Not Indicative of Reality

For those of us in the blogosphere, particularly with a political background, paying attention to the netroots is kind of a hobby.

The netroots, which really does not exist on the right but actively on the left, has not been very successful in getting candidates elected. My friends at RedState like to point that out a lot. Today was another loss in Texas in an intra-Democrat primary.

I bring this up not to discuss politics, but to discuss blogging. In Texas, the netroots actively engaged for a guy named Rodriguez against the incumbent, named Cuellar. Cuellar had beaten Rodrigues two years ago and was seen as too friendly with the GOP. The netroots got actively engaged and their guy lost.

Now, let’s go to a different issue. Boing Boing is one of the oldest blogs out there. It is a tech blog. It’s readership, according to internal monitoring, uses the Firefox web browser a lot. In fact, 30% of its users use Firefox. Statistically, 9% of the population uses Firefox.

Both of these data points should tell us what we should already know — people who read blogs or participate in blogs are not in the mainstream. None of us are on the left or right. We are, however, opinion formers/leaders and trend setters in technology, politics, etc. And that is across the board — left, right, and who gives a dang.

Here’s another data point that can be taken from recent Pew data and the netroots. While we all may not be quite in line with reality, bloggers and those who read them (only about 11% of the country’s population according to Pew), are about 100% engaged and active. If you really want people who are willing to rally, write, and engage you should go to bloggers. It may only be 11% of the population, but that number actually represents a significant portion of activists.

Consider this — a typical nationally run commercial may only get 2% of the population engaged. Engaging in blogging can reach 11% of the population, 100% of which are willing to engage, and unlike the commercial, blogging is free.

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Erick Erickson

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