A nifty takedown of the "mythology" of the Blogosphere by Bruce Kluger in today's U.S.A Today. He references the Snakes on a Plane Phenomenon, Ned Lamont's insurgent candidacy against Joe Lieberman, and Howard Dean's run for President, as examples of how little influence bloggers have over contemporary culture and political discourse. After all, Snakes produced a most mediocre Box-office, and Howard Dean's on-line support never translated into real votes in the Democratic primaries.
The article's "money quote":
[this should remind] us that voters represent a meager percentage of the total populace — and that bloggers are an even tinier subset of that group. Consequently, what appears to be a coast-to-coast juggernaut on a 17-inch monitor is, in the real world, simply an elaborate PC-to-PC chain letter — enthusiastic, but not necessarily the national mindset.
Of course, Kluger is missing alot. Among other things, the blogosphere functions as a "feeder system" to the MSM, whereby stories that a particular blogger feels "ought" to be given more prominence can achieve a somewhat longer shelf life and, if noticed by a "real" journalist, may sometimes get a level of exposure commensurate with their significance. For example, one of my proudest moments was seeing a tip I left on Drudge (from a back-page story in the T.O. Star) make his front page, and then appear (sourcing Drudge) on the Fox website a day later.
Nevertheless, one can see, especially in the Liberal portion of the Canadian blogosphere, a tendency among certain bloggers towards swell-headedness, especially after they have been name-checked a few times by professional journalists. For them, the piece should serve as a much needed splash of cold water.