Political blogs, now or forever?
Wednesday, August 18th, 2004
Have you submitted your nominees yet to the Washington Post’s political blog contest?
Although the contest isn’t clearly marked as non-editorial, it appears to be a ploy by the Post’s marketing department to piggyback the blog juggernaut and grab news junkie (aka blog reader) registrations.
The only lame category is the last, “most likely to outlive the election,” which gets things backwards. Better instead to survey “most likely to triple traffic by December 1, 2004” or something similarly blog-bullish.
The Post’s misread of blogging’s popularity trajectory suggests wishful thinking. Post business execs no doubt dream that bloggers will somehow crawl under a rock once the election is over.
You think bloggers are going to put away their soap boxes on November 3? Publishers had the same fantasy about Matt Drudge after Clinton left office… today Drudge is bigger than 99% of American publishers.
For historical perspective, here’s a post I wrote two years ago when Instapundit’s traffic surpassed, for the first time, 100,000 impressions in a single day. At that point, many pundit-watchers were calling a top in blog traffic, believing blog readers would go back to their CNN and local newspaper once the conflict in Afghanistan plateaued. Then came Iraq. Then came the primaries. Then the presidential campaigns.
Now Instapundit does 200,000+ impressions every weekday. Here’s a graph of his last twelve months traffic. (Note that August is a partial month.)
Sure we’ll have quite weeks, sometimes months. And sure, if Kerry wins, liberal blog traffic will go down 20%, but from levels twice today’s. And a Kerry win will double conservative bloggers’ traffic again by inauguration day. Likewise, if Bush wins, conservative blog traffic will slip 20% (from double today’s levels) and Dem blog traffic will grow 50% by January 20, 2005.
Bottom line: whatever the political season, people (formerly known as readers) love sharing news and opinion with intelligent no-BS real people (aka bloggers) rather than least-common-denominator, bias-muffling corporate news factories.
The umbrella has turned inside out, and the spoke tips are now the hub.