Battlepanda: The dominant blog hierachy


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Friday, August 12, 2005

The dominant blog hierachy

The Republic of T has an interesting and informative post up on the "heavy hitter" blogs like Kos and Atrios. I just have a few things to add...

1) The every existance of blogs is subverting the dominant information distribution heirachy. Kos and Atrios might seem like leviathans when compared to little ole minnow blogs like this one, but not when you look at the entire media landscape.

2) I am personally way too obsessed with my site traffic, and I think most good bloggers are. It's something tangible that keeps us on our toes. But like so much else in life, it's all relative. For me, it's a very good day indeed if I get more than 150 hits a day. The fact that Kos gets 3.8 million hits a week does not diminish how happy I am to have my own soapbox.

3) Having admitted that I am obsessed with hits, it's a yardstick that's not very meaningful in and of itself. Who hasn't had a rush of joy at an abnormally high traffic count only to find that it's just junk traffic from blogspot? The one time one of the high priests of blogging linked to me, my traffic went through the roof. But ultimately those people clicked, read (or skimmed) one post and left never to return. That is not really meaningful to me. What is meaningful is building a community of people who appreciate my writing enough to return repeatedly, especially if they are kind enough to leave feedback and start conversations, either through the comments or through their own blog.

4) I think a lot of the denial from Kos and Atrios about their "gatekeeper" status comes from the fact that they grew so big that they morphed into sizable media outlets, but they still think of their sites as private domains with a cohesive community. In that light, having to wade through all those requests for linkage must seem like having to decline an endless stream of strangers inviting themselves into your house. It's heartening to know that though we cannot all have the traffic numbers of Kos and Atrios, many, many more of us have a good shot at building a blog with all the core attributes that make blogging so much fun and which Kos and Atrios are fighting hard to preserve in their own sites as they grow massive -- a fierce, personal take on whatever area you're passionate about, a tight circle of frequent readers you come to know, a hopping comment section with plenty of red meat, and a wider audience of infrequent readers who might come back tomorrow or in two weeks.