DANIEL DREZNER ORGANIZED A TERRIFIC FORUM, THE POWER AND POLITICS OF BLOGS, at the American Political Science Association meeting yesterday.
The Wonkette herself, Ana Marie Cox, stole the show by being the anti-blogger’s blogger. She said that there is too much “blogger triumphalism” in the blogosphere and lamented Andrew Sullivan‘s absence because he was her favorite blogger triumphalist.
According to Wonkette, Andrew Sullivan says that “the revolution will be blogged.” Her dry response, “to have a revolution, you have to leave the house.” She also said that the blogging medium owes the most to AOL sex chat rooms since “both involve staying at home, pleasuring one’s self.”
To give her credit for being both frivolous yet solidly intellectual simultaneously — a tough feat, she toughened up the theoretical findings of two very interesting papers with her real world insights.
These two papers on the evolution and impact of political blogging were presented by two pairs of speakers. The first was by the University of Chicago’s Daniel Drezner and George Washington University’s Henry Farrell. They focused on the ecosystem of big blogs and small blogs and the points of intersection with mainstream media.
The second team, who are clearly the Thelma & Louise of blogging research — they really give a good show — are CUNY’s Antoinette Pole and Laura McKenna, whose blog is 11d. They have jumped into the challenge of survey research interviewing political bloggers on pre-blogging and post-blogging political behavior and engagement.
These were serious and interesting papers on whether political bloggers make a difference or not in the world. If enough folks are interested, I will ask the authors of papers to post their work on the web and provide the links.
Drezner & Company pulled nearly 150 people to their APSA forum, something not often seen here, unless the speaker is George Soros, who spoke here the night before.
I thought I was going to be disappointed by Andrew Sullivan‘s absence from the panel, but it turned out to be a substantively important discussion peppered with hilarious, but still strangely relevant, sexual innuendo by Ana Marie Cox.
Josh Marshall was also lauded as someone who had clearly impacted mainstream political media with his blog. However, Wonkette cautioned all the baby bloggers in the blogosphere that Josh Marshall and the “Big Blogs,” as Henry Farrell called them, were “professional journalists and knowledge workers,” who had insights into how to impact politics and the press that regular folk don’t have.
It was a surprisingly great session.
— Steve Clemons