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.

Elizabeth Warren for Senate? MA Dems Not On Board So Far

The blogosphere is all a-flutter over the possibility of Elizabeth Warren running for the Senate from Massachusetts.

The Progressive Change Campaign has begun a petition drive to draft Warren.

Taylor Marsh is reporting that Warren told Andrea Mitchell that she will think about the Senate after she gets back to Harvard.

Greg Sargent has posted a list of reasons why national Democrats want Warren to run.

So how do Massachusetts Democrats feel about all this? A few days ago, The Boston Globe’s Joan Vennochi wrote that President Obama was afraid to unlikely to appoint Elizabeth Warren as head of the new Consumer Protection Agency that she fought for and then built, so now her supporters are pushing a Senate run against Republican Scott Brown as a “consolation prize.” According to Vennochi, this initiative isn’t being received all that well here in Massachusetts.

On paper, her candidacy would attract women, liberals, and money from both constituencies, locally and nationally. “She’s tough as nails . . . She’s smart as hell and she could wrap Scott Brown around her little finger in a debate,’’ said Philip Johnston, [John] Walsh’s predecessor as state party chairman.

But Warren isn’t well-known, beyond a small circle of elite Democrats. She has never run for office or built a grassroots organization. And a handful of candidates already in the race won’t be happy about being big-footed, leaving current supporters in an awkward spot.

Massachusetts Democrats aren’t too pleased with the DSCC these days after they and Obama chose not to support Martha Coakley against Scott Brown. State party chairman Walsh told Vennochi that he probably wouldn’t support Warren’s candidacy, since he is backing John Kerry’s chosen candidate Setti Warren. Vennochi:

The idea of Washington Democrats imposing their will on Massachusetts Democrats is distasteful. The DSCC, especially, is not popular here after its tactics largely backfired in the special election that Brown stunningly won. A lack of initial support for Democrat Martha Coakley was followed up by a belated barrage of negative ads that hurt rather than helped Coakley.

The DSCC can also come off as bullies.

Last month, when Kerry was hosting a fundraiser for the DSCC at his Beacon Hill home, he wanted to invite Setti Warren to the event. But the DSCC said no to inviting only one candidate because the group didn’t want to look like it is taking sides – unless, of course, it’s Elizabeth Warren’s side.

Besides, would Obama pitch in to support Warren for Senate? Somehow I doubt it.

Bloggers Under the Bus and Over the Rainbow

Bitter knitter sino peruvian lesbian blogger in between hot flashes

Bitter knitter Sino Peruvian lesbian blogger in between hot flashes

I was going to do a nice staid article about the Fed and regulation but frankly it’s a nice sunny, tropical Sunday down here and it just doesn’t seem kind to overwhelm my brain or yours with Barky Frankisms and tales from the crypt of A(ll)yn Greenspan. I scoured my usual sites for inspiration over coffee and landed on Memeorandum. The source didn’t thrill me but the headline was superb.

There it was on The Other McCain screaming ‘You’d be surprised what some of those Morons write on the Internet.’ Then there was The Public Editor over at the NY Times discussing how the Gray Lady handled the Acorn case versus Fox News. What grabbed me on The Other McCain was this bit which sent me off to Andrew Sullivan’s blog. You know, there is certainly a lotta crap out there under the catchall term of political blog.

Just think about Andrew Sullivan sitting there in Pathum, ThailandI’m not kiddinglecturing Michelle Malkin (!) on conservatism:

By the way, there is nothing conservative about Southern populism.

We talked–after the election–about the direction the Blogosphere might take during 2009. I think we can already see the role of Twitter and the role of live blogging things like the Honduran Revolution or the Iranian protests over the Election. As an ‘institution’, if you will, we forced CNN out of its weekend complacency cocoon to cover real news stories instead of running pablum over and over with a few Youtubes and talking heads thrown in. That is probably the thing that will turn into case studies in Journalism schools around the country. My take is that this is a good thing.

There is also the increased patronage on wonky finance and econ blogs because more than the nation’s PhD students in Financial economics now have an interest in Financial Derivatives and the Federal Reserve Bank. There has been an increasing link between the worlds ‘scholars’ and the blogosphere. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been watching the the dissection of the financial crisis and macroeconomics play out in a public forum outside of the peer review process and I find it fascinating. I knew I always had trouble with Lucas, Fama, Cochrane et al when I was studying the efficient markets hypothesis and forced into recreating the results of various ‘seminal’ works but was basically hushed into silence by awed lecturers on the Gods of Finance. It’s been nothing but entertaining for me to see the wonkier macroeconomists point out basic errors in their arguments such as mixing up endogenous and exogenous variables. This is so basic that it would probably cause you to flunk a qualifying exam. I can only imagine that similar things are going on in the wonkier science blogs on issues ranging from climate change to RNA transcription. Again, my take is this is a good thing. It turns every one’s lap top into a lecture hall and specialist meeting. I’m all for this.

However, I front page at The Confluence which specializes in examining everything from the vantage point of politics. This is where I’ve noticed some distinct morphing over the year since the election. The political blogosphere seems to have split into three distinct camps now. Those that just exist to promote whatever firebrand idea of so-called conservatism they burnish who pick up and run on any tidbit that seems to support the ideology; factual or fishy. Those that support the current administration and apologize and rationalize every misstep and pick and run with any tidbit that seems to support their view of the world; factual or fishy. Then there’s a third group that either follow a group of issues or are just trying to figure out how best to get the issues brought into the discussion and action realm on top of all the ideological or partisan screaming. I think I can say as a member of the front page editing team that we really really try to fall into the latter group.

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