diet coke for breakfast

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Posted by Jake
The division of labor in the blogosphere

Drezner has an interesting post on how blogs mostly fit into two categories:

First, some blogs can act as focal points for information provision. Now, by definition, there can only be one or two focal points. Glenn Reynolds generally acts as one for bloggers. During concentrated crises -- Josh Marshall in the case of Trent Lott's downfall, or Kelley for Operation Iraqi Freedom -- others can spring up. These blogs serve the useful purpose of collecting and distributing already available information to interested readers. In doing so, these individuals help to frame and propel debates of the day. They also reduce search costs for the rest of us....

Second, most bloggers provide value added in the form of criticism and commentary. We don't generate new facts so much as put already existing facts into a larger framework. We then look at other people who do this and comment and critique their efforts. This is my comparative advantage, at least.

A glance at the Blogosphere Ecosystem suggests this division of labor is more stable than Cowen's post suggests. Consider the top ten blogs:

1. Instapundit
2. Eschaton (Atrios)
3. Talking Points Memo
4. Daily Kos / Political State Report
5. The Truth Laid Bear
6. Andrew Sullivan
7. Little Green Footballs
8. CalPundit
9. USS Clueless
10. The Volokh Conspiracy

I'd characterize five of these blogs (Instapundit, Atrios, Daily Kos, N.Z. Bear, and LGF) as primarily portals or focal points. The other five (Marshall, Sullivan, Drum, Den Beste, and Volokh) are more commentary than portal. Given that by definition one would predict portal blogs to be clustered among the top ten, it looks like commentary blogs aren't going anywhere.

Baude is also correct that newcomers to the blogosphere will have to go the commentary route.

Read the whole thing. I would add one more category though: the freaky angry diarist blog. Every so often I run into one that seems to be one protracted act of emotional exhibitionism. Here is an excellent example.


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