Weblog on the Internet and public policy, journalism, virtual community, and more from David Brake, a Canadian academic, consultant and journalist
22 August 2004

JD Lasica “suggests”:http://ojr.org/ojr/technology/1092267863.php that because blogs like “BoingBoing”:http://boingboing.net/ and “Slashdot”:http://slashdot.com/ are linked to more often than many websites of many ‘old media’ organizations, this means bloggers are starting to trust other bloggers more than the mainstream media.

While “Technorati’s chart of in-links”:http://ojr.org/ojr/uploads/1092273094.jpg (and “pubsub’s”:http://www.pubsub.com/linkranks.php) comparing ‘old media’ properties and blogs are interesting to see, they under-state the importance of the mainstream media to set the agenda because a very substantial proportion of the posts to blogs that are linked to are in turn derived directly from those same old media sites. A better (but more difficult to do) analysis would be to try to measure how many of the posts most linked to add significant facts or thought out opinions (more than just ‘I agree’) to existing debates in the press.

Moreover, it is absurd to extrapolate from the readership habits of bloggers to the readership habits of the wider public. Bloggers are in no way representative – we are much more likely to read other people’s weblogs than the broader Internet population (see “the analysis I did earlier”:https://blog.org/archives/001206.html) and of course most of us are geekier (Slashdot is the most popular weblog cited – QED).


  1. David, while it’s true that big media set the table — and thus drive the news agenda — bloggers are increasingly driving the conversations about those news events. I suspect it’s not so critical for bloggers to add significant facts or uncover newsworthy angles than it is for them to offer “thought out opinions,” as you say. And they are doing just that, in spades.

    You write, “Moreover, it is absurd to extrapolate from the readership habits of bloggers to the readership habits of the wider public.” The article makes no such leap. But who’s to say it won’t happen, with more than 15,000 new blogs being created every day.

    Comment by JD Lasica — 23 August 2004 @ 8:36 am

  2. I do agree with you up to a point. There are plenty of people providing thought out opinions to the public using weblogs and plenty of people who use weblogs to understand the news and value the transparency that results. But neither group is a large proportion of the American public or representative of that public and I fear that the number may never grow to be that large. Instead weblogs may remain an interesting way for a new elite group (mostly made up of members of existing elite groups) to influence the mass media. It is true you don’t say outright that bloggers are representative of the American public but am I wrong to think you believe they will be and they are on the way to being right now?

    Comment by David Brake — 23 August 2004 @ 12:08 pm

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