Tuesday, February 27

A question for my fellow small-bloggers

I'm writing this post 'cause I need some advice about us small bloggers and how a good organization can reach out to the blogosphere.

Don't let your BS meter go off until you've read the whole post, kay?

As you MUST know by now, I'm a big promoter of First Freedom First, a group dedicated to separation of church and state. I write about them at my blog, blah blah blah.

So I'm chummy with one of the gals on the staff and I hooked her up with Tengrain of Mock Paper Scissors and he covered one of their "events." (I know, BS meter just moved into yellow, turn it down.)

They treated him very well, I understand. Press Pass, lunch, the whole shebang. Good enough, we're all good.

So then FFF gal writes me and says, this is great, we wanna do the same thing in DC AND (you might wanna unplug the BS meter at this point) we also want to get the blogosphere more involved and sponsor some conversations with bloggers.

GAAH! God knows which awful A-list blogger might show up! Cooties! Cooties! (And since I know the big-name blogger in question frequently Googles his own name, and might think this is personal, I left it off. By the way, it is personal. Personal memo to said blogger? I left it over here.)

So anyway. I'm going to steer this FFF gal away from the word "conversations." Hilary's ruined that word anyway for the next four, fo' sho. Is "blogger meet-up" similarly awful? Maybe if there's free food? Your thoughts.

I'm a little worried that I'm being selfish here in wanting FFF to have an audience but not through the big boys. At least with DKos I have control over content, initially.

So tell me about bloggers in DC, what you know. Anyone cool enough for this, in your opinion?

The dealio is, there ARE two tiers of bloggers. Those who are impressed with Club Washington, and those of us who aren't.

But this may be so inside the beltway that it's outta my league, in terms of making things happen for them.

So I guess I have two questions:

How does a good small group like this "reach out" to those of us who are suspicious of such in the first place?

And is there any good inside the beltway at all? (Besides the FFF folks, of course.)


  1. Hmmm...

    I think you've explained HOW they reach out. They have people like you with an interest and they make contacts. As for nailing down local DC bloggers, that may be a different story.

    It all depends on the "bent" of the blogger and whether they actually buy into the group in a meaningful way. A group like FFF, (which I think is terrific), cannot expect a blogger or a group of bloggers to provide unwavering support unless those bloggers have a distinct interest in making that "the" or one of "the" themes of that blog. (If I'm getting really boring here, feel free to move on to the next comment and I'll keep writing until the rum runs out.)

    The risk a blogger takes is becoming typecast when perhaps she/he was hoping for a wider scope. Others may find it a niche which fits with the style and character of the blog.

    I'm not so sure that "conversations" with bloggers is terribly useful. The best thing about the blogosphere is that we can all take a global view without leaving Gopher Hole, North Dakota or Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.

    I do agree that such organizations should steer clear of the big dogs. They have an agenda that extends beyond comment and advocacy. (YEAH! You John!). A far better exposure would be through a larger group of small blogs and that means introductions will have to be made. I delete emails from a lot of advocacy groups unless I recognize the name. (I also redirect penis enlargement offers to the guy in Nigeria who says he will share $10 million with me.)
    But, a group of smaller blogs will reach a more diverse audience, each of us having that bit of difference in our readership which provides extension.

    The blogosphere loves to feed off the absurd. The FFF is attempting to combat the absurd by fighting off a theocracy. Hell, all of us reality-based types want that. Given what they do, if there is enough information out there demonstrating the absurd and how they're fighting it, it will only take a few small bloggers to spread the word.

    I knew nothing of the FFF until I came to read your blog daily. Now I have them bookmarked and I check in regularly. If they become a valuable source of information, they will attract bloggers. If it spreads across the smaller blogosphere, the larger blogs (Yeah, you Markos... for now) will, out of pure unadulterated jealousy, start linking to interesting, controversial or well-written stuff.

    I don't know if that has even answered your questions... or even one of them.

    However, if you have enjoyed this comment, please vote for me at longcommentsRus.com. If you did not enjoy this comment please forward it to the New York Times so I can at least get paid for they typing job.

    Dave@the Galloping Beaver.

  2. Crap! My Grand Marnier ran out before your rum!

    I just edited out Aravosis name from the post. I just don't wanna draw that kind of fire right now. But I linked over to Wampum so if someone wants to find out who it is they will.

    Your comment is EXACTLY what I needed to hear. Thanks. FYI the FFF people (internet acronym overload! IAO! LOL! TMI! LMAO!)

    the FFF people have told me they've had MUCH better response when a small blog mentions them than a big one. I've been afraid of being too much of a one note violin on the FFF stuff, but as you say, I'm passionate about it and it shows.

  3. Big is BAD

    Small is Righteous

    Why do religious types always deal in absolutes?

  4. No no no, Organic. There are some big blogs I just love. Shakes, John Amato, Drifty.

    A friend just emailed me to think about Think Progress which is a DC blog. That's a great idea because that's a bigger blog with a lot of cred in the small blogosphere.

    Part of what we're looking for here, admittedly, is results. FFF gets better results from a smaller blog with a passion for church/state issues than a big blog just making a mention.

    BTW you know that Crooks and Liars, with the "holy crap" feature at the blog round up, does more than just a passing mention of the religious right and their crimes against humanity.

    But they're in California. DC is what we're after in this instance.

  5. Anonymous2:27 PM

    DC is such a "1-Company" town, I cannot help but think there are probably tons of bloggers there covering all sorts of insider baseball, as it were. But I also think they probably are wrapped up in partisan divides.

    It's a cliche, probably, but I doubt very much that DC bloggars care much outside their 1-issue... so, I suggest FFF find (no, I do not stammer) people who are passionate about any of the single-point causes and see if they would be willing to participate in being "under the umbrella" of a first amendment group.

    I'd suggest opening it up to other communities close by, too.



  6. Try, owillis@gmail.com

    Oliver works for Media Matters and has his own blog, http://www.oliverwillis.com/

    His blog would not be the place for this discussion but I'd bet he would know all the DC players.

    Let me know if you have any luck.
    PS. He thinks I'm a troll because I keep telling that young man to lose weight.

  7. Okay, tell me am I missing something or is there a reason that people can't have conversations with bloggers (or whatever you want to call it) right here on our, um, blogs, as it were?

    I mean, I even provide open threads sometimes, you know.

  8. We can, whig. And we can even have real conversations. What I will avoid until my death is self-serving ego masturbation sessions with bloggers who do not, um, reciprocate.

    Oooh kay that didn't go where I thought it would.

  9. The dealio is, there ARE two tiers of bloggers. Those who are impressed with Club Washington, and those of us who aren't.

    Sorry, but I place Kos in the first group.

  10. Big Daddy,

    I don't know if "impressed" is the correct term.

    The fact that Kos has an "impact" in DC means they cannot ignore the blog.

    I will attend Yearly Kos again this year and look forward to mixing and mingling with all the people that post. Met some really good people last year. The Firedoglake meetings were special as were the Plame pannels.

    As the non-christian in this group I seem to be the only one with charity in his heart for all.

  11. Sigh. Okay Organic, you force me to show my hand.

    I have NOTHING against Markos. I've said so here before. He deserves his success. He's done exactly what Bill Gates did: made it easy for the clueless masses to do something exciting and new. Good for him.

    There are also some great writers at kos. There is no Spoon and Dood Abides are just two of my favorites.

    I also cross post there occasionally. Nearly always, however, I am disappointed with the dull, kneejerk, know it all, we are here on high attitude of Kos commenters, particularly those who do not have their own blog and rarely if ever even publish a diary. All they have "time" for is criticizing as if their opinion is valuable BECAUSE they are a Kossack. I'm not impressed.

    John Aravosis of Americablog routinely bans and then, at least on one specific occasion I can prove, because I am good friends with the person involved, personally emailed a commenter on his blog to call her an "asshole" and tell her she was banned from his site and that if she wanted to apologize to him she might be allowed back in.

    Because she disagreed with him about Israel. Unfortunately she had a lot of facts at her disposal because, ahem, she was born and raised to adulthood in Israel. She's also a hebrew translator, one of the leading hebrew translators in the world. This made John upset.

    This commenter does not swear. I mean, she really does not. She's one of those. As you know, I do. So there was NO call for Aravosis to do what he did.

    The blogosphere is littered with refugees from Americablog, (I personally know four) and I have it on good authority that Aravosis has lost a great deal of traffic due to his belligerent way of dealing with those who disagree with him.

    He is gay, and has a great deal of street cred on gay issues, but on other issues he has shown himself to be an intolerant bully.

    The other (more stupid) big deal going on between A and B listers is that Eschaton deleted his entire blogroll and started over calling it "amnesty." It was amnesty for him, no one else, but apparently being on his blogroll meant something to some small bloggers. I'm not involved with that because I don't read big blogs as a general rule. Exceptions are Crooks and Liars, Shakespeare's Sister, and Driftglass. Sometimes I read Jesus General. That whole issue seemed very high school to me and a lot of others, but it has led me and others to some good jokes at Eschaton's expense.

    This "aren't we all on the same side" "let's just have charity towards all" sounds good, but it allows jerks and criminals, crooks and liars, as the best blog says, to get away with their crimes.

    Is that enough soap opera for you? Sorry.

  12. Ok so it's a lot of inside baseball with the bloggers. But this is the same BS that goes on in any orginization or family. But this does not look like people are turning their cheeks. Sorry if I keep bringing this back to Christian beliefs but it is the subtext of your blog.

    I am well aware the Americablog story, but water off a ducks back. And yes there are some pompus asses at Kos. If you let that crap stay inside you it only hurts you. Took a battle with cancer for me to figure that out.

    Any who, I hope Oliver is able to help you with a DC connection. Look forward to our chats. Kiss the kids and say hello to the husband for me.

  13. Yeah, Organic, you're right, you're right. I don't have to read Americablog, though, any more than you have to smoke cigarettes. I can let go of the anger, which, really, I have, without remaining with an abuser, to mix too many analogies.

    The inside Baseball thing is all too true. My motivation here is to help FFF. To repeat, they have had much more success with small blogs who have a passion for what FFF stands for, than with larger blogosphere outlets. Asking my readers how to continue that success has yielded some fantastic ideas here and through emails to me and FFF. Thanks all.

  14. No cigs for this boy. But I grew up in chemcial farming and used to get soaked in stuff they told us was safe.

    But the Feds say there is no connection between pesticide exposure and cancer, except in lab rats.


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