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July 02, 2006

Upcoming Growth in the Blogs

At YearlyKos, I heard Chris Bowers of MyDD twice say he thinks the growth in the blogosphere is likely to taper off.  I firmly believe he is wrong.  (He does too.  The second time he muttered something like, "I just don't want to be disappointed.") I think that the growth will come in older, political astute readers who have not yet or are just now discovering the blogs as a source of news, equal to or better than the traditional media.  These are people who have mostly believed the nonsense about the blogs propagating inaccurate information.  These are people who want their country back, as Howard Dean would say.

A couple of weeks ago I was at a Gathering with about 35 politically astute women, my age and older, almost all of whom were not familiar with the blogs in any serious way.  I spent an hour with about a dozen of them, giving them a tour through the liberal political blogs.  They were astounded at the information that was available.  One woman said, "I'm cancelling all my subscriptions to newspapers".  Several others thanked me profusely for showing them a place where they could get the kind of news they want.

I am about to attend - I hate to say it - my 40th High School reunion and I expect that few of those folks read the blogs regularly.  I hope I am wrong but I doubt it.  Just in the last few weeks, as some of us have been contacting each other to see who is going, etc., I've been talking to several people I consider the most politically sympatico.  Same thing.  Very little use of and awareness of the blogs.  I suspect they think I am nuts to spend the time I do reading and writing on the blogs.  But I also suspect that some of them will start using the blogs more as well.

Over the last year, I've spent a bit of time in the offices of elected Democrats and their staff, showing them the blogs.  I helped organize the Bloggers-Legislative forum last January where the bloggers, and two of the only legislators who understood the blogs at the time, spoke about what the bloggers offer the Democratic electeds in terms of support and ability to influence the media.  Since then, several more legislators have begun blogging.  Also, since then, David Goldstein at Horsesass.org has instituted regular Tuesday podcasting from Drinking Liberally and then begun his wonderful Sunday evening show on KIRO, both of which often bring together bloggers and Democratic electeds.  YearlyKos received enormous media coverage.  David Postman, political writer of the Seattle Times, has taken up blogging and often highlights one or the other of what us non-paid bloggers say.   

With all this, more and more folks will be getting their news from the blogs, taking advantage of the incredible reporting and digging and sifting and commenting that we all do.  That's great.  But it's just a vehicle for us - the netroots and grassroots together - to rebuild our democracy.  Watch for much, much more of that over the next year.  There are a lot of very cool things about the burst upon the political scene here in this state as a result of the budding coalition amongst bloggers, the more progressive Democratic electeds, progressive organizations and the politically astute who are hankering to become politically active.  That's what this is all about.   

Posted by Lynn Allen on July 2, 2006 at 10:57 AM in Media | Permalink

Comments

I think you hit the nail on the head. The biggest challenge is education. Once someone finds a blog that speaks to them or once someone realizes how mainstream media outlets are filtering the news it's not hard to get them to see the value of blogs and bloggers.

Posted by: victoria | Jul 3, 2006 8:45:44 AM

Great post.

Two of the reasons we believe blogs will continue to grow is the format (typically, blog posts are 1 to 4 paragraphs which is an easy investment of time to keep informed) and community. Just as usenet newsgroups, bulletin boards and chat rooms enabled us to listen and learn, and read and write about our passions and our interests, blogs are giving both writers and readers new and interesting ways to share knowledge and support, gain fame and fortune, or just get their message out there. At the end of the day we all need meaningful connection with others. The blogosphere affords us all tremendous opportunities to find other people seeking the same connection we are, around the things we love the most. Finding those blogs that actively focus on your interest is still too difficult. That's why we created our Featured Blogs feature in the sphere site (http://www.sphere.com/). You’ll find up-and-coming food stars, incredibly talented crafters, astute reporters of the news, sharp-witted political theorists and some very funny humorists - so, if your new to the blogosphere, this is a tool that helps you discover new voices. It’s time to lean over the electronic fence once again and open an ear to or participate in the conversation.

You can see featured politcal blogs here (http://www.sphere.com/featured-blogs?q=politics⟨=en&datedrop;=1) or liberal blogs here (http://www.sphere.com/featured-blogs?datedrop=1⟨=en&sortby;=rel&q;=liberal+politics&x;=41&y;=15)

Posted by: Tony Conrad | Jul 3, 2006 10:41:08 AM

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