Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The evolving political blogosphere

Why blog?

Why spend hours writing posts about politics and making comments on other blogs each week, or perhaps each day? Although some might say every blogger has their own unique reasons, just for the purpose of this little prediction/rant I’m going to say there are basically two kinds of political bloggers.

The first is an individual who wants to write about politics, with the hope what they have written will be read by friends, foes and strangers, alike. This brand of blogger wants to influence public policies and elections. They want to rally the faithful and persuade the undecided. They want to change minds, if they can. They are operating with a measure of the jolly spirit of the “pamphleteers” of the 1770s in America. Not unlike their forerunners, today’s citizen-journalists want as large a general readership as they can get.

The second kind is a person who wants to be part of a camp of the likeminded. These people are aiming their words at a more narrow audience. Their posts are directed at other bloggers, not so much at readers who don’t blog. They join with their colleagues to routinely attack bloggers with whom they disagree, or to slavishly support one another in tiffs in the blogosphere. They are operating in the spirit of gossipy chat rooms. They remain furious at the mainstream media 25 hours a day. This group wants to share its wisdom, or lack thereof, with others they see as “insiders.”

During 2006 these two styles have existed along side one another on two of the best known of Virginia’s aggregating sites -- Waldo’s Virginia Political Blogs and Blognet News -- but, in truth, they aren’t really all that comfortable operating under the same roof. Their styles clash.

Thus, in 2007 the political blogosphere is likely to split itself into factions that will draw lines between the bloggers in the third paragraph and those in the fourth. There will be other ways of drawing lines, too, among them are the obvious traditional political parties.

One of the things fueling the current squabble in the Virginia blogosphere between Waldo Jaquith’s supporters and his detractors is the situation I’ve described above. This brouhaha’s clash of styles has sown the seeds for the coming of aggregating sites that will split the pamphleteer bloggers off from the gossip-mongers/attack dogs.

But the aggregator that will have the most power will still be the one that features the strongest blogs from both sides of the aisle, blogs which are run by responsible people who don’t hide their identities and actually have something worthwhile to say.

The most popular political blogs aggregators will be playing a huge role in the coming year’s politics, in my view. So, this post is not so much about putting anybody down, as it is predicting the direction in which this is all heading. Whether he intended to start this process today with his post about changes at his aggregator, or not, Waldo has helped to set this scenario in motion. Now we will all see where it goes.

Me? I blog because I’m an artist/writer who wants to communicate. I’ve been on that mission, professionally, for a long time -- about 35 years. And, in the last couple of years I’ve enjoyed being a part of the political blogosphere in Virginia, as it has been. Still, a good part of my readership sees SLANTblog as serving a local crowd with a variety of interests.

Now I’m looking forward to being some small part of the new political blogosphere, which is evolving in ways no one blogger could possibly control, but some of us can’t help but guess at what it will be like.


spankthatdonkey said...

Dear Annointed one, of the self appointed second group of 'washed' bloggers...

Let me interpret...

The MSM and this esteemed second group of bloggers, will become an echo chamber... for one another!

How Bourgeois...

Therefore the movement of citizen bloggers must be the first group, who are the 'unwashed'. Merely second tier bloggers in your blogosphere....

However, which voice should matter in the Virginia Blogosphere?

Already we have seen a new voice, GGD, struck down by whom?

We can only assume the new king of the Second of Group of Bloggers...

As for me, I shall not be ashamed to be included in the first group, a voice for the common man....and Dog alike.

F.T. Rea said...


This time you've got me stumped with your Internet-savvy lingo. I don't know what the hell you're talking about. What's with the "washed/unwashed" thing?

Nonetheless, I wish you well in 2007. Thanks again for commenting at SLANTblog in 2006.

I'm Not Emeril said...

Gossip mongers?

You mean like this?

Or would this be more like what you're referencing?

F.T. Rea said...

I’m Not Emeril,

Like Shaun Kenney has posted today, I don’t agree with Waldo Jaquith all the time. In fact, I can’t think of any blogger that I always agree with.

Now I hope you and other bloggers on the right, and far-right, and far-out right will read Kenney’s comments (

You may know that at times I have been strong in my criticism of lefty bloggers, when I thought they were being so outrageously rude or silly that I believed they were hurting the causes they ostensibly were supporting. So, there’s really no way to honestly say that SLANTblog only gets its feathers ruffled at abuses from the right.

You may not know that I’ve been to court four separate times over freedom of speech matters (I won three times). And, I’ve gone to great lengths over the years to stand against what I saw as government censorship, risking much at times in those endeavors. So, with that in mind, I hope you can understand that when this rhubarb erupted, and a freedom-of-speech defense was being used in a way that I saw as absolutely bogus ... well, I couldn’t stay out of it.

Moreover, in his place I would have done the same thing as Waldo did with GGD’s beheading post. No one has the right to force-feed grisly images onto an unwitting general audience. Not crazed abortion clinic haters with their fetus placards, nor lathered up supporters of a failed war strategy who fester with hate for anyone who SEEMS to be their enemy.

I won’t miss seeing any of the cut-off-your-nose-to-spite-your-face blogs that have pulled out of Waldo’s aggregator like lemmings jumping off a cliff.

Waldo Jaquith said...

Alton, you're upset that I posted a comment in which I stated a presumption (and classified it as such), was corrected, and followed it up with a correction as well edited the original comment to point out the correction?

How dare wrong! Sometimes! And...uh...correct it!

I'll stop that right away.

Elvez73 said...

F.T. as a Richmonder I read your blog almost daily mainly for your take on Richmond happenings as well as VA politics. As a moderate to slightly left of center Virginian I don't always agree with you, but I always enjoy your blog. You are also dead on in your defense of Waldo, best of luck in the New Year.

F.T. Rea said...


Thanks. I needed that.

spankthatdonkey said...

Happy New Year to You, but please don't stop serving up that 'red meat' I have been getting so fat off of between now and then :-)

Tell me about the new 'Aristocracy'. I'm all 'a flutter' for some kind of coronation...

This is all about you big guy

Triscula said...


Why are you continuing to troll about this? The issue of Waldo's aggregator has been settled. It's over. Time to move on to other topics.