[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
), 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.