There have been some interesting responses to that post by email, comments and in other blog postings. I’ll update you on them.
- Comment by The Happy Capitalist: Interesting analysis, but it makes sense. My observation is that liberals (in spite of their label) read only liberal blogs. Conservatives tend to read blogs from both sides of center. So it goes to reason that liberal blogs would have twice the traffic of conservative blogs. Nothing scientific here, only my observations.
- Comment by Hilzoy at Obsisian Wings: Following the trackback: actually, I don't think it's right that liberals don't read conservative blogs. I do, for one thing; more significantly, most of our liberal commenters do as well. (And our conservative commenters read liberal blogs.)
I think that one possibly relevant thing is this: I haven't noticed a huge number of self-identified conservatives who disagree on a regular basis with the Bush administration. There are some, but their numbers are dwarfed by the Powerlines of this world. Liberals have no one to feel the need to agree with (I'm not saying, at all, that we wouldn't behave similarly given the chance; I hope we wouldn't, but frankly I have no clue.) This might mean that building a community (or having any sort of real discussion) seems less necessary to those conservatives who conceive of their goal as: providing support to the administration, and knocking down the arguments of those who oppose it. Since we (liberals) couldn't act this way even if we wanted to, and since we're much more likely to think of our urgent task as figuring out what on earth to do, we might be more likely to need to bring in as many voices as possible.
- Comment by Yankee Sailor: I've noticed the same thing. There are a couple of high-profile bloggers on the Conservative side that I read regularly, but won't link to - because they don't allow comments. Interaction is intergral (sic) to the blogosphere. Not allowing comments just ain't...bloggerly!
- Comment from doverspa at Redstate.org: Well for one, they used data from advertising. RedState.org (which I edit for) is one of the larger right leaning blogs that is a scoop format, but since we are a 527 we can't have blogads. So we aren't included in the "numbers" that don't lie.
There is a different dynamic on both sides, but I'm not sure that one is better or not. There are more liberal students who can post comments/diaries/etc and not have work get in the way. While many workers can only read sites without commenting. Also the Dean and anti-war movements were big and brought people online so maybe more libs are there right now. Finally, when I look for leftist idea, I look at dKos. That's a big enough forum that it covers everything. When I look for right-of-center info, I look at instapundit (who links to many people but has no comments), Redstate, captain's quarters, realclearpolitics, etc.
It'll be interesting to see if they merge toward one model or if they stay different.
- Email from Bill at INDC Journal: Agree with some of your analysis, but " lofty and increasingly irrelevant perch?"
Liberal blogs, for all their populism, do not drive the national news agenda, perhaps because they aren't as serious thinkers or there is a flaw in the process by which they make the attempt. And given the fact that the overall population of blog readers is relatively small anyway, this has less a reflection on blogs actual power and "influence" than you presume.
Blogs are a force multiplier that utilizes the MSM, at this stage.
- And finally this morning, James Joyner at Outside the Beltway weighs in with a long and insightful post of his own on the subject. It’s a biggie so I will excerpt: The number of Lefty bloggers who have had successful spinoffs from those sites is impressive. Aside from Red State, the Right has nothing like that in terms of a farm system. So, is the Right Blogosphere in fact stagnating?
Taking one standard measure, the TTLB Ecosystem, it doesn't seem that way. Several of the very top sites, and even more of the sites in the top 100, are new or at least emergent in the last year or so. There has been remarkable turnover in the list since I first started looking at it about two years ago. Michelle Malkin just had her first blogiversary this week and is already ahead of Atrios and sometimes ahead of even DailyKos. Ed Morrissey's Captain's Quarters is younger than OTB and regularly in the top ten. PowerLine has been around since May 2002 but only hit the stratosphere in the last year. Dozens of newish sites are in the top 100 and many of the stalwart blogs that were in the upper reaches of the Ecosystem when I started blogging have fallen off the charts.
Using another metric, influence, I'd say the Rightie sites are holding their own as well. PowerLine was Time's Blog of the Year, Morrissey was a key force in breaking the Gomery scandal, and InstaPundit is still the most linked and read single author blog.
Chris is right, though, that the collective blogs are a traffic generator.
Using Bear's traffic rankings, which are admittedly a moving target, the Righty and Lefty blogs seem about evenly represented in the upper reaches (with several non-blogs thrown in the mix as well). That's a significant change from two years ago, when the Righty sides predominated.
So, I'm of mixed minds on what Chris suggests. She's right that the mega blogs on the Left create a sense of community that can direct traffic efficiently and give quicker visibility to budding authors. This has surely been a significant factor in the rapid rise to parity of the Lefty blogs after letting the Righty sites get a big head start.
On the other hand, I'm not sure that I want to see the rise of a assimilated blogs on the Right. The current system, where people start off reading blogs and participating in the comments sections before getting inspired to start their own sites, seems to be working out fine.
- Mark in Mexico responds to Bill at INDC Journal: All I am saying is that, based on Bower's numbers, which I have no reason to doubt, there are a hell of a lot more visitors and commenters to the left-wing blogs than to ours. Like millions more per week. That concerns me, and, I think, should concern you.
My first thoughts were that, because the conservatives are in power, the left-wing believes it must make a lot more noise to have itself be heard. This is a double edged sword because the right-wing, now in power, doesn't have the motivation to make a lot of noise like we did before Nov. 2. All things being equal, as before Nov. 2, 2004, the blogs were pretty equal. Since Nov. 2, however, the left-wing blogs have crushed those of the right, as far as readership is concerned. I was stunned to see that Kos was so big when most of the postings there are crap. Not because they present another point of view, but because they are crap. Crap that several million people read every week. That concerns me.
Bowers believes that the big right-wing blogs have established themselves as an aristocracy and there may be some truth to that. I now think that "smugness" is more likely the culprit. We won, so development stops while we go on to other pursuits. They lost and are working their asses off to recover.
What are we going to do?
More responses at: The Llama Butchers, Cadillac Tight, The Shape of Days, Bloke's Blog, Obsidian Wings,