Styles of Networked Politics (Scoop Considered Harmful)

Aristocratic Right Wing Blogosphere Stagnating,” by Chris Bowers, MyDD, 12 June 2005, (from tdaxp).

Conservative Blog Sprawl Is A Serious Threat To Progressive Blogosphere Dominance,” by Chris Bowers, MyDD, 7 July 2005,

Earlier I blogged Chris Bowers’ analysis of the rise of big liberal blogs. Specifically he described Scoop, a reader-friendly blog package that allows any commentator to write front-page stories. Famously, he wrote

In short, the anti-community nature of right-wing blogs has resulted in a stagnant aristocracy within the conservative blogosphere that prevents the emergence of new voices and, as a result, new reasons for people to visit conservative blogs.

Unless right-wing blogs decide to open up and allow their readers to have a greater voice, I expect that the liberal and progressive blogosphere will continue its unbroken twenty-month rise in relative traffic.


Because the big liberal blogs are more commenter-friendly that the big conservative blogs, there are more big liberal blogs and many more small conservative blogs. While a dailyKos reader can get his thoughts published on the dKos homepage, and seen by thousands, an Instapundit reader has to start his own blog and hope it gets linked to.

But now, Mr Bowers looks at the other side: because liberal blogs are so easy to join, big liberal blogs kills off the liberal grassroots before it can even form

To a certain extent, this is probably the result of several large progressive blogs offering quick and easy ways to take part in large communities, something that is not found nearly as often on large right-wing blogs. Why start a local blog when you can just have a diary on Dailykos? Whatever the cause, however, this is a serious problem that progressives must both accept and face. Certainly there are some very good local lefty blogs communities, but overall local blogging is dominated by conservatives. The Thune bloggers are just one example of the impact this can have on a campaign.


(The “Thune bloggers” Bowers talks about are South Dakota Politics, Sibby Online, and other Republican sites in South Dakota that helped to remove Tom Daschle from the Senate.)

Scoop and other tools of the liberal blogosphere have made centralization much easier. Liberal bloggers have adopted top-down, Soviet-style network-centric warfare as their de facto doctrine. Liberals are pushing power up, concentrating power and leading to mental isolation seperating the leaders from the led. Meanwhile, conservative bloggers use simpler tools to spread in more places. Conservatives are pushing power down. The conservative bloggers have adopted netwar as their de facto doctrine.

So which strategy is better? Is NCW best, because elections are like set battles? Is netwar best, because politics is a game of heart and minds? The answer: politics is a full-spectrum battlespace, and both net-centric war and netwar should be used by a wise politician.

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