear me roar. About hot dogs, about the war in Iraq, about the state of pop music, about my noisy neighbors, about the election, about the way Saran Wrap won't stick to Tupperware, about my job, my kids, my life, Iran, Andy Rooney, education reform, crappy computer speakers and why I hate the circus. Roaring into empty space, perhaps. But still roaring.

TrackBack

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Post-RatherGate Thoughts on Blogging:

» The 10 Spot from Wizbang
Ten things you might not have seen on the wondrous interweb... Dean Esmay interviews SwiftVet Van Odell, who served as a gunner's mate in the same unit as John Kerry and who served with him longer than anyone else did... [Read More]

» I am a blogger of one from Right Thoughts
Michele nails it again. Paul's words again: I no longer what to be called a blogger and neither should you. We are not bloggers, We are independent, peer reviewed journalists Nope. I am a blogger. As a blogger and not an independent, peer reviewed... [Read More]

» And You Better Smile When You Call Me That from LeatherPenguin
I like Wizbang a whole bunch, but count me in with Michele. If Paul wants to call himself an "independent, peer reviewed journalist," go ahead, good luck with it. To... [Read More]

» Beware the Power from Game the World
Thanks to Michele at A Small Victory for helping the idea break through to daylight. In the wake of Danron (I still think that anythinggate is officially cliche) some bloggers are starting to show way more pride than is warranted. Michele, like myself,... [Read More]

» We Be Bloggers from PoliBlog
Not to pile on Paul (who is being satrical, btw) I agree with Michele, I like being a blogger. While I think it is possible that bloggers might do actual reporting, we aren't, collectively, primarily such--and even blogs which end up doing actua... [Read More]

» I Am Asshole, Hear Me Roar from Espresso Sarcasm
Caught up on a few of the "playas" in the blogosphere and see that Rathergate has caused a minor journalistic backlash against bloggers. ...mostly I'm just a caffeine-addicted, alcohol-loving, misanthrope. Or as I was told this weekend: an asshole. [Read More]

» Quotes and Links of the Day from FlashBang
Logic to liberals is like a bra to men. It's sumpin' that gets in the way of sumpin' they want. They know what it is, they just have no use for it. GOC "Bush, your response," Lehrer prompted. A glass of water struck Kerry in the face. ... [Read More]

» http://www.allahpundit.com/archives/001048.html from Allah Is In The House
So there you go. As expected, the mystery object was completely innocuous. I hope all the NRO readers who took time to harangue Geraghty for his use of good judgment are e-mailing him now to apologize. And I hope we... [Read More]

» http://www.allahpundit.com/archives/001048.html from Allah Is In The House
So there you go. As expected, the mystery object was completely innocuous. I hope all the NRO readers who took time to harangue Geraghty for his use of good judgment are e-mailing him now to apologize. And I hope we... [Read More]

» Election Blues from Right On Red
I wonder if a combination of lawsuit fears, election fatigue, and the post-Rathergate blues may be setting in for some bloggers. [Read More]

» God this Small Victory Post is so good... from ISOU
Michelle, I feel you. I know exactly where you are coming from. And I found myself nodding my head as I read your post. Thanks for sending me there JW. Today has been one of the rough ones for me.... [Read More]

» A Response to Fear and Contempt for the New Paradigm from INDC Journal
Note: This is family business between bloggers; new readers to the medium won't necessarily appreciate this post, so just ignore it. I'll address this post as if it at least largely addresses me, because aside from a select few other... [Read More]

» Natural blogging from Simon World
Michele eloquently and accurately pops the latest blogging bubble. Her premise is simple: that the very moment blogging is getting wide exposure, blogging is also reaching a low point. While I agree with her sentiments I can see a silver lining in the ... [Read More]

» She Left Blogging For A While.... from The Moderate Voice
and now she's proud to be back. She's back. So some folks need to be afraid -- very afraid (but many readers, even many who don't agree with everything she says, are happy she's back in unadulterated strength). A role [Read More]

» Looking beyond Rathergate and WizbangGate from Loaded Mouth
David at ISOU pointed me towards A Small Victory and Michele's thoughts on blogs in the Post-Rathergate world ... Michele is exactly correct here, at least about her side of the blogosphere. [Read More]

» Still Blogging from JimSpot
Paul at Wizbang: It was my adventure debunking Professor Hailey that lead me to an epiphany. I no longer what... [Read More]

» "Dammit, Jim, I'm a blogger, not a miracle worker!" from The LLama Butchers
Michele Catalano is brooding, and you know that means hilarious wrath is about to be rained down on some unsuspecting but deserving souls. Is the blogosphere undergoing the tragedy that beset the hip-hop world when it was riven by an... [Read More]

» Some Quick Notes from ISOU
Boyd Points out that Bill from INDC has written a sort of response to Michelle's post from yesterday. As usual, the piece is well written, thought out and ballanced. I rarely agree with Bill, but He has always impressed me... [Read More]

» Some Quick Notes from ISOU
Boyd Points out that Bill from INDC has written a sort of response to Michelle's post from yesterday. As usual, the piece is well written, thought out and ballanced. I rarely agree with Bill, but He has always impressed me... [Read More]

» Some Quick Notes from ISOU
Boyd Points out that Bill from INDC has written a sort of response to Michelle's post from yesterday. As usual, the piece is well written, thought out and ballanced. I rarely agree with Bill, but He has always impressed me... [Read More]

» Blog, Monkey! from The LLama Butchers
Sorry about the dearth of posts today. I've actually been quite busy. Also, we're still fiddling about with this week's Bonfire of the Vanities, which should be up in a while. Patience, my Preciousssssss....... In the meantime, bravo to Steve... [Read More]

» Texas: A Frostback Reports from The Fat Guy
When a blogger titles a post "Bad Blogger", it's a sure sign for an even worse guest blogger to step... [Read More]

» Enemablog from Simon World
After a sabbatical (and just in time for Shabbat) I've resurrected the weekly linkefst to various interesting links from the wider blogosphere, as promised. Enjoy your weekend... * Where's Bill? As Paul says, it's like a ghost town in there. * There wa... [Read More]

» The Anti-Blog from Ilyka Damen
If I resume posting regularly that's what this is going to become, I think: The Anti-Blog. I know you all think I've been doing nothing but playing Sims 2 lately and, well, you're partly right. There have also been some... [Read More]

» Tin Foil Time: Coming Bush Impeachment from The Sparse Matrix

With all the talk of blogger burnout out there, I'm sitting here

[Read More]

Comments

First, Glad has made a new wrap that is sticky and clings to everything. Go buy a roll.

Second, I am most definitely a blogger. The only think I 'break' on my blog is wind. I post pictures of my cat(s) and write funny crap that sometimes entertains people, sometimes not.

This is something I feared right at the beginning of RªtherGªte, that bloggers would let it get to their head and before you know it, they have become the establishment they once despised.

Just wait. In a year you'll be reading posts about bloggers who are upset that someone dares to fact-check them.

you blog, we will read! I like your blog the way it is and will continue to read what you write. As I think many others will do as well.

Yeah, the scoopism bothers me too.

Bloggers are missing the deep stories and the insights to run with the crowd and be part of the scoop of the day.

Bloggers are starting to feel, first hand, a feeling of power, but that feeling is one of the factors that corrupts the MSM.

Amen! I like to bitch about politics and complain about the news and point out the wrong in things. But I equally enjoy, if not more so, my movie reviews and my television addiction entries. I, like you and many others who love to do this, do not want or welcome the idea of being referred to as journalist.

I have written on everything from vienna sausages to John Kerry's botox. I have a running set of entries on the hysteria known as the "tampon" market and the "Ranch Dressing Conspiracy". It is life blogging.

"Peer reviewed" or not, wankers are still wankers, and that post of Kevin's is wanking at its most self-abosrbed. Peer review means that a piece is reviewed before publication, not that someone named "Armed Liberal" (not to pick on AL, but it is an example of a pseudonym) links and approves or refutes or otherwise comments on a "story" (aka blog entry).

I looked at Kevin's stats...they're pretty healthy for a blogger, but a far cry from the 2.something million he recorded in May, no doubt to a huge link from someone or other Much Bigger than blogging. I wonder where they'll be post-election.

Well actually I don't wonder...other than that one visit, I won't bother with his blog again but will continue to read yours daily.

My journalism professor was talking about it today. He compared it to the state of journalism after Woodward helped bring down Nixon. Everybody wanted to be an investigative reporter.

Um- it was mostly satire if you read the whole post.

My point was that while the MSM say there is not a system of checks and balances, there is- and it is the same used in academia.

Well said, and it needed to be said. Bloggers are journalists in the same way that people playing Madden 2005 are football coaches. You get to do all the fun stuff without putting up with any of the crap that goes along with it. Your "peers" aren't journalists either, they're your peanut gallery that you play to.

Meanwhile, most of us plug along in anonymity, and have fun at it. If you're not enjoying blogging, you should be bowling or something.

Wait six weeks, and most of the political blogs will go "poof". Some of the ones on the losing side might continue on as a place for their side to bitch about the current administration, the way that Rush did during the Clinton years, but the party's almost over.

"...the party's almost over."

Thank God!

Don't worry, michele. This is a phase. How will it sustain after the election?

Stay yourself, don't jump on any bandwagons.

The blogs devoted to 'getting a candidate in' will evaporate, those that have followed politcs in general and the issues, not just the race for the whitehouse, will continue to operate - although I thnk at lesser readership levels. Something will come along after Nov 2 and there will be a whole new slew of blogs that follow it. The internet is like short attention span theater. People are only interested in what everyone is doing and saying until something else comes by, then like lemmings they all follow the shiny new blogs - for a while. Wash rinse repeat.

I don't mind the title "Citizen Journalist" myself, but I started blogging in late 2002 and there was this whole (anti corporate, indie) idea of the "independent web," which sure does exist. There are plenty of bloggers who don't care about things we care about, and vice versa.

Blogging of the kind Paul speaks is basically distributed computing on a human level. It lets people coordinate towards journalistic efforts that otherwise won't come through without the connections.

I'm not afraid of the headrush that many bloggers may feel about Rathergate. That will evaporate once the more irresponsible bloggers get faced with libel and defamation suits and get run out of the internet. And no, it's not the Wizbang trio; they've done quite a good job at behaving well within what I think are The Limits. I'm not referring to anyone in particular with the phrase "irresponsible bloggers" but you and I both know they're there, somewhere, and one day they will make a mistake.

Independant Peer Reviewed Journalists? Shit, last week we were all wearing pajamas and being computer dorks. Whatever. If you think about it though, it makes sense. Hasn't that always been the standing accusation against bloggers: Deep down, they're all just attention-seeking egomaniacs with so much crap to say that they actually have to write it down and post it on the internet, just in case you haven't yet had the priviledge of hearing it from them in person. I hate those kind of people, they're always so self-important. It's weird, you get this sense just from reading their blog that they see themselves as the ruler of their own little kingdom, passing down peices of sage wisdom, political strategy, and philosophical insight. There's a guy that comes to mind: Gideon's Trumpet. I wish he'd take his trumpet and sit on it.

Anyways, I think there will always be this element in blogging. However, there will always be the normal, interesting, entertaining folks who post on a number of subjects. Thankfully, many more of these come to mind.

My blog is first and foremost for me. I write to amuse myself and about what interests me. If that interest happens to coincide with the blog buzz of the day, well whatever. My hits go up and that amuses me too.

To this day the most read and commented post on my blog was written in the first few days. I think it was also the first post in which I figured out how to include a link!

Despite having a journalism degree somewhere in a box in the garage - I am a blogger.

For what it's worth I visit here a few times a week just because of the lighthearted style and wit. You're doing a fine job, stay with it.

A man can't live off of political whining and the 3rd world war alone.

And hey, it's nice to know someone is reading your work so enjoy what traffic you get. The "google index bots" make up the bulk of my traffic, they really don't say much but at least theyre intelligent.

:)

I promise to check inn with you every day because,if nothing else,your tune recommendations are faboolicious!And,another thing,nothing sounds so sweeeet as "the blogs of the boobathon".

Michele-

I think what you are seeing is the growth, maturing, fragmentation and natural progression of the medium. I’ll never forget a quote that Glenn Reynolds made quite a while ago when a reader wrote to him (I’m paraphrasing) “I come to your site the first thing every day to catch up on the news”, to which Glenn responded, “no, I’m not a news service. I’m a blogger and I sometimes offer my opinions with links to other opinions I believe support me.” I believe Glenn’s opinion is spot on.

There are serious news and political junkies out there who fact check so well because as, lawyers or professional journalists, that’s their training and their stock in trade. Powerline, Michele Malkin and many others come to mind. This is the “professional connection” – and I use that term loosely - of the blogospere. These folks have picked up the mantle from Clueless, LGF and, even to a large extent, Glenn Reynolds. I mean to take nothing away from the latter, these folks (and you, Michele) started and built blogs that have always had credibility, the most important facet of the blogophere’s success now and into the future. If blog pioneers had been a gaggle of raving lunatics, the blogosphere would not be what it is today.

As for me, I don’t want the scoops or the mega-readership. My blog is an outlet, mostly for me, but sometime for a few like-minded readers who occasionally stop in. If I ever want to cast a wider net, I’ll take a job in the “business”.

People have short attention spans. Many will find that they do not have the time, ability and or are unwilling to make the effort to build and maintain their blogs.

Ride it out and you'll see that blogs start disappearing.

Amusing. :)

I blogged about Rathergate. I also blogged about my garage door getting stuck, how vending machines are trying to kill me, and how I was wounded when my dog farted.

I'm letting the journalistic blogger bus go on, too. I already have a full time job. Blogging (for me, anyway) is for fun. :)

Besides, when's the last time Connie Chung said "And if you donate money, I will show you my boobies"?

The thing is that politics is simply just a part of life. Just like my mother's birthday, or Steve's cheesecake recipe or Michele's Boobs for charity or Sheila's love of the movies. Blogging is not about current events, it's about life. What's going on in your life? What are you feeling? Where did the cat poop this time? Why do the Miami Dolphins suck? How many beers did you have at happy hour last Friday?

These are all things that make up our lives. I enjoy reading about Michele's new home just as much as I enjoy reading her rant about Ted Rall. It's all about communicating directly with others. About going over to a persons blog everyday and hanging out with them by reading. Imagine your blogroll as your neighborhood and each blog is a friends house that you drop by everyday and have a cup of coffee with. You talk, have a danish, laugh about some stupidity or another, discuss politics, sports, how much you hate the Yankees.

Each person with each blog has his or her strength. Some are fine journalists, some are excellent writers, others are great at BS. If I want to see a report on protestors in DC Ill go to Bills place, if I want to get a good recipe for brownies Ill go to Steves and if I want to see photos of flowers ill go to Jeromes.

Im certainly not going to drop everything and chase down politicians or experts or reporters to get a scoop. If I would have wanted to be a repoter, I would have become one. There are bloggers out there who chose to do the reporting, so, let them report. If it interests me Ill read it, if not, I wont.

Im just a Cuban-American dude living in Miami with a little slice of net space. And thats fine by me.

What Val said.

However, two more thoughts cross my mind. First, the bloggers who have got completely swept up in Rathergate mania, who really do think they're The Next Big Thing, could be falling into the same trap the MSM went down 30 years ago. Ever since Watergate, they've ALL wanted to be Woodward and Bernstein. They all wanted to shape the news rather than report it. For a few that might be possible, but for most that really means doing neither and thus losing their credibility in the process. Am I saying that's happened with bloggers already? No, I don't think so, but I do think it's very possible.

The second thought ties into that, and it's about the psychology of a bandwagon. Suddenly, blogs are big, really big, and everybody knows what they are, and wants in on a piece of the action, if only to have a little of the magic of publicity rub off vicariously, second- or third- or fourthhand. There's nothing that this reminds me of more than the tech-stock bubble, and it's an iron law that bubbles burst (and a collolary that most people invariably forget that they do). When they do, the market shakes itself out: most of the good stuff survives--at discounted prices, admittedly, which can be good or bad depending on whether you're buying or selling--but most of the hyped-up garbage vanishes as if without trace.

Me, I'm waiting for the market in this horribly overwrought analogy to bottom before I get in. And I have a feeling you'll still be around when I do.

I agree with VHMPrincess, I enjoy reading whatever a blogger writes about. To be truthful, I liked blogs so much, I stopped working on my own site long ago...

This reminds me of that great Cox and Forkum cartoon:

http://www.coxandforkum.com/archives/000119.html

M, you left and a lot of people might not know you're back. Plus, you really didn't want to talk politics and that's what's happening right now.

I didn't know yo were back until I read someone else. I had delinked you.

Maybe you need to get the word out.

I never read Wonkette. Not my style.

I blog about my life, and about my opinions, and I could really care less if people want to see me as anything more than rumblings.

Rathergate passed me by without so much as a post.

I didn't jump on the bandwagon in any form, since I saw everyone else doing it and I had no need to be a tagalong. I link to many of the other bloggers that were posting on the issue, so I didn't need to cover it myself.

As to your site, I visit you every day, and oftentimes multiple times in a given day. You're one of the best bloggers that I've had the pleasure of reading and I hope to have the luxury of reading your writings for a long time to come.

Michelle,

I like the scattershot nature of your blog. It's one of the reasons I keep coming back.

On my blogroll the description of your blog is "defies catigorization" and that pretty much sums it up.

RE: the post that startyed the rant: I think that the scoopmania that caught the media after Watergate is one of the sources of its downfall.

Anyhoo, keep up the great work. :)

Michele, I'm not a blogger, just a humble reader/lurker. But I come back every single day (I came even when you were on hiatus) because I love the fact that your blog is a slice-of-life. I only go to Wizbang if he gets linked by Glenn or Allah or Jeff G. or VP or Ace ... but I come back to those guys and to you every day. Please, don't be discouraged, and don't stop doing what you're doing.

Once the election is over, the readership of the solely-politically-driven blogs will drop off, because it'll be back to real life again. And it's when we're dealing with real life that blogs like yours are exactly what we need. :)

Thanks for what you do!

Ya know...I got tired of blogging.. I am now an independent, peer reviewed commentor. And happy at:-)

I hate the circus, too. It's the clowns. Thanks for writing about the mundane & the ordinary as well as the timely & topical. You have some gems in there...

I read ASV daily for the same reason I read Lileks or Treacher: I never know what's gonna be on tap, but I know it's always gonna be quality.

Hear! Hear! I'm all for Paul and the others who've taken the tangent toward "real" news, but I blog almost solely as an outlet for my opinions, and whatever feedback they generate. I don't do whimsy, I don't do humor, and I don't do news.

I enjoy all three however, and there's a wealth of each available, well, everywhere. Lots of opinion, too.

Some of it's even good, and worth repeat visit. For that reason, I'm glad to hear that you're not again thinking of tossing it in.

Scattershot? Whatever - keep up the good work.

But after the election you will still have readers who want to see what you think, many of the election and political blogs will fade as the public looses interest in politics.

Many commenters have said it, but the growth of some of these other blogs over you is only temporary. I read Kevin and "the boys" for their opinions not for their journalism. I read Allah, Bill at INDC, Ace and Jeff G. much more for their humor than anything else.

I don't mind their rise in the blogosphere, but the day Wonkette passes you on NZ Bear's Ecosystem is the day I lose hope in the future of all humanity. (If only the demigod Reynolds would stop frickin' linking her!!)

"Roaring into empty space"? No. Never. I know what you mean about feeling like it's easier to just WRITE if you don't imagine the specific audience - I have the same thing.

I come here every day and my attitude is (like it is with most of the bloggers I visit on a daily basis):

"Wonder what's going on in Michele's life today."

Thanks, as always, for sharing what's going on with you ... It's always interesting.

1. Blogging is a medium - you can do journalism, or not.

2. Pursuing scoops is how you can get burned - ask Bill at INDC with the "NoteGate" story. He jumped to conclusions - which causes less harm when a blogger does it than big media, but you still feel like crap when you run a story like that.

3. Michele, your traffic's off because of the hiatus and, yes, the fact that there's less of the election madness here. But you'll still be trucking.

4. Everyone's got their own rythms. My traffic's taken off due to new political readers; I hope the old baseball crowd is still there when the election ends.

5. I'd agree that there's a lot less fun lately. This election matters, and by now even most of the more public fence-sitters have committed themselves emotionally to victory. Remember, it was a lot less fun in the month or three leading up to the Iraq war, too. When big things are at stake, people get on edge. It'll be better once the election passes, after some time for the losing side to lick its wounds.

I'll concur with Crank's #1. I kind of consider the blogosphere (doesn't that sound like one of the retired rides in Disneyland's Tomorrow Land? Early 60's ad with Dad Mom Junior and Sis, standing in awe at the entrance, toothy smiled Disney Hostess waving them in under the sign "Experience the adventure of Alternative Space ... Ride Blogosphere.. sponsored by Monsanto" ... er, ok, big digression there) as the electronic version of the magazine rack at Barnes and Noble. There's something for everyone, including niche interests (which is how the Killian Memo Affair got blown ..who knew someone like Joseph Newcomer, PhD was out there, with his own blog, too). Some may, indeed, be citizen-journalists, and "stringers" will feed them stories and info to carry on the alternative media that readers can add to their daily news mix. However, most will remain modest endeavors, the best surviving and thriving.

Why do I blog? Because it's fun. It's a great way for me to not scream at the TV, not annoy co-workers and have every "letter to the editor" I write published here-and-now. :-)

And lordy, after the political stuff dies down, I have some great stories from where I work (district attorney's office) that I just haven't had a chance to write about! (Bob in the Box will be first)

I pay for it out of my own pocket right now, just as I've done community theatre for free. Because, at the moment, it's an avocation not a vocation. I kinda like the freedom that gives me.

Michele, if you're back, I'm back. I never had much to say on your blog, but I've always enjoyed reading it - I recommended your post on Baby Songs to a friend just the other day. The only reason I haven't been contributing to your site count was that I thought you were closed down for September. Or maybe even for good.

If you'll promise not to go away, except for a properly announced vacation, I'll put you back on my favorites list.

I'm glad you're still a blogger.

Blogging as new wave journalism? Yeah, if it floats their boats and they feel comfortable telling themselves that in the mirror, g'head, have a nut.

There's as many reasons to blog as there are bloggers. Some to 'get it out', some to feel the attention (to the point they must make a daily excuse for not putting up the 'usual' amopunt of pithy content that a breathless readership is frantically hitting the F5 key to drink in). Others probably feel that sense of 'power', in seeing their activities ripple out into the larger world, making a difference.

In a lot of cases, I think it more boils down to the same reason a dog licks itself...because it's possible.

Been through a lot of the phases you mentioned...attention seeking, search for validation, self satisfaction, and a sense of "impact". Then burnout, apathy, and no real motivation to do it because such feelings have a tendency to be the large pin in that baloon known as 'fun', and it sort of takes on the palor of 'work'. And most folks, I'm guessing, don't start this to be a job, to hit the 'big time', or strike it rich. At least I didn't - it was more along the lines of the dog reason, and the sense of 'hey, how cool is THAT!'

I somewhat take umbrage at the entire bloggers as the new journos association...bloggers are bloggers - and I'm happy to be a blogger. There's no call to be insulting by applying the 'journalist' label with a very broad brush - particularly with what behaviour the word has so often been shown to include as acceptable. Not that some bloggers don't occaisionally act the part of the ass now and again.

I'm not so sure I'd make too much of the latest round of examples of the Warhol dictum - shooting stars, perhaps? A week or month of hot stats doesn't make it a race to be won.

One year, wo years, three years on - who's hot, who's not will always be a topic of interest...in the segment not usually shown in primetime, in the category of who's still here, the winners will be.....?

And the stats will continue to creep upward. For everyone, as the concept of the blogosphere, and the discovery of corners of the net outside the AOL cocoon begin to grow amongst the millions of surfers online...it's inevitable. As the blog posts multiply, and the sheer probability of blog entry being returned in the upper levels of a Google entered search string increases, it becomes inevitable.

So what? We're all gonna do just what we want to anyhow.

And that's just fine.

(now that...that is how to ramble and wander aimlessly...)

Michele,

What can I say after all those comments?

Just keep up the good work; you write, we read.

Lysander

This is where being a real old timer gives some good perspective. My heyday rolled out when the newsbloggers rolled in. I could have made the jump, but that wouldn't have been the blogging I enjoyed. I'm now comfortably settled in my own little niche, with a steady but small diet of traffic and a nice base of regular readers (I was thrilled to see some 20 something people de-lurk on my de-lurking day). When the big seachange rolls in, you either roll with it or get used to being a smaller fish in a bigger pond.

And here I always try to refrain from sending you a lot of e-mails, due to visions of an over-stuffed inbox and a mom trying desperately to make it to the baseball game on time. ;-)

"Do it like nobody's watching" isn't only good advice for dancing. Blog as long as you have things you want to say, and don't worry about stats and such. Hell, I can count my stats on my fingers (probably on one hand), but I kinda like having a means of communication with the rest of the world, however few of the buggers ever actually find their way to it. I'll post whatever I see fit, without the approval of either the anti-blog OR the pro-blog police.

As far as bloggers claiming to be journalists, it does smack to me of becoming exactly what you hate. Journalistic blogging is sort of like distributed computing - it can bring enormous power to bear on certain specific types of problems, but that does not imply that each individual machine in a distributed network of thousands of computers is its own little mainframe. It's just one puny box - the power only comes from large numbers of them being harnessed to work toward a common goal. Those with visions of grandeur will see their fanciful notions come crashing down sooner or later.

You're damn good at what you do, Michele. Don't even look at the stupid statistics - just write about whatever it pleases you to write about.

Actually - I'd hope that you're happier when you're not overly concious of us (the audience) when you write - 'cause then you can take joy in writing, for it's own sake.

Bravo - and keep up the good writing. I've been a long-time reader, occasional commenter, and I've even stooped to dropping change into your pay-pal account and/or popping something from your e-bay wishlist, in the interest of keeping you writing.

Write for the love of it - and your devoted fans will keep reading.

Well, for what it's worth, during Rathergate I blogged about a persistent malevolent cactus spine imbedded in my footpad. Just to, you know, lend, balance to the genre.

Spot on! I just stumbled into the blogosphere this fall and it had nothing to do with RatherGate. I was tracking down a story about a Marine nominated for a Congressional Medal of Honor and ended up in BLACKFIVE (a great blog, by the way) and got hooked via BLACKFIVE's blog roll.
It is cool that blogs are getting some attention and that SOMEONE, ANYONE is double checking those fools on the network news, but some folks need a serious reality check.
This ain't journalism and if it were, I wouldn't be here. I like the sharing and community and sometimes down right nonsense.
Soon the bubble will burst and those who are in it for the money, fame, literary or journalistic rewards will fade away and it will be back to those who are doing it because its fun and entertaining and sometimes really informative.

Alexander

Roar away! I still want to take you out for lunch or dinner the next time I'm in NYC (dunno if I'd be able to afford to spring for the whole family, darnit).

During the Gold Rush, not everybody was mining and panning for gold. Some people sold them equipment, hats, boots, mules... all of which were secondhand, purchased from those who had given up and headed back East or settled into non-mining professions.

Just a thought.

As blogs go establishment and become old media, the power will shift one level lower to the blog commenters. Ultimately, the finest independent peer-reviewed journalists will be those who post on posts. America will no longer look to CBS or Instapundit for its news, but will watch its presidents rise and fall upon the word of anonymous trolls who give phony e-mail addresses.

I wanted to post something just like this, but I got sidetracked by an artichoke dip recipe and Leif Garrett. Don't ask.

Anyway, well said. I was feeling kind of down today, but now I know I'm not alone. And as I said in a comment somewhere on my site, "citizen journalists" are a flash in the pan; but bunny jokes are forever.

I'm ambivalent about this citizen journalism thing. Apologies for always thinking like an economist but people are getting confused between the technology of the medium and what actually gets done with the medium.
Any media that allow humans to communicate will be a sure fire hit. Usenet, telephones, cellphones, message texting, airplanes, telegraphs, telegrams, postal services, the invention of language itself, even kaffe klatches. Humans love to gossip, to swap views, it's one of the defining characteristics of the species. Blogging is simply another step towards making such communication cheap and ubiquitous. Whatever people do about scoops, reporting, journalism, people are going to continue to use the technology to simply pass the time of day chatting and telling stories until something else beter comes along.
I tend to regard this blog as the equivalent of a backyard fence, a place in which the various trivial and not so issues of the day get chewed over. As I say, that's what humans do, so we could regard this ASV as a simple expression of humanity. I regard my own as similar although subtly different. I'm male and from a different culture (slightly) so I regard mine as more like pontificating from the corner stool in a bar(the major difference being that in real life I clear the place and with blogging I'm able to reach those 3 people worldwide who want to listen), similarly chewing over the issues of the day just focusing on slightly different issues and with a more, how shall we put it, male (?) attitude to language and insult.
Again, that's just what people do. (BTW, I'm not suggesting that there is a male/female split on anything more than propensity to find certain things or modes of expression interesting. The variation amongst women and amongst men is wider than the average difference between men and women.)
Where does the economics come in? That's in that small part of the usage of this new medium that does attempt to do journalism, or if you prefer, reporting. It was Hayek who pointed out that information is distributed. He went on to point out that this meant that so should decision mking. That's not really my point here. The 3-5 million people who blog will, on absolutely any subject one cares to think of, know more than absolutely any group of people gathered by a media organisation.
Sometimes this is trivial (I once picked up a mistake by the Daily Telegraph in their reporting on a metal, scandium, and as I know more about the market for it than anyone else was able to both correct the story and make significant money) and sometimes it is non-trivial, Powerline, LGF, INDC and the rest about Rathergate. This Hayekian view of the blogosphere does not mean that the more basic human communications aspect will disappear. There will be more rathergates, more instances where the distributed nature of information makes fools of those who rely upon a centralised structure.
That has nothing to do with how people will react to ASV's provision of the virtual backyard fence nor mine of the bar stool.
My only remaining worry is that if I should actually start to get BlogAds I'll have enough $ for that fourth beer of an evening and will start falling off.

For me, I have always looked at blogs as a sort of electronic water cooler. The topics of "conversation" may be varied, but will generally gravitate towards something big that is currently going on.

When you approach the water cooler, as you see who is there, often you'll already know what the topic will be. "Groan. There's Bob. He's been talking all week about the debates. Maybe I don't need water after all." Or..."Cool, there's Mary. I missed Survivor last night, she will catch me up."

When it get's beyond that then it's a news service a la Command Post...and any newspaper editor will tell you that the scoop has a life cycle. It's the steady, quality day to day stuff that keeps the customers coming back.

"Everyone wants to break a story, everyone wants the Drudge link, everyone wants to Make A Difference." - Michele

Not me. I just want to make fun of shit on the 'Net.

And now I think I'll go make fun of Paul. ;)

My coverage of Rathergate pretty much consisted of "Go read Power Line or INDC or...". I'm not that much of a political blogger anyway, I'm a war blogger. ;)

After 7 months of chasing the big crowd, our Kerry Haters blog is finally within sniffing distance of the top 100 on TTLB, but it is also doomed to die after the election (assuming Kerry does not win), and I gotta say, I'm looking forward to going back to blogging on baseball, football, comic books and less serious things on Brainster's to my monster audience of maybe 20 visitors on a busy day.

I know exactly what you mean about the sugar rush of the big story. Kerry Haters got much more attention than we expected from Christmas in Cambodia, but it became just like smack to a junkie; I kept wanting the 40% growth to continue and starting posting more "hard" stories as compared to my goofy photo captions.

Some of that was real journalism - hunting down a lead, running it to the ground, uncovering clues. The medium of the blog doesn't make it minor league, just as everything the MSM spits up isn't gold.

The media leviathan is based on a fairly new (& false) commodity: that the News of the Day is relevant & impt to our lives. Most of it's just out of context tragedies & empty sound bites.

Now with WWW & blogging, it's the news of the nanosecond, even less meaningful! I did a blogger roundup last month, so had to pull on my waders & slog thru a lot of sites. Most were DIRE: 20 pages of SwiftVets followed by 50 pages of Danron, every twitch, tic, & tremor.

This is taking the worst aspects of MSM to the nth degree. It's going thru an Art Museum with a magnifying glass: what's the point? If people think that's going to take them somewhere, good luck; I'm happy being a platypus. (Blogger in-joke)

I started reading Andrew Sullivan after 9/11, & that to me was blogging at its best: pointing to analyses & essays that were deeper & meatier than anything the MSM could offer, & unmuzzled by political correctness.

I like the freedom, the spontaneity, the intimacy of blogging, & that's why I like ASV. But most blogs are horribly written, & blogging will only reinforce bad writing. There's no shortcut for that - get in a class, get in a writing group, get some brutal criticism, learn how to edit.

Hell- I just like telling my story. If someone finds it and reads it- great. If nobody reads it- great. (Although it will be in a magazine coming to a rack near you...)

That's also why my political blog may go away soon. (Although I believe that I have a scoop that..... aw never mind. Nobody's listening anyway and I'm definitely not a journalist!)

It's the run up to the election. I strongly suspect the whole blogging community will take a huge breather after November 2.

Seems to me that what started as a satirical post has become a huge, thought-provoking topic with room for tons of people's comments, conversations, and tangential ramblings. And isn't that really why we're here? Good job, Paul.

Oh, oh, oh . . . did you need to remind me why I've been happy to take a few weeks off blogging?

I read some very childish, nasty comments at one of the trackbacked posts to this one. All I can think of is this Vonnegut essay I can't lay my hands on at the moment where he points out that only in writing can you attend a few workshops in the evening and call yourself a writer, whether you actually are paid to write or not. No one goes to a few business seminars and calls himself a financier. No one practices medicine evenings and weekends while heading off weekdays to his job in construction.

If you're not paid to do journalism, you're not a journalist. Period. When BlogAds pay your mortgage, then maybe. I thought that was obvious, but oh! My! The hurt feelings and fragile, fragile egos of some boys out there playing at being men--and at being journalists. And as for some of the dumb twats who back these guys up with their shrill choruses of "Michele sucks, Michele's just jealous, we wuv you, you are so a real journalist, stud," I really do not have the words. I think I may actually have more respect for Wonkette than for them.