Saturday, January 28, 2006

The Center of the Blogosphere

Though it's mostly on another subject, a line from this Todd Zywicki post prompted me to ask a question that's been niggling at me for some time. He writes:
My impression is that liberal blogs tend to be in some sense larger and more centralized (such as Daily Kos), whereas conservative blogs tend to be more plentiful, smaller, and more decentralized in structure.

Zywicki isn't the first one who's said this--it's a refrain I've heard for awhile now. My question is whether it's true? And what I really wonder is how much The Daily Kos distorts our picture of the thing.

Because when it comes to Kos, Zywicki is absolutely right. Kos is large, centralized, brings together a huge community, is a fund-raising machine, participates in activism--it pretty much is a massive, do-everything hub. And there really isn't any parallel on the conservative side of things. But, and here's where my question comes in, is there really anything else like it amongst liberals either? What Kos has done is absolutely amazing, no question. But across the whole blogosphere (left and right), I think of it as something of an anomaly. Outside of Kos, liberal and conservative blogs seem to behave roughly in the same manner. They have their heavy hitters (Kevin Drum, Josh Marshall) as well as plenty of middling and smaller blogs floating around. Take Kos out of the picture, and there doesn't seem to be any more or less centralization, monopolization, or conglomerization amongst liberals vis a vis conservatives.

Am I wrong about this? I know that "take Kos out of the picture" makes for a pretty big shift in the blogworld, but even still--I think that it's fairer to call Kos a singular phenomena rather than tag it as emblematic of the whole left end of the blogosphere.

1 comment:

jack said...

Also, I'm not sure centralized is the best way to describe dkos. Granted its all at one domain name...but in a lot of ways its radically decentralized. The diary system essentially gives thousands of users their own mini-blog. And I think the affect is to make the blogosphere even more democratic. No longer do you to spend years building a readership or have some outside qualification that draw readers. Anyone who has a good idea can publish a diary which is convievably read by thousands.

And the fact that all this mini-blogging occurs at one place does wonders for communication. Kos encourages participation in the political process- Powerline doesn't even let you comment.