Thursday, October 25, 2012

I Was Beautiful While I Lasted



From "The Daily Beast":
...
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.
...

[Susie] Madrak’s example is typical. She blogs, she says, more than ever, up to 20 times per day. But traffic is a third of what it was at its peak, and instead of being able to make a living through ad dollars, she is forced to seek donations intermittently on her site.


...

“The days when people could be very influential in the blogosphere aren’t here anymore,” she said.

...

“When we started we were deeply anti-Bush, and there was a unanimity of purpose in the early days that we needed to modernize the left,” said Bill Scher, who founded the site Liberal Oasis. “We thought we understood the modern media a lot better than the old guard, and way better than the elites in Washington. We were tired of watching our guys get beat up on the talk shows, and tired of the purity tests of the ‘Old Left.’”
...

His site, which at its peak received 6,000 to 7,000 visitors a day, is now updated once a week with Scher’s podcast.

...
“Since Obama, the cohesion has splintered,” he says. “The Netroots are now just a random collection of bloggers.”

...

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 downside to the growth of Daily Kos and the professionalization of our medium is that the small-time blogger is on the verge of extinction,” writes Moulitsas. “That chaotic cacophony of amateur online voices was beautiful while it lasted, though.”

...
I have read many peculiar things in my day, but I have never read my professional obituary so many times in such a short period.

Not that I have never seen my death notice before.  Hell, when I attended Netroots Nation in Chicago five years ago, the demise of the solo, single-shingle blogger was being openly posted like marriage banns: a clear, bright line was being drawn between them as has and them as not, and if you were on the wrong side of that velvet rope you were basically being consigned to obscurity and oblivion. Very sorry, old chap, but this revolution comes with a business model and you're not a shareholder.

And thus has arisen the semiannual tradition of reporting on the sad death of those sad little blogs which did not get picked for the football team (which means any blog that doesn't have steady ad revenues or an endowment from a university or think tank, or is some appendage of a larger media empire, or otherwise has the right contacts.) About twice a year, pennies are solemnly and ceremony jammed onto our eyes and under the earth we are hurriedly shoveled...

...accompanied by the sound of our lively swearing and our boot heels kicking the lids off of our coffins --

 

-- while HuffPo and a few like it gallop past on their way to another seminar on media synergistics very much not-covered-in-shit.

I am not a fool or a cynic: I understand the workplace and the compromises most people must make to earn a paycheck in the real world.  I am also all for prosperity, for skilled labor making a good living, for paying the effing writer and all of that.  But one of most frustrating spectacles to watch over the last five years since I first showed up in an obituary has been the abject failure of the big Progressive fish to the learn the hard, capitalist lesson that once they made our cause a business, they doomed themselves to become the hors d'Ĺ“uvre of the bigger fish out in the deeper water.

Of course, there is an alternative, but Arianna ain't gonna like it:

8 comments:

Karen Crosby said...

Dg, You rock as always. I think this hysteria is bs to the max. It is nothing but disinformation or propaganda. "Divide and conquer." We have heard that all of our lives. I am standing tall (well, actually kinda short) under the banner of Solidarity Forever! Thanks.

Fearguth said...

My blog is in its seventh year and I now have over 23,000 posts. I will say, however, that on Facebook, I reach as many folks daily as I ever have on my blog. And, as a capper, I was 'tweeting' long before Twitter came along.

MarkGisleson said...

I was also at Yearly Kos in Chicago, and that was when I realized it was all passing me by. I thought it was going to be a real networking weekend, but instead it was the weekend I realized that you can't connect with anyone at large events without a cell phone and social media. Unfortunately, I'd left my Mac at home on my desktop, and didn't really connect with many folks. (I also found out that if you use your room phone to check your voice mail back home, you can run up $100 real fast in room charges.)

After YK, blogging was harder, more a habit than a mitzvah. I could tell that my audience (much smaller than yours) would never grow over 500 readers a day again, and that the links in the from the big blogs were more a form of charity than community.

But that's OK. I've learned that you can be much nastier in 140 characters than I ever was as a blogger. But I prize the survivors as much as I valued the experience, and I will always remember this format as one that changed things if only by letting others like us know that there really were others like us.

And sorry, but no $$ to drop in your tip jar, but I hope my words make someone else feel guilty enough to overtip.

RossK said...

Didn't Gilliard once write a post about how this single-shingle thing ain't SUPPOSED to be easy?

Regardless, to co-opt a phrase from Steve in a way that he wouldn't mind....

Eff The Effing Aggregators!

.

Roket said...

Bloggers may come and go.
But conservatives are a fucking pain in the ass no matter what time it is.

The old media is dead.
Long live the bloggers.

Anonymous said...

If you're dead, then why do I read your blog but not Huffpo or Kos?

Kevin Holsinger said...

Alas, poor Driftglass.

I emailed him a couple of times, Horatio. A fellow of infinite, obscure science-fiction references.

daver said...

Just a bit of feedback from the 'other side' (cue Halloween music):

My experience as a daily reader of blogs hasn't really changed a bit in the last 6 years (except perhaps that there are a few more good podcasts to download weekly).

Whatever tidal waves are hitting whomever on the shores of Bigblogbiztan, it's the first I've heard of it - it don't confront me.

There's always more good content than I have time for and new sites to check out constantly. I get 4 different views of every day's republican outrage - more than enough to keep me informed and to keep my blood pressure at an unhealthy level.

Kudos to dgbg and all of the many few.