Tuesday, April 18, 2006

What should we make of this?

As you know, The Washington Post did a profile/pigeonholing/hatchet job on MaryScott @ My Left Wing on Sunday. As a blogger feeling under-read, I was curious to see how it affected her traffic. You can see the stats here. Traffic was up - double or maybe even triple the normal weekend numbers, up to about 20,000 visitors. But that is far below the spike I would have expected. When I get a link from Raw Story or Buzzflash, my stats at least triple, and sometimes are 5X normal. That's just for a blurb on a website with signifcant overlap with this one. The Sunday WaPo (dead tree version) has a circulation of about 1,000,000. This was a front page story, and it was in the online WaPo as well. It was covered in most lefty blogs. So why didn't her numbers go through the roof?


(1) Most WaPo readers just don't care -- For the average WaPo page-flipper, an article about the blogosphere was kinda like an article about life in East Fonglipistan. Both places are filled with exotic, unsavory people speaking strange tongues. They aren't interested in taking a trip to either one.

(2) Most WaPo readers are not online -- I have no idea if this is true, but it would explain quite a bit. We in the 'sphere know what rank nonsense fills the WaPo editorial page. We know it because we have alternative, reality-based sources of information. As a result, we take what the WaPo tells us with a golf ball-sized grain of salt. If the reason WaPo readres do not choke on the happy horseshit they consume is because they simply do not know any better, that would explain a lot.

Other ideas?

I think this is an important question because our "fringeness" is a problem to be overcome. I'm confident in the truth value of what we say, but puzzled by the small number of folks willing to even be exposed to our viewpoints. If a front page story in the WaPo won't bring hoi polloi around for a looksee, what will?


Anonymous Bill Arnett said...

I think the answer could very well be that WaPo and the NYT ("All the News Republicans Tell Us to Print") so destroyed their credibility by withholding crucial information about Bushco and their misdeeds until after Bush was reelected that no one believes them.

The info withheld, WaPo: secret torture prisons, and NYT: domestic spying without warrants, was so damaging to Bush that, by withholding it, these two newspapers disinfranchised FIFTY MILLION people (at least!), and operated to deny democracy to all Americans who cast votes.

Does anyone believe for one second that in an election as close as the '04 election Bush/Cheney would have been reelected if this info had been known? It is vile, it is traitorous, and both papers deserve nothing but contempt and derision. Rehabilitation isn't possible for an offense this grave, and I, among millions (I believe) will never again lend credence to either paper.

I no longer believe ANYTHING in either paper that is not verified elsewhere by reliable sources. They should both just close their doors, sell the presses, fire the staff, and check into a monastery to pray for forgiveness.

Could this possibly answer your question? So many people KNOW that the Wapo is now just a gossip rag and administration stenographer that they won't bother to try to investigate info provided by such a scumbag paper?

10:26 AM  
Anonymous RandyH said...

Wow, Bill. That's a good rant... and I concur. Yesterday I read about the Pulitzer prize winners this year and both of the series you mentioned (Dana Priest's secret gulag series and James Risen's domestic spying series) won Pulitzers. Not that reporting like that isn't deserving of such praise, but had these been reported when they were first researched BEFORE the election, we would not be in the disastrous mess that we are now.

Personally, I only read either paper for the entertaining OpEd pages unless someone links to a news piece from somewhere in the blogosphere as a must-read piece.

11:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sturm und Drang

Sturm und Drang (literally: "storm and urge"; sometimes also called "storm and stress" in English-speaking countries) ...it developed more immediately as a reaction against what was seen as an overly rationalist literary tradition ... Sturm und Drang was revolutionary in its stress on personal subjectivity and on the unease of man in contemporary society ... The movement was also distinguished by the intensity with which it developed the theme of youthful genius in rebellion against accepted standards and by its enthusiasm for nature. (Wikipedia)

We (humans) have been there and done that, and it led to this. Now what? Back to counting angels on the head of a pin?

Why aren't you asking what WILL make a difference to your own personal life, instead of telling us what (intellectually) SHOULD make a difference to us all?
The only difference that will count in the end is the difference that makes a difference on the ground, not an intellectual distinction/difference (like those posited for a PhD thesis).

To sum up: these are not arguments taking place in the blogosphere, these are REAL struggles for control of YOU. What makes a difference is whatever will put you in charge of you; not someone else, not your emotions, but all of you, aware of and in charge of ALL of you.

2:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just noticed that when I made the previous post, two ads for stress management appeared at the top of your blog. Is that a good thing? Is that what you thought would happen?

3:07 PM  
Blogger vermontraccoon said...

Sturm und Drang, Sturm und Drang me,
Gotta go get a rope und hang me....

7:25 AM  
Blogger Maryscott OConnor said...

Traffic is quadruple what it was.

Page view and visit time averages are the same. Which is quite something. It means people are staying.

On the day of the story, traffic spiked at ten times its usual rate, some 14000 visits that day. It's leveled off at approximately 7000 visits a day, as opposed to the 1700 a day before the Post piece was published.

All in all, not bad; I didn't have any expectations of more than a blip increse, so I'm pretty satsfied with the results.

12:20 PM  

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