Monday, October 24, 2005

Top blogs often too one-sided

Top blogs often too one-sided

Blogophiles see blogs as a new way for citizens to express themselves and, especially among the political bloggers, a new way for citizens to talk back to the "MSM" -- the mainstream media. According to Mike Godwin, legal director of a First Amendment advocacy group called Public Knowledge, "A.J. Liebling famously commented that freedom of the press belongs to those who own one. Well, we all own one now."

But in all the excitement and hype, it's easy to overlook the fact that in some ways political blogs are not so different from or even separate from the MSM they often love to hate.

One similarity is found in emerging patterns of Web traffic. Blog abundance creates a paradox: Given more information choices than ever, most people economize, trying to find efficient ways to tame the information tide. So most regular users rely on a few blogs for most of their information. That's one reason why a handful of political blogs gets the lion's share of traffic. A recent study of 2 million Internet users found that the top four blog "hosts," such as, are visited by more than 5 million visitors per quarter. Unique visitors to the Drudge Report and the conservative blog number2 million to 3 million per quarter, twice as many as their nearest competitors and dwarfing countless smaller blogs.

In this respect, these top blogs end up playing a role very similar to what The New York Times -- a favorite target of many bloggers -- does for the MSM.


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