Saturday, March 04, 2006

Controversy Over the Wisconsin Blog Summit

It might seem that a “summit” of Wisconsin bloggers would be a bland enough event, but in fact the event planned on March 18 has become a bit controversial.

Both Sean at The American Mind and Owen at Boots & Sabers have expressed disappointment over the program. First Sean:
Let me inform the powers that be that the beauty, interest, and dare I say it, power of the blogosphere isn’t from people already involved in politics and media jumping onto the “next big thing.” Its power comes from empowering voices of people who previously didn’t have a voice or the ability to be easily heard.
Sean then lists some excellent bloggers who were not invited to be on the program, and comments:
Now, I’ll look at how long the panelists have been in the blogosphere. State Sen. Pocan has only been posting since 01.03.06. Garvey has three years under his belt. Althouse, two years. Sykes, three-and-a-half. McBride, eight months. McAdams, consistently one year. Fraley, three months. TAM has been running for over six years. 74 months to be exact. That compares to a combined 127 months of those “vaunted” summit participants. That averages out to a little over 18 months of weblogging experience per weblogger.
Sean’s bottom line:
Let me inform the powers that be that the beauty, interest, and dare I say it, power of the blogosphere isn’t from people already involved in politics and media jumping onto the “next big thing.” Its power comes from empowering voices of people who previously didn’t have a voice or the ability to be easily heard.
Owen continues along similar lines:
Some of the bloggers on the list are good people and good bloggers, but all but one of them (maybe two) was already part of the established media/politics nexus before they became bloggers. To them, blogging was just a new way of doing the same thing. Beyond that, several of the bloggers on the panel are rookies.

What’s missing are the pure bloggers. The regular guys and gals whose voices were previously ignored, but whose blogs have made people listen. The unwashed mass of bloggers who people brush past on the street, but who go home and change the world from their keyboards.
We have a few random thoughts about this for Sean and Owen:

First, this sounds like sour grapes, no matter how good a case you have. So maybe these sorts of arguments should be made by somebody else.

Second, some people not on the program certainly have a case, given their importance. The American Mind is currently getting a bit over 700 visitors per day. We understand that Boots & Sabers gets about 4,500 visitors per day. Both are bigger than this blog, which is currently getting just shy of 400 visitors per day, and Fraley’s, which is getting just under 300. But we and Fraley are both on the program.

Second, remember C.C. Colton’s dictum that “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” The fact that lots of people other than you pioneers are getting into blogging is a huge tribute to you.

Third, you wouldn’t want to promote a new kind of elitism, would you? Remember, you rebelled against the arrogance of the mainstream media that dismissed the typical blogger as “a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas writing what he thinks.” Do you now want to insist that us “Johnny come lately” types aren’t pure bloggers, and have nothing to contribute?

Fourth, you should come. Expect to be treated like minor celebrities. (Since these are Wisconsin bloggers, nobody is going to be a major celebrity. Althouse might be a “mid-level celebrity.”) Enjoy the event.

Fifth, expect to be on the program at this event in the future, or a similar event real soon. Nobody is gainsaying your contributions.

Finally, a comment from tee bee at Badger Blog Alliance:
Face it, you’re all a bunch of attention-seeking geeks who like to prattle on about the esoteric things you’re interested in, and crave the company and attention of similarly driven people. Hence, the WisPolitics/WisOpinion Blog Summit, just for you.
We plead guilty.

We suggest that you plead guilty.

The last thing we want is to ape the pomposity of the mainstream media.

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