The Good Ol’ Days of Blogging

I started hanging out at FDL around 2006 after being on a Democratic BBoard for years. That makes me a late-comer to the political blogosphere.  I joined Facebook when you couldn’t get on to it with anything but an academic email. My two first friends were my daughters who I stalked as the concerned mother of two teenage girls.  Shortly after that, FDL folks got into Social Media and my buddy list filled up.  I still have many connections there but the 2008 vibe from the site and its management still leave a taste in my mouth even though many of my friends still participate there.  It’s a different world from 2004 and 2008 and perhaps it was only a matter of time before some one explored that.

TDB has an article up that features Susie Madrak and Peter Daou that you should read.  It’s an interesting view back in to Netroots Bloggers ten years ago.   I know BB came via the DKOS route.  I joined (2004) before I joined the FDL community but really didn’t do much there.  I found the diaries sort’ve trite displays of personal ego and preferred the structure of hourly new threads by folks who participated in their discussion.  Many of us remember the pre-, post, and 2008 atmosphere of the leftie political blogs when we wound up being homeless .  The leftie bloggers took sides–vehemently–in the primary. The safe places became fewer and fewer.  Those same places are now dead end blogs. I apply this term generouslysince many of them are really right wing r*f*ing sites now that make you wonder if any of them were actual real democrats at any point in there live or supported women’s issues or anything the Clintons supported. Frankly, it’s the overt racism that gets me now more than anything as they seem to be more aligned with Pam Geller and Phyliss Schafly than Hillary Clinton.

The basic picture of Netroots–ten years after–is an affiliation in decline according to the TDB article.

Part of the Netroots decline had to do with the inevitable maturing of the movement and the simple evolution of the Internet. Ten years ago the blogs were one of the few places on the Internet where it was possible to find out what was happening in real time, as even many establishment news organizations hadn’t figured out how to move their offline print and broadcast products to the Web.

That has long since been sorted out, and in the meantime, dozens of online-only news outlets have been likewise competing for clicks and crowding out some of the proud amateurs. The political conversation, like the rest of the online conversation, has moved to Facebook and Twitter, and the bloggers steeped in an earlier Internet culture have not been able to keep up.

“Some bloggers have learned how to play well with a very dynamic Facebook community, with a very dynamic Twitter community, but a lot just don’t have the mental bandwidth,” said Henry Copeland, CEO of Blogads, which sells advertising on the Internet. “You need a density of folks who are excited about doing it. All of this stuff requires a community, and as a blogger you want to be responding to other bloggers and be in the thick of it, and the thick of things has just moved in another direction.”

The typing hordes have moved in another direction too. The pace of blogging was always punishing and nearly impossible for those who did it to keep another job. But being marginally employed loses its charm after a while, even if you are able to elect the Congress of your dreams.

“The blogosphere that we knew of in 2004 and 2008 is not what it was,” says Raven Brooks, executive director a Netroots Nation, an IRL annual meet-up. “It is still a tight community; it is just older, more established. The economy isn’t what it was then. A lot were students, and they have graduated and gone looking for jobs.”

The back half of the article is dedicated to a where are they now kind’ve narrative. Many of the original bloggers have been mainstreamed into other places and a lot of been consolidated into bigger blogs.  The article argues that the blogosphere and netroots is no longer a force for Democrats.

But with another critical election two weeks away, politicians, political operatives, and even the bloggers themselves say the Netroots are a whisper of what they were only four years ago, a dial-up modem in a high-speed world, and that the brigade of laptop-wielding revolutionaries who stormed the convention castle four years ago have all but disappeared as a force within the Democratic Party.

I wonder if they would reach the same conclusion about all the right wing blogs?  It seems to me that they are taken much more seriously even by the traditional press.  Afterall, Susie or Peter have not been hired by CNN to talk about elections but useless pieces of flesh and oxygen like Erick Erickson are hired as ‘consultants’. I’ve never heard a serious word or thought coming from his mouth once.

So, I’m sure that the GOTV ground game this time in key states is much more important to the Democratic candidates this year than positive action from bloggers.  How many of you have actually visited ACT Blue this year?  Still, there are a few candidates–Elizabeth Warren and Tammy Duckworth come to mind–that are still getting the benefit of the lose affiliation and affinity that happens on line between liberal activists and liberal bloggers.  Where it will go in the future is any one’s guess at this point.  I just know that I feel much more connected to democracy by participating. I also know that it’s one of the few places you can still go to get good conversations on extremely important things ignored by the MSM like drones, kill lists, and income inequality.  So, call me a lifer.

64 Comments on “The Good Ol’ Days of Blogging”

  1. dakinikat says:

    Snowbilly Snookie and her Teahadis strike again .. this is blatant racism.

    Sarah Palin posted on Facebook: “Obama’s shuck and jive shtick with these Benghazi lies must end.”

    Why isn’t this woman in Wasilla holding down a job more in line with her brainpower?

    • RalphB says:

      I like this from Imani about her spewing.

      On Facebook. (Because her political relevance, like that of so many assholes, is confined to her syphilitic mind and social media.)

    • RalphB says:

      Comment at Pierce’s:

      Dear Alaska,
      you can’t just throw your trash anywhere you like. The rest of us have to live here too! Now apologize and come get this dumbass.

      The Lower 49 States.

    • Fannie says:

      I don’t know why she thinks she is an expert or even has insights to being black, because she isn’t and doesn’t have any experience what so ever. Indeed her mirror is broke, and she needs to go home and buy some cosmetics.

  2. dakinikat says:

    What’s not being reported: This is becoming a disaster for the GOP on multiple levels

    Romney ceded Obama way too much policy territory, adopting a “Me too” strategy that utterly failed to win over debate viewers, and the few times Mitt tried to interject with Fox News talking points about “apology tours” the President readily smacked those strawmen down. At Fox News utter calamity broke out. Did they address Romney’s failures? No. They called Obama a retard instead. This is why Republicans are going to lose. Last night proved that if Obama is paying attention to the debates instead of his day job he can easily mop the floor with Romney, the best guy the GOP had in a very weak field of candidates. What Republicans must be doing is looking at the utter shitstorm coming down on the them if things don’t go their way, and it can’t look pretty.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    The political conversation, like the rest of the online conversation, has moved to Facebook and Twitter, and the bloggers steeped in an earlier Internet culture have not been able to keep up.

    “Some bloggers have learned how to play well with a very dynamic Facebook community, with a very dynamic Twitter community, but a lot just don’t have the mental bandwidth,” said Henry Copeland, CEO of Blogads,

    Oh really? How much “mental bandwidth” does it take to write 140 characters?

    I was already incredibly upset about the Mourdock thing and Obama’s promised “grand bargain,” and now I get to be insulted by some idiot who sells annoying blog ads? I think I need a mental health break.

    • pdgrey says:

      Well, BB, before you go to the padded room, here is the thing that will give you better medication while your are there.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I don’t understand the characterization of Dkos either. I was there almost from the beginning, and diarists have always participated in their comment threads. They still do. I’ve actually been reading there again lately because most of the really obnoxious people from 2008 are gone and a lot of the people who were there when I started are still there.

      • dakinikat says:

        If you’re speaking to my characterization I may not have made it clear. I liked that bloggers I knew had threads going up consistently at a particular hour and would be there live for that time period. They were also put there because they researched the topics they knew … like Emptywheel. You could always depend that when her time was on you would be discussing the latest on security issues. That conversation stayed live with her there until the next frontpager’s turn came up. I liked that continuity. They’ve adopted diaries there now so there is less of that than there used to be.

        • dakinikat says:

          Jane H has written a post about the Freedlander piece I cited above.

          So I’d like to see David Freedlander do a follow-up piece on the economics of blogging since Google has been able to gobble up its competitors and beef up its profits by squeezing publishers around the world out of business. All publishers know about it and complain behind the scenes, but few are willing to speak out for fear that Google will screw them even harder.

          Pam also wrote something on Pam’s Houseblend. (She’s now on FD)

          And the fractures on the Left continue to exist, as we see so clearly here at FDL, there are Obama supporters (those who think he can do no wrong to pragmatic ones who see the alternative as disastrous) and a good-sized contingent of readers who see the failures and the positions of the current administration as proof he’s no better, or perhaps even worse than what we would have faced under McCain/Palin or a potential Romney/Ryan administration. I don’t see those wounds healing any time soon.

          I’m less interested in that aspect of the article than the nuts and bolts reality of why this decline of political blogs is occurring from a media and economic perspective. One caveat – political blogs in this context refers to ones that were at the top of the political heap. Blogging and social media activism on a smaller scale — state level campaigns and niche topics (LGBT rights, organized labor, corruption in government) — seem to be doing OK to a degree, but still under a great deal of pressure to stay afloat, since they are driven not by personality or perspective/influence of a blogger than pushing information out to core believers, activists and supporters.

    • roofingbird says:

      I’m thinking he bought stock.

  4. RalphB says:

    Without the independent blogs, all we would get is the officially approved narrative of everything. The more “establishment media” takes over the web, the worse the propaganda catapulting will get.

    DougJ: Don’t believe the hype

    I started reading blogs about ten years ago. Prior to that, I read newspapers, watched tv, and listened to NPR (my parents force fed me that stuff, like good academic parents do). I now believe that I spent the first 30 years of my life living in a propaganda state not all that different from North Korea, other than our much higher standard of living.

    Perhaps that’s not entirely fair. There is some attempt to be accurate about basic statistics in establishment media. In North Korea, we wouldn’t get reasonably reliable job reports, CPI estimates, and so on. But a lot of the time, things work like this at the national level: the establishment picks up some story of no real importance or validity and won’t shut up about it, while ignoring some set of other more valid and important stories. Bill Clinton’s consensual relationship with Monica Lewinsky is one of the most extreme examples, but truly, such stories are the rule, not the exception. All the bullshit about Romentum (Anne-Laurie touched on this earlier) fits neatly in to the category of things for which there is little evidence but the media likes to discuss anyway.

    • dakinikat says:

      That’s a really good point. I’ve found myself blogging stuff from foreign newspapers that doesn’t get any print or airplay here.

  5. pdgrey says:

    Touré, the black guy on The Cycle just made a STUPID joke. Mo Rocca was on making a point about the stupid electoral college. And that numbskull Touré said “if you only get screwed twice in two years then you’re married”. Are left media I am so proud.

    • pdgrey says:

      I was so upset, I typed are instead of our. Sorry BB, I’m taking your place in the padded room.

    • NW Luna says:

      Toure, a question for you: “Twice? Well, you need to learn how to do it better, don’t you think?”

  6. pdgrey says:

    I don’t know shit about running a blog,I am not a front pager, I don’t twitter, just read, don’t have a face book page, the only thing I know about this subject is the “in the moment” war in left wing blogs Edwards, Clinton vs Obama. So I really can’t add to this in an intelligent way. Sorry if I have put up to many links to OT subjects.

  7. RalphB says:

    Even Mike Allen isn’t fooled enough to get behind Ro-mentum.

    Politico Playbook

    MORNING MINDMELD: As an antidote to the (perhaps) irrational Republican exuberance that seems to have seized D.C., we pause for the following public-service announcement. To be President, you have to win states, not debates. And Mitt Romney has a problem. Despite a great debate and what The Wall Street Journal’s Neil King Jr. on Sunday called a polling “surge,” Romney has not put away a single one of the must-have states. President Obama remains the favorite because he only needs to win a couple of the toss-ups. Mitt needs to win most of them. A cold shower for the GOP: Most polling shows Romney trailing in Ohio, Wisconsin, Nevada, New Hampshire and Iowa – by MORE than Obama trails in North Carolina. … math, not momentum, gets you the big house, the bulletproof car, the cool plane. We now resume our regularly scheduled Playbook.

  8. pdgrey says:

    I’ll leave today with something up lifting. Bill Clinton

  9. RalphB says:

  10. bostonboomer says:

    Markos has posted his response to the “blogging is dead” article.

  11. peregrine says:

    I’ve dug down into my bookmark stash to offer first a post on the topic of a much more over-arcing liberal/democrat problem, dated 2010:

    “The lunatic fringe of the Republican Party, which looks set to make sweeping gains in the midterm elections, is the direct result of a collapse of liberalism. It is the product of bankrupt liberal institutions, including the press, the church, universities, labor unions, the arts and the Democratic Party.”

    and second, a post on my favor topic — the Christian Fascists — beginning with a quote from Hannah Arendt on how to convince the masses:

    “What convinces masses are not facts,” Arendt wrote in “Origins of Totalitarianism,” “and not even invented facts, but only the consistency of the system which they are presumably part. Repetition, somewhat overrated in importance because of the common belief in the masses’ inferior capacity to grasp and remember, is important because it convinces them of consistency in time.”

    I thought of these two posts last night after watching 45 minutes of fox news, half split between O’Reilly and Hannity.

  12. roofingbird says:

    The career I just left mostly consisted of endless, often heated, debates with contractors, architects, inspectors and product reps over the merits of how water runs downhill, except when it doesn’t, that certain products cannot be combined with others, that 1/6″ really does matter and that it really is a code violation and even unsafe when waterproofing and roofing is installed incorrectly. The rest of the time was spent driving, standing and writing tediously long descriptive reports.

    I did not have the same political history as you all do, and am still on the outside looking in. I guess the thing that drew me to blogs and even some blogging was the debating and writing development of very career I had left-the need to find a truth of things.

    Where else is this to be found? Oh yes, trusted independent sources like maybe The Texas Observer, High Country News, CS Monitor, some foreign sources, to name a few. However, mostly right now, its blogging.

    Twitter might be good for an emergency warning system, or practicing your one line zingers. It is not good as a rating system on what the public really thinks, nor does it even represent the public at large.

    Facebook doesn’t work for much the same reason, and can co-mingle what you think politically with your family photos. Something most of us would rather not do.

    Many of the blogs and Netroots, as you mention above are problematic because of their agendas. However, they are part of the variety of choice. I think a consistent voice is the key to trust. You guys have it.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I agree. Blogging gives me an opportunity to write, which I have always enjoyed doing and to figure out how I feel about things. Twitter is great for getting breaking news out or for mocking Republicans memes and having that go viral. I think it’s great, but it’s not a substitute for blogs.

    • pdgrey says:

      roofingbird, I wish I would have written that, it sums it up for me.

    • RalphB says:

      What pdgrey said. Thanks!

  13. I haven’t read every word of all of the articles to which you’ve linked, but I’ve read enough to get the gist. It all comes down to this: “Prog-blogging — where’s the money?”

    Answer: There ain’t none. Get used to it.

    There was a time when I had dreams of turning my own humble blog into a paying concern. But then I saw how hard Brad Friedman had to hustle. He blogs, he does radio, he shows up on TV, in documentary films, lecture halls…

    Brad’s good at that stuff. But that’s not me. I want to write, not to display my ugly mug.

    The only way to write freely is to give up all thought of money. Samuel Johnson once said that “No man but a fool ever wrote, save for money.” Blogging is for fools. I like to think of myself as a “wise fool,” like the one in King Lear.

    I think that there IS money circulating in the right-wing blogosphere. In places we do not see, the devil shows up, opes his bag, and tosses a few coins at an independently quirky conservative, who soon turns into yet another typist for GOP Central Control.

    Facebook has stolen much traffic from the bloggers. Facebook is evil.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I agree wholeheartedly. I write because I like to write and blogging gives me instant feedback and the opportunity to discuss me ideas with other people.

    • RalphB says:

      I’ve read Cannonfire every day for years and appreciate your work no end. Thanks very much!

    • dakinikat says:

      I guess I never did think I would make any kind of living out of this. I needed some place beside the local bar to let off steam during the Bush administration. I’d go nuts without a place to hear folks I respect agreeing that Romney is the single worst candidate to ever come down the national pipes ever. I can’t believe the number of people that are willing to give Romney and Ryan the keys to their uterus and their/our daughter’s uterus just because they were on the wrong side of politics in 2008.

  14. bostonboomer says:

    Another OT item: Court will consider public release of Mitt Romney’s testimony in Stemberg divorce case on Thursday.

    CANTON — Mitt Romney’s 1991 testimony in the divorce of Staples founder Tom Stemberg will be considered for public release on Thursday in open court and with television cameras rolling at Norfolk Probate and Family Court.

    The court on Wednesday rejected Stemberg’s request to close the hearing, siding with the Globe, which is seeking access to the impounded testimony of Romney, now the Republican nominee for president.

    Stemberg’s ex-wife, Maureen Sullivan Stemberg, appeared in court on Wednesday and supported the release of Romney’s testimony. Robert G. Jones, an attorney for Romney, said the candidate has no position on whether his testimony should be unsealed.

    Gloria Allred, an attorney for Sullivan Stemberg, produced two, inch-thick volumes of testimony Romney delivered during the divorce proceedings two decades ago.

    Attorneys for Stemberg, Staples and Romney, who had not reviewed the testimony before Wednesday’s hearing, were granted a continuance to do so. The court will reconvene at 9 a.m. on Thursday.

  15. RalphB says:

    “Direct those questions to Boston because Donald Trump is Mitt Romney’s biggest supporter, so he owns everything he says.”

    — David Plouffe, quoted by Politico, when asked about Trump’s much-hyped video announcement today.

    Fuck yeah!!!!!

  16. RalphB says:

    Here are the latest polls from the battleground:

    Nevada: Obama 50%, Romney 48% (Rasmussen)
    Nevada: Obama 51%, Romney 47% (Public Policy Polling)

    New Hampshire: Romney 50%, Obama 48% (Rasmussen)
    New Hampshire: Obama 48%, Romney 45% (Lake Research)

    Ohio: Obama 49%, Romney 44% (Time)
    Ohio: Obama 47%, Romney 44% (SurveyUSA)
    Ohio: Obama 48%, Romney 48% (Rasmussen)
    Ohio: Obama 46%, Romney 44% (Lake Resaearch)

    Virginia: Obama 50%, Romney 43% (Old Dominion University)
    Virginia: Obama 49%, Romney 46% (Newsmax/Zogby)

  17. NW Luna says:

    I started reading blogs and commenting back in the Dean campaign movement in 2004. Had a few pieces front-paged on a couple blogs, once on the DNC blog in ’05. What I liked was contact with people who would fact-check, dig up sources, and raise questions, all so quickly.

    In fact, old-time blogging in the political left blogosphere was “crowd-sourcing” news and useful information. It was also an online salon in which you could discuss with others, without phsyically having to round up people and decide when/where to meet.

    I kept hanging out with a few NW and nat’l lefty orgs and blogs into 2008. Never fell for Obama and couldn’t understand the draw. Originally for Edwards due to his health-care policy stance, and then Hillary. Dean did a 180 and forgot that the real grassroots should get their votes counted and all that shit he used to be for. TalkLeft got CDS after the nomination masquerade. Most of the other blogs were main-lining Kool-Aid then but a hardy few small blogs helped the rest of us keep sane. And then I jumped over to SkyDancing and home, with visits to some of those same hardy blogs (the ones that haven’t turned psychotic.)

    Twitter — How do you discuss in sound bites? Oh, it can be great fun, but everythings a one-liner. Facebook — never have, due to privacy concerns.

    Long live old-time and new-time blogging!