I'm fond of saying that there are three people and a super-intelligent Parakeet who read this blog on any regular basis, and since the Fall of 2008 it's been a rough, semi-regular conduit for one level of personal creativity.
Out here in The Intertubes, anyone can promote the most bizarre theories, show hardcore adult material, or the 10,000 photos of a trip to Milwaukee, share the most deeply esoteric or intolerant religious doctrines. And (what corporate America sees as the Net's true purpose) you can look at, buy and sell stuff.
Whatever you want, man; it's the Wild West out there.
What makes all that possible is the current democratic structure of the Net. At least in the West, it isn't yet controlled by corporate or government interests in an obvious way -- though the Net is heavily mined and monitored by those same interests, for security, intelligence and marketing reasons. But for individuals the 'Tubes are still fairly democratic (I understand there are differing opinions about this). You vote with your Mouse -- utilize a search engine; surf in, stay and look around, or click away.
If your primary business is web design, pushing product, or message, or expressing an opinion, your Alexa or Klout numbers, total Facebook followers and Twits are all-important. On that level it's a popularity contest, which develops in any media dependent on Market Share.
At least outwardly, that's why Fox decided to ditch Little Glenny Beck, and why the MSM continues to pay so much attention to a vapid hack like Drudge. If more "media consumers" believed they were nothing but gleeful pushers of right-wing lies, they might vanish (but no other network has been willing to develop an opposing business model to challenge Fox or ClearChannel).
Then, there's the opinion section of Blogtopia -- mostly personal blog sites like this one, though Opinion Street includes the TPMs and Daily Kos' and The New York Times' FiveThirtyEight, and specialists in Investment or Finance, Law, and Public Policy. How it is that people like what they like in this part of the Net is a tricky question. So, this seems like a good place to quote myself:
There were a large number of blogs I used to follow when it was a new phenomenon -- Hey, you can hang out there and pretty much say whatever you want! By now, as with any industry, for those bloggers who have continued providing analysis and entertainment to the Intertubes, they've developed into tribes, circles of mutually-supporting friends, each with their own sites.Und, Noch Eimal:
Woe betide you if you bore them, piss them off, or are identified as a Troll. Commenting at their sites is a bit like appearing, the stranger, at someone's party and if you just don't quite fit in... Well, ostracization, 'Blackballing', 'freezing out'... is what it was once called; I believe the blogging term is they don't get to sit at the cool kids' table, and for the most part, that's pretty much the level [of] where it's at.
I don't try to sit at the kid's table; I'm not a concise or especially original blogger when it comes to social commentary or Left politics, and even when I make jokes as a commenter it's as if I'd made a bad smell in the room.
But, if acclaim as a blogger, or 'getting a name' as a commenter on other blogs is the reason why someone posts... That's the functional equivalent of going into acting just to read the reviews.
Some pundits with a large soapbox to stand on... deserve to be ignored, vilified; to have their IP addresses blocked and sent to dwell in the land of Little Rupert, East of Podhoretz... but they won't leave. They won't perform a swan song -- a GBCW! post: Good-Bye, Cruel World!
...Sometimes, the GBCW is purely voluntary. At some level, the Blogosphere -- Left or Right -- mimics high school. Bloggers and regular commentors tend to affiliate, and like any other association of humans can be exclusionary. On occasion someone appears whose style in posting comments is grating, awkward. They insist on being right, on dominating a thread; they just don't express ideas well. They may be off-topic, [or] are thin-skinned when teased -- as they will be (humans are humans, and anonymous ones even more so).
Usually, these people have a blog of their own. They want to be one of the Kool Kidz, too, and have lots of site traffic -- to be popular. To "be someone".
The problem is, they already are someone, and they've confused the raison d'etre of their blog, or commenting on someone else's post, with wanting to appear on something like the old Gong Show.I'll get back with the three people and the super-intelligent Parakeet a little later.
So, when no one reads their amazingly important, detailed, lengthy blog posts; and they're ignored when adding to threads on other sites... they may write that GBCW post, clomping off the Internet stage with a final, long soliloquy explaining ad nauseum why they are right and the rest of the world is wrong, wrong, wrong; and also, bad.