Wednesday, March 02, 2005

A feeding frenzy needs food 

It seems as if the initial reaction to Swarm the Strib, an idea Hugh Hewitt broached on the air last night has, in the light of day, found cooler heads. (And one not so cool. BTW, no 'h' in fatwa and one 'a' less than in my last name. You're welcome, LF.) After being out until 10:30 last night I flipped on my Replay Radio to listen to Hugh discuss the idea, listened to his callers (and note the new blog of a listener) and thought it sounded like amateur hour.

I think you can swarm particular stories. I think a low-volume site (contrary to Anti-Strib) that collected swarms/vox blogoli on particular pieces -- all written voluntarily, spontaneously though perhaps with prompts from NA blogs -- would be effective. A link aggregator, designed like maybe Memeorandum, could prove useful. But I do not think a daily hammering of whatever Nicky wrote lately would be effective, because 50% of his columns are just tripe that warrants no mention. Only one in 10 of STrib editorials. And who knows which ones?

If you're going to have a feeding frenzy, you need a host on which to feed. Not every issue of the STrib will be a host; maybe only one in four will. That won't sustain a daily swarm.

More to the point: What would drive eyeballs to the site? What's the value of an aggregator, or a point-by-point dissection of every issue? Besides Memeorandum, one could say that the aggregator exists in Instapundit. Many blogs are linkers, and thinkers frequently link out to other blogs thinking about the same things. And there's Trackback (which I wish was more automatic in Blogger, but that will come because bloggers want it). Is SwarmtheStrib a linker site? That's what it sounded like last night. And I have trouble seeing what brings it eyeballs, for it would have to be for people asking "What was wrong in the STrib today?" and wanting a filter for the web to ask that question. Why would I want that?

More likely it would be a place in which we would focus our disgust at being a state with a large, crappy paper. And disgust is not a useful emotion; we were disgusted with Clinton, but disgust got us nowhere but to frustration.

Craig says it best in his online letter to Hugh:
Let�s not waste our efforts trivializing ourselves with unnecessary concern about a second tier newspaper. Let�s focus on our ideas and treat the Strib as a �useful idiot� only when it suits our purpose.