Blogger baloney

Gary Pearce, one of the Boy Pundits over at Talking about Politics opines today on the state of the Democratic party and its relationship with blogs.

“Liberals hunt down heretics, while conservatives happily chase converts.”

Michael Kinsley, as quoted by Joe Klein

I don’t know whether Kinsley is right. It seems to me that right-wingers have spent a fair amount of time since 1964 hunting down heretics. But I’m only concerned with us liberals – or progressives, or whatever we’re supposed to call ourselves these days. Because we now have a new tool for tracking down and trashing heretics: the blogs.

Internet communication seems to bring out the worst in people. If you thought Carter and I said ugly things back in the Hunt-Helms race in 1984, your ears and eyes would be burning if you read the ugly things said daily on blogs.
And they bring out the worst in liberals. Ask Hillary Clinton. She’s so used to being bashed by liberal blogs that she didn’t go to the big bloggers’ bash in Las Vegas last week. She probably feels like the victim of a vast left-wing conspiracy.

The bloggers are a real force in Democratic politics today. Just what we need: one more interest group for our candidates to kowtow to. After all, the bloggers made Howard Dean what he is today.

I don't know what to make of this. A special interest group? Kowtowing? Exactly what special interest is Pearce talking about? The interest of regular people with passion trying to shape the discourse of good old boy politics? Maybe he likes things just the way they are, where he and his partner in crime are the special interests du jour.

I am truly stumped by his comments, including the closing sentence which is baffling. Bloggers didn't make Howard Dean anything. He was what he was long before MyDD and DailyKos got moving. In fact, you could make a better case arguing that Dean made blogging than vice versa.


I'll vote for "Howard Dean

most successfully tapped into the netroots." Neither of us is really the other's fault. :)

I agree that there's plenty wrong with Pearce's thinking on this. Here's the comment with which I graced the TAP site:

I can't think of a particular interest that liberal bloggers share. There is occasionally consensus, but I think describing bloggers as a "special interest" is a mistake.

People aren't saying anything on blogs that they wouldn't have said among friends at a bar. It's just that the Internet has provided a platform that allows broader dissemination, and the better bloggers can pick up a following bigger than their offline social group.

I think that it might be worthwhile to discuss the pros and cons of the political blogging movement, but any candidate working to kowtow to what she perceives to be the shared interest of bloggers is chasing a ghost.

Ah yes, bidirectionality

one of my favorite concepts . . . and almost always applicable.

Sorry for the cheap shots

I've been in a pissy mood lately.

Lately I've been overwhelmed by the pervasive power of the oligarchy here in North Carolina. Gary and Carter are part of it.

A shrink might say I'm jealous and want to be part of a "counter oligarchy," but that feels off the mark to me. This is more about monopoly busting than wanting to take over. From where I sit, the oligarchy has gotten out of control at all levels of government (not so much locally). And it has no intention of giving up power.

In DC this weekend

I was told by several people (consultants and congressional staffers) that blogs are nothing and they thought I was pathetically deluding myself that I'm helping any campaign by blogging on Taylor.

When I tried to explain to them that I just wanted some place where a person could google Charles Taylor (or Patrick McHenry or Virginia Foxx) and get the information most local newspapers won't print, they didn't seem to think that was useful. They seemed literally brainwashed to think that anyone who works on a blog is wasting their time. One professional researcher even said she gets daily reports about what's going on in the blog world and doesn't even read them. People in DC seem to be in a bubble and don't want to cope with change.

Now, I only talked to a few people. It seems this particular writer thinks blogs are influential but just another group to be catered to, who will make demands and cause trouble.

But with the state of the press these days, I can't see why bloggers can be WORSE. Even though most don't try to be objective, at least they admit it (unlike all our corporate and/or locally owned rags.)

And even if blogs are now with negligible influence, I can't believe that will be true in the future.
“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.”
So enjoy the Drama.

I think they said that about radio too.

But even if they're right, who cares? We make whatever difference we make. Not a bit more -- or less.

We're plowing new ground. It's fun and interesting, and who knows where it will lead 10 years from now?

And answer me this: How can more citizen engagement in politics and public opinion possibly be counter-productive?


methinks they are way too convinced about something they haven't even looked into.
“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.”
So enjoy the Drama.

Blogs motivate

people like us to speak up, write LTE's, ask for coverage from the local TV operators, write Congresspeople, talk to our co-workers, discuss issues with data and facts (which we've picked up on responsible quality blos like dKOS and myDD and here at blueNC) and we can then more confidently use that data and facts with friends, who then use the same facts to respond to their dittohead coworkers (personal experience).

In short, blogs have become the progressive network's foundation. It's not about direct influence now, although we all know we already do have a direct impact. It's really about the dispersal of facts and data and ways of thinking about policy issues on a personal level that can, AND DO, change the talking points, change the discussion, and begin the process of changing hard rightwing attitudes in the wider general public.

That's honestly what I've experienced over the course of the last two-three years reading, lurking and writing. Oh, yes. Blogs matter.

I love this

I've been reading about some of the aftermath of YearlyKos which has caused me to think about what impact I think I have outside of the blog community and whether that matters.

I started blogging so that I could express frustrations with my government that my family and friends didn't want to hear. It was a way to talk to myself quite frankly. I didn't care who was listening.

Slowly, I started connecting with others online. Then I started connecting with others online who lived in my area. Then I started meeting these people in person. Then I found out others were reading my blog posts. Then I figured it out.

Blogs provide another way to network. We connect people and ideas. We encourage others to speak out and to take action. The Southern Dem acting alone has no great impact, but The Southern Dem speaking out with Scrutiny Hooligans, Anglico, Lance, Targator, Robert Peterson, Drama Queen, Martha P. Snead, Surveyor, MattHillNC, Pam's House Blend and all the other North Carolina blogs (even if we aren't completely and perfectly aligned) has a great deal of impact.

I look at the change in my life after 7 months of blogging - the people I've met, the things I've learned, the actions I've taken - and I realize that if this happens to only 1-2% of the people who read our blogs, then we've made more of an impact than any traditional media source in this state.

We connect people with ideas and facts about issues that concern our state and our nation. We connect people with other people who share their views. We call people to action and provide the means to take action whether it's writing an email/letter(take action center), attending a fundraiser or convention(calendar) or simply learning enough to pass on accurate information (blog posts). I think by providing these connections in a "red" state we help other liberals, Democrats, progessives realize they aren't alone, they do matter and there is hope for our future as Democrats in NC.

Now, I have to get back to blogging!

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

You are such a sweetie pie.

Plus I just got this email from Roper Pulse. I will track down the report if I can.

Dear Roper Reports Client,

Blogs are the communications phenomenon of the digital age. Businesses that fail to consider how they can integrate them into their marketing plans today might find themselves at a loss tomorrow.

But marketers who’ve already jumped on the bandwagon, and those considering doing so, need to know just who blogs’ true adherents are — and, just as important, what they are thinking. In this edition of the Public Pulse, we look at that issue — and offer a suggestion or two about how marketers might best approach these desirable consumers.


The Roper Reports Team

That's terrific....

I think as long as we are realistic about what we can accomplish and where we can have an impact, bloggers will remain an important source of information and blogs like BlueNC will develop into important meeting places for like-minded people.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

But do Bloggers Vote? Of Course they do & that is the problem...

I am new but let me take a shot at this ---

If people who Blog already vote and largely have their minds already made up it' s not exciting to folks who want to win contested elections -- If everyone here is already an "A" list voter then this medium is not a vote getter...

Now a blog that is targeting the "Independents" and/or the undecided or occasional voters -- THAT IS EXCITING. But what blog does this?

Most blogs are not dealing with the middle ground or single issues and they paint people as in one extreme or the other philosophically and they frequently degenerate into exercises in “Spin” and statistics that fail to conjure credibility out of the text. They say a lot but much of it only resonates with those already converted.

I propose to you that the future of Blogging will morph into is single issue politics if Blogs are to evolve and remain relevant. After critical mass is reached the political blogs will specialize and the national blogs will link down to single issue blog "Specialist" sites. These site will be the most critical elements in the Netroots movement.

Today Blogs are a mile wide and an inch deep. The medium has the potential to reach non "A" list voters but they are not reaching those folks today in my opinion. They must specialize and then gain some independence and objective credibility about some very specific issues if the occasional voter is to trust them when making a decision to vote or simply skip it like they frequently do.

As an example - Where is the National Blog on "Gun Control" that has a voter guide for those who lost a family member to gun violence who are not going to vote the party ticket this year as the gun issue trumps the past patterns? Can they find it -- can they easily get trusted information to they can let this issue influence their vote?

Having that type of single issue information readily accessible that allows voters to “Connect” with "Their" issue will win votes and thus elections.

If you can make this issues research easier and more compelling then you will see the population of voters rise and you may even see some people may break out of the party patterns they fall into like zombies based on traditions they never understood or frequently never thought to question.

Give them the information. Resist the temptation pass judgment. Just the facts…

So it is no surprise that some feel the Blogs as "Vote Getters" have some inherent limitations as most of us realize we are here preaching to the "A" list voting choir who has largely decided how they will vote long ago. Preaching to the faithful still useful and necessary but gaining new members is what it is all about.

Blogs need to specialize to remain relevant and assert additional influence. It’s about gaining new voters and persuading those “Unaffiliated” and not about converting those already camped put on one of the two big parties

I wish the followers would lead... With a voice so strong in would knock me to my knees...

While I agree with a lot that you say

I do think that those blogs with regular readers and a certain amount of popularity that have been plugging along for some time will survive nicely. I do think newer blogs will find it more and more difficult as time goes on to break into the mix. Group blogs like BlueNC give part-time bloggers a chance to be heard without the commitment of a full-time blog.

Highly specialized blogs are already finding time in the spotlight. I wish I had a special talent/knowledge that would allow me to specialize.

Welcome to BlueNC. Thank you for posting.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Hi there.

Love your name. Blue is becoming my favorite color.

I've been hanging around blogs and online journals for about two years now - it's been six months since we started BlueNC - and I'm still confused about what we do and why. Are we preaching to the choir here? Often. Will we convert hardcore neocons and theocrats? Nope. Which raises the question: What the hell ARE we doing.

I think it's different for everyone. In my case, I'm exploring the progressive fringe . . . being unreasonable and polarizing with the sole purpose of dragging the center back to the left. That's with the rightwing did and now we're struggling just to find common ground in the center. And "the center" today is awfully uninspiring if you're a strong progressive. As I told a friend yesterday, if I do my job correctly, she'll look sane and normal standing next to me.

Glad y ou're here and thanks for diving in. Hope you'll write some diaries and spread the discussion even wider!


A different take...the opposite of single issue

Our readers are deeply involved, but they usually only come with one or two areas of expertise or concern. BlueNC allows these smaller groups to reach out to other progressives who may not share the same primary interest but of a mindset that makes them likely to join in the original. For instance a feminist might come here to promote her issue and see a post on the environment and choose to join in. The best this site can be is a uniter of progressive thinking groups to increase their total impact. This cohesion has been missing from the Democratic party for decades. The right acheives unity through funnelling all ideas through a small number of think tanks and a parasitic allegiance to power; the left needs citizen activists to unite through blogging.

Another way to look at what we are doing here informing those active progressives about the issues in North Carolina so that they are aided in their daily debates with the wingers and city council members. For instance, when someone asks why we should not vote for Charles Taylor, I can tell them that he voted to cut funds for NC forests, block a 9/11 memorial in Pa, has had his banks accussed of corruption in Russia, and failed to vote against CAFTA (and lied about the fact) after pressure from the White House.

Either way, what we are doing here is important in the larger fight to better North Carolina and America. Now if only we could do something for USA soccer.