Friday, May 30, 2003

Webrings, alliances, and coordinated pushes 

We're paid a great compliment by Hugh Hewitt today -- any time someone suggests an effort from here might be part of a "rising power" that could dominate the blogosphere in the way InstaPundit does ... oh what the hell am I saying? Nobody has ever said that before. And thanks to Hugh and the Alliance, never so many readers before.

What he suggests is that the coordinated effort yesterday called forth by Hewitt to blog on the John Carroll memo that led to entries from Lileks, Fraters Libertas, Shot in the Dark, PowerLine and us, could be a means of pushing the agenda of the blogosphere to a particular topic. Maybe, thought I haven't seen any increase in dispersion of my links to other blogs via popdex or blogdex. It's been covered in a lot of places, largely because it's a good story that I think fits people's perceptions, not because I or Mitch or even Lileks write about it. There was in fact another kind of alliance in California trying to pick it up as well from LA Observed to XLRQ and Calblog (who later complained nobody was running with the story besides Lileks). All of which, I think, shows that the blogosphere has lots of nooks and crannies that we find only later.

The type of alliance Hewitt is discussing reminds me of the idea of having webrings. I've used them to find additional sites interested in narrow topics like perhaps my penchant for collecting extinct currencies killed by hyperinflation. (Not just Confederate dollars or rentenmarks, but the offbeat stuff like pengo or Sandanista currency.) But I haven't found that the idea catches on much. The whole idea of the web was to find your own way around, make your own paths to information.

To draw readers, you need to either have a lot of quick information (Instapundit's strategy -- his comparative advantage is speed and having a wide but discriminating net), lots of eyes looking for stuff (that would be the Volokh Conspiracy), awesome writing (Lileks) or a small set of compelling stories that can be updated with some frequency. We've tried to be the last. We don't deal in general political commentary by and large not because we can't but because there's loads of it out there and our marginal value to the blogosphere in joining that hubbub isn't likely to be that big. We also don't because Jack, Dave and I are not always in agreement politically; we're probably more intellectually and ideologically diverse that the Fraters.

What we have at SCSU, however, isn't just the usual academic and PC bullshit. It's l'essence de connerie, (use BabelFish to translate) pure, unadulterated social engineering by those who believe they have the Vision of the Anointed and wish to cast the resisters (us) into Perdition. And not just that: It's the expressions of shock, outrage and disbelief that come when you point out that this is what they do. Kinda like the look on Magic Johnson's face whenever a foul was called on him.

We'll do our best to participate in the coordinated pushes when the Commissioner or other Alliance members call us to action. But please continue to look here for original material from what an East Coast academic called "the epicenter of the academic culture wars." Greatest hits entries about SCSU will appear over the weekend for your perusal.