Carnival Of Blog Coverage

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Carnival #1: The Fall Of Blogs?

A month ago, National Journal magazine published my article on "The Rise Of Blogs." But if the blog coverage of the past several days is right, I was a bit late to the story because the fall of blogs is imminent.

The Financial Times and Slate sparked much of the woe-is-blogs chatter with back-to-back pieces respectively dubbed "Twilight Of The Blogs" and "Time For The Last Post."

Slate's Daniel Gross suggested that while blogs are in their "gangly adolescence" as a cultural phenomenon, they may have peaked as a business model. And FT Writer Trevor Butterworth was more blunt, concluding his essay with a statement about the "dismal fate of blogging: It renders the word even more evanescent than journalism; yoked, as bloggers are, to the unending cycle of news and the need to post four or five times a day, five days a week, 50 weeks of the year, blogging is the closest literary culture has come to instant obsolescence."

Time magazine blogger Andrew Sullivan critiqued the message of both stories and posted a follow-up entry based on a reader's comment. Henry Copeland of Blogads also was unimpressed with the pieces. Both Dan Gillmor of the Center for Citizen Media and Joe Gandelman of The Moderate Voice responded to the Slate article. Stephen Baker of BusinessWeek Online's Blogspotting took exception to the argument of one of the source's in the FT essay that there is no such thing as the blogosphere. And Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit used his forum at TCS Daily to talk about blogging for love and money, as well as blogger buzz-kill.

Two new polls, one by Gallup and the other by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, also fueled some new media navel-gazing among some bloggers about the future of blog readership. You also might want to check out "Will Video Kill The Blogosphere Star?" and the editorial that The Chicago Tribune penned in response to the recent discussions about blogs.

On the political front, my National Journal colleague Bill Beutler stirred the hornets' nest that is the blogosphere with an op-ed in The Washington Examiner. His views on "Politics And The Risks Of Online Activism" didn't sit well with the lefty bloggers who were his focus. Matt Stoller of MyDD led the critics, and Daily Kos and Eschaton joined the Beutler-bashing session. Beutler responded in detail at MyDD, and Stoller shared his take on the "initial lessons" from the exchange. To its credit, The Hotline's Blogometer, where Beutler tracks activity on the blogs daily, also covered the controversy.

Other recent tidbits about blogging:
-- White House strategists think "bloggers are more important than the mainstream media in shaping public opinion."

-- AP profiled Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., as an "evangelist for the blogosphere" and other technologies on Capitol Hill.

-- The Boston Herald reported on how blogs are changing state politics, and guest contributor Joe Lavin said he will forgo the reading of blogs as his sacrifice for Lent. (I guess that means I've lost any chance of winning him as a reader here for a while.) The Herald also noted that a blogger in Cambridge was the first to break the news that Lawrence Summer resigned as president of Harvard University.

-- The Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., talked to new Wall Street Journal blogger Phil Mella about "Why Blogs Work."

-- A newspaper in the Cayman Islands bashed blogs as forums for anonymity, untruths and libel. "Each blog should be taken with a grain of salt and those who spit out vitriolic speech via those formats should be boycotted," the paper said. But The Minnesota Daily took the contrary view in a praiseworthy editorial: "A person's view is disconnected from their social standing, and words are taken without necessarily knowing where they're coming from. In this sense, blogs are an equalizer of power, giving credit where deserved. In an age where the average person can feel like nothing more than a hair on a barbershop floor, any access to voice is a good thing." The Business of London also had kind words for blogs.

-- The Columbia Daily Spectator at Columbia University covered a speech by Gawker co-editor Jesse Oxfeld, who downplayed the battle between blogs and the MSM.

-- William Safire of The New York Times tried to decipher the "Blargon" of blogosphere, where people (including me) love to make up words.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Why Are You Here?

The answer is simple: You love blogs and you want to read everything about them. That's why I am writing this "carnival," and that's why you are reading it.

So who am I? My name is Danny Glover -- the Washington-based journalist/blogger, not the actor. Most people crack jokes about the name, but I've been surprised at how many surfers on the Internet actually assume I am the actor. So I feel compelled to state right up front that I am not him. I'm this guy. Some people have said I look like this actor, but I don't see a resemblance.

Enough about me. What about this Carnival Of Blog Coverage?

Well, the idea came from my friend and fellow blogger, Mark Tapscott of the Heritage Foundation. After I added a portal to blog stories at Beltway Blogroll, the blog about blogs that I write for NationalJournal.com, Mark suggested that I start a carnival of blog stories. He pitched the idea to me in an e-mail very early this morning, while I was snoozing away. I liked the idea so much that I decided to build the blog immediately.

That's one of the things I love about the blogosphere: You have an idea for a blog, and you just build it. It's that easy. That's why there are now 27.2 million blogs and why the size of the blogosphere is doubling about every 5.5 months, according to Technorati founder David Sifry.

So what will I be doing at this blog? Simple. I will periodically post carnival entries on the latest blog stories. Most of the time, I'll probably just link to the stories; other times, I'll summarize them or add my commentary on the substance of the stories.

I know from my other carnival blog, the Carnival Of Tribute for obituaries, that I'm notoriously bad about providing updates, so I'm not going to promise a daily or weekly roundup, or commit to any other deadlines. I'll just post carnivals as I find the time and motivation.

To get your first fix, one that combines recent blog stories with some from the past several months, visit that portal at Beltway Blogroll I mentioned earlier.