Monday, June 07, 2010

Political blogging on the wane?

While I'm no expert on blogging/the blogosphere, I started SLANTblog in 2003 and at one time I was quite engaged with the political blogging scene in Virginia. Now, I don't pay it all that much attention. And, my posts aimed at that audience don't come anywhere near as often as they did three or four years ago.

So, I'm wondering how much the energy has drained out of what was quite a lively Virginia political blogging scene, say between 2006 and 2008. Or, is that perception wrong, and what's out there now is just as happening as it was then?

And, I wonder how much Facebook and Twitter have stolen what was blogging's thunder?

Has the partisan-driven product that Fox News and MSNBC are putting out, these days, trumped what the blogoshere has to offer readers on the lookout for current talking points and raw meat?

In other words, are other political bloggers now the only readers most of today's political bloggers in Virginia can expect to reach?


J.C. Wilmore said...

It's just the "summer slowdown." The weather is beautiful and there aren't any big contested races going on right now, so why would anyone blog now?

It will pick up again in September, the way it always does.

Shaun Kenney said...

It's more than that -- political blogging died in 2006 with "macaca" -- when it stopped being a public exchange of ideas and started becoming commercialized.

That and one other pesky item. Anonymous and pseudonymous blogging. Without a name next to it, conversation just reverts to namecalling.

I am still rather optimistic that with the advent of Facebook and Twitter and the-next-big-thing that Virginia's political bloggers can get back to sharing ideas. But that just seems like such a long time ago, and there's so much noise today...

J.C. Wilmore said...

Also, I think that one of the needs filled by blogging--the desire for more and better political coverage--is being met more and more by journalists using bloggers' methods. Many newspapers now have one or more political blogs. New news websites have come into existence to serve the desire for more political coverage--like Politico, for instance. Finally, many of the best bloggers are being pulled up into the media: Markos Moulitsas, the guy, and many others have been pulled into the mainstream, and to some extent they have changed how news is covered.

Anonymous said...

Terry - I recall the Weekend Without Echos that we did back in July 2006. Since then, I've seen more and more of the echo chamber that we were trying to avoid back then. Sometimes, I click through the blog aggregators and see three or four identical posts in a row. More often than not it is a press release from one of the campaigns.

I don't know if Shaun is correct in that "macacca" became the turning point. What I do know is that there are fewer and fewer posts in the blogosphere that are anything more than partisan bickering. And that's sad.

I agree with J.C. that many of the bloggers have moved on to other things,including some who used to be quite prolific here in Virginia.

I am not as optimistic as Shaun, though, that things will turn around.

Frank said...

(Blogger doesn't seem to accept paragraphing--I tried.)

2008 was a presidential election year.

This is not.

I'm new to the Virginia blogging scene, having recently moved back to my home state (I'm from the Eastern Shore) after living in the Philadelphia/Wilmington, Del., area since 1983. I was a small fry there and am a small small fry here.

And I am not strictly political. I also go for computer-related stuff and weird stuff in general, as my two or three regular readers know.

But I've noticed a couple of things in comparing the two blogging scenes:

The leftie blogs here are not as prolific as the ones in the Philly area. Eschaton is good for 8 to 12 posts a day; the Booman Tribune is good for 3 to 5. There are many other individual (as opposed to group) blogs that manage 5 to 10 posts a week--not just one-liners, but lengthier efforts.

Shaun Mullen, to pick another lesser known blogger, is usually good for four a day.

Plus the local Philly papers contribute: Will Bunch writes and blogs for the Philly Daily News; Dick Polman, for the Inquirer.

Furthermore, there is an active Drinking Liberally chapter in Philly. We rarely talked politics there, but the fellowship helped sustain us. Meeting in person on regular basis provided a sense of community which was sustaining. In contrast, the Norfolk and Virginia Beach DL chapters which I had looked forward to meeting seem not to be.

Also, Cuccinelli's antics to the contrary notwithstanding, Virginia politics, compared to Pennsylvania politics, are actually pretty low key--and that's a good thing (though not as low key as Delaware politics--in Delaware, everybody pretty much knows everybody or knows someone who does, so pols don't get away with really bad stuff--as opposed to really stupid stuff--for long; living in Delaware is like living in a large county).

I do not think blogging is losing out to Twitter and Facebook. Heck, it's pretty easy to port your stuff into Twitter, Facebook,, and any other social networking thingee.

I do think that it's only diehard political junkies that pay attention to politics all the time. And we are a minority.