You know, I’ve been thinking about this and worrying about it for some time. I don’t visit Kos, like, not ever, because I don’t see a whole lot of brainpower being used by his commenters and contributors. Mainly mud slinging, McChimpster BushHitler, etc. The blogs that I visit are written by, in most cases, professionals, or, at least by intelligent people who have intelligent things to say. But numbers do not lie. Maybe the underlying reasons for those numbers are not so easily deciphered, but the numbers speak volumes.
In a blog posting I just read by Chris Bowers at MYDD and a related one at Polipundit, where Lori Byrd and Bowers go at it in the comments section, Bowers gives us conservatives some scary facts.
The left-wing blogosphere is beginning to decidedly pull away from the right wing blogosphere in terms of traffic. This is largely a result of the open embrace of community blogging on the left and the stagnant, anti-meritorious nature of the right-wing blogosphere that pushes new, emerging voices to the margins.Now, as a relative newcomer to the blogosphere and having to operate all alone down here in Mexico with no technical support whatsoever, some of this explanation, especially from a far left wing liberal, may be a little over my head. I cannot judge it fairly. But what I can judge is numbers and numbers never lie. The analysis of the numbers may be a lie or the numbers themselves may be irrelevant but are used to support a lie, but numbers themselves never lie. Claiming that numbers lie is like claiming "computer error". It don’t happen that way.
As I have always been prone to do, I spent much of the morning looking at the Blogads traffic rankings. Adding up the 200 blogs that are concerned with politics and either identify or have been identified with Democrats / liberals or Republicans / conservatives, I found 87 blogs that general fit into the "liberal" category and 113 blogs that fit into the conservative category.
However, despite the greater number of conservative blogs, the liberal blogs totaled nearly ten million page views per week, while the conservative blogs managed just over six million.
I have been tracking the comparative audiences of the two blogosphere off and on for the past nine months, and this is the largest lead for the liberal blogosphere that I have ever found. In September, the margin in favor of Democrats was 25%. In winter, it was 33%. In the spring, it was 50%. Now, it has risen to 65%. This is particularly amazing, since less than two years ago the conservative blogosphere was at least twice the size of the liberal blogosphere.
So the liberal blogosphere is beginning to pull away from the conservative blogopshere in terms of audience size. At the same time, there appear to be more conservative blogs than liberal blogs. In fact, when it comes to total number, new Republican / conservative blogs might even be outpacing new Democratic / liberal blogs. What could be the cause of this?
The answer that seems most likely to me is community. Take a look at the breakdown of the 200 blogs I surveyed by quintile:
Of the twenty-four liberal blogs in the top quintile, Dailykos, TPM Café, Smirking Chimp, Metafilter, BooMan Tribune, MyDD, and Dembloggers are full-fledged community sites where members cannot only comment, but they can also post diaries / articles / polls. By comparison, there are no community sites among the top twenty-four conservative blogs. None, zip, zero, nada.
In fact, of the five most trafficked conservative blogs (over 200,000 page views per week), only one, Little Green Footballs, even allows comments, much less the ability to actually write a diary or a new article. (This is so true. Of the many blogsites that I visit, at least two thirds do not allow trackbacks.)
In the summer of 2003, Dailykos was roughly equal in traffic to Atrios, and had less than half the traffic of Instapundit. However, starting with a large growth spurt following the introduction of Scoop in October of 2003, now Dailykos has grown to three times the size of Instapundit and four times the size of Atrios.
An entire generation of popular liberal bloggers grew out of the Dailykos diaries and comments: Billmon, Steve Soto, Steve Gillard, Melanie, DemfromCT, DhinMI, Theoria, Tom Schaller, Meteor Blades, DavidNYC, myself, SusanHu, Jerome a Paris, lapin, Maryscott O'Conner, NYCO, Mariascat, and many, many more. I believe that the wave of new talent and fresh voices that the comments and dairy options bring to a blog has been the key factor in the liberal blogosphere outpacing the growth of the right wing blogosphere.
By comparison, right-wing blogs have pretty much only one means of finding a new voice in the blogosphere: when someone starts a new blog. (Hello!)
There are swarms of new conservative voices looking to breakout in the right-wing blogosphere, but they are not even allowed to comment, much less post a diary and gain a following, on the high traffic conservative blogs. Instead, without any fanfare, they are forced to start their own blogs. However, because of the top-down nature of right-wing blogs, new conservative blogs remain almost entirely dependent upon the untouchable high traffic blogs for visitors. In short, the anti-community nature of right-wing blogs has resulted in a stagnant aristocracy within the conservative blogosphere that prevents the emergence of new voices and, as a result, new reasons for people to visit conservative blogs. (Hello, again)
At least when it comes to the national blogosphere, liberals are leaving conservatives in the dust. By comparison, conservatives seem all too happy to continue to cogitate from atop their lofty and increasingly irrelevant perch. That's fine by me. I hope some things never change.
So, I look forward to hearing from some members of that Conservative Aristocracy in the blogosphere to explain to us neophytes, "Whazzup!".
Linked, pleadingly, to: PoliPundit, Obsidian Wings, OTB Traffic Jam