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Friday, August 12, 2005

Left Sees Tremendous Growth in the Blogosphere, According to New Politics Institute Study

It contains some truly puzzling analyses in some respects, but a new study for New Politics Institute by Chris Bowers and Matthew Stoller is loaded with striking information about the ideological state of political play in the Blogosphere.

Bowers and Stoller argue that the Right side of the Blogosphere is little more than an echo chamber for the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy that allegedly controls the MSM. Thus, they argue that "most right-wing blogs reiterate talking points that are generated from inside formal conservative institutions; conversations center on feeling victimized for being right-wing, attacking and hating progressives, and attacking and hating the media."

That statement seems on its face to be contradicted by the first "Netroots advantage" Bowers and Stoller see for the Right: "Conservative blogs are more likely to take a local focus than progressive blogs, and to create strong, local blog rings."

Still, don't let that prevent your reading what I believe to be a very perceptive analysis by Bowers and Stoller of what the Left is doing on the Blogosphere:

"Progressive blogs build communities of activists and generate new political activity online. Blogs and online organizations offer forums where people can actively engage in progressive politics - real involvement from people talking about politics, policy, organizing, their lives, etc. The degree to which progressive blogs encourage active engagement in political dialogue has fueled their rapid growth over the past several years."

Bowers and Stoller lay out the numbers for that growth thusly:

"In the past two years, the political dynamics of the Internet have reversed themselves. According to research conducted by MyDD.com, as of July, 2005, the ninety-eight most trafficked progressive blogs totaled an amazing 15,181,649 page views per week, an average of over two million daily page views.(3) That is over five times the size of the entire political blogosphere just two years ago.
By way of comparison, the top one-hundred and fifty conservative blogs had less than ten million page views per week during this period, and just over one million unique visits a day. In less than two years the progressive blogosphere had grown from less than as big as the conservative blogosphere, to nearly double its size.
Nowhere is this rise more apparent than in a direct comparison of the largest progressive and conservative sites. As previously discussed, two years ago, Instapundit was three times larger than any other blog. However, as of July, 2005, the largest progressive blog, Dailykos, received more than four times as many montly visits.
It’s important to remember that Instapundit is still growing. Over the last two years, it has almost doubled the size of its audience. However, over the same period, Dailykos, now easily the largest political blog in the world, has increased its audience nearly thirty-times over.

There is much in Bowers and Stoller's report that can be argued, but I think their fundamental point about the Left taking advantage of blogs to build communities of political activism is right on target and deserves serious and extended consideration by folks on the Right.

By the way, Beltway Blogroll has some interesting information about the political activities of Bowers and Stoller:

"The report, 'Emergence of the Progressive Blogosphere: A New Force in American Politics,' was authored by two liberal bloggers: Chris Bowers of MyDD, who is now a volunteer for Democratic House candidate Ginny Schrader in Pennsylvania; and Matt Stoller, who is on hiatus as the editor of The Blogging of the President while he runs the campaign blog of New Jersey gubernatorial candidate Jon Corzine."


HT for Beltway Blogroll on the study.