Occasional blogging, mostly of the long-form variety.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Blogroll Amnesty Day 2008

The scene was terrible, as a giant strode the landscape, leaving devastation and chaos in his wake. Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies, rivers and seas boiling, dogs and cats, living together, mass hysteria!

This weekend has witnessed a blogswarm in honor of Blogroll Amnesty Day. It's dedicated to the idea of linking and promoting the fine work of bloggers who aren't gigantic mutant lizards breathing nuclear flame the usual "A-listers," and may be off one's radar. Jon Swift has a good write-up about the original Blogroll Amnesty Day and the response. His piece also compiles and links the posts of participating bloggers. Co-sponsor Skippy also has a great post for the occasion, and has been similarly linking participating bloggers. The indefatigable Blue Gal naturally has an entry, and thanks to her for spreading the word.

Personally, I'm rather fond of gigantic mutant lizards, as well as the work of many "A-list" bloggers. But there are times I read posts that seem surprisingly dismissive of bloggers who aren't as prominent, and who aren't necessarily blogging as their primary job, for greater influence with a given political party or for media gigs (luckily, the blogosphere also allows for dissections of such posts and more measured followups by their authors). Those are all valid reasons for blogging, and sincere kudos to those bloggers who can make a living doing it, but of course, the vast majority don't.

I wouldn't think writing about why people blog would be necessary, but I'm also surprised when people don't see the point of supporting the arts, or when friggin' professors don't understand the value of teaching literature. I understand why some bloggers are loathe to write about blogging itself, but given the mainstream media's still frequent dismissal of even prominent bloggers and their fact-checking, sometimes it's sorta necessary. ("Why the hell are you spending all that time blogging" is also a question many bloggers with families or the similarly over-committed may face fairly often, from others or ourselves!) Every blogger can speak for him or herself, and there's certainly not one way to blog — where would be the fun in that? But in my experience, I'd say blogging is about personal expression, about community, about an exchange of ideas, and giving more people a voice. Political blogging specifically is a way of more directly engaging in democracy, giving vent to justified frustrations and engaging in positive activism. Jane Hamsher put it nicely when she wrote:

During the '90s, railing at the TV set was the isometric sport of the silent majority... That isolation ended with the advent of the progressive blogosphere, which acts as a virtual water cooler for those who not only want to rail at the TV set, they want the TV set to listen.

As to the value of linking smaller blogs from those vituperative, foul-mouthed bloggers of the left, I would hope that, given that "democracy" thing, explaining such linkage isn't necessary, but Joe Gandelman at The Moderate Voice has a nice summary (via Skippy).

In any case, thanks to Jon Swift and Skippy, thanks to Blue Gal, and thanks to all those who make a habit of linking less trafficked blogs (such as Melissa McEwan and her thrice-weekly blogwhoring links and threads). Thanks especially to Mike Finnigan of Mike's Blog Roundup at John Amato's Crooks and Liars, where they do indeed celebrate Blogroll Amnesty Day the year 'round.

Finally, here's a set of blogs I'm highlighting for Blogroll Amnesty Day. While VS is rather low on the totem pole (and I suppose I should release sitemeter data to tracking sites), I get to fudge on the "less-trafficked blogs" thing thanks to BH. (Ha! Just try and stop me!)

House of the Rising Sons: Fade has a nice habit of highlighting other people's work, and has gone all poetic for this Blogroll Amnesty Day.

Ice Station Tango: It's hard to keep up with all the places Station Agent blogs, but head down to the chilly south to see Tom Cruise acting creepy and Bush acting even creepier. (Funnily enough, VS and BH got a shout-out for this event over there I just saw now. Thanks!)

Suzi Riot... Rants from the Left: Some days Suzi riots, and other days she just dissects the BS. (Okay, now I'm getting embarrassed, since she kindly linked VS in her B.A.D. post. I swear, I didn't plan this!)

Sugar Land is Dreaming could use a little love, and spending five hours on Arabic homework certainly does make the world a better place.

Cheyanne's Campsite: When not discussing Deer Hunting with Jesus, Chayanne considers the quality of all those jobs mentions by politicians.

The Non Sequitur provides "A Logical Analysis of Political Media." Run by two philosophy professors who sure know their informal logical fallacies, it makes for a fun and educational read. Check out "The Goldberg Variation."

The Nefarious Lair of LGPPP, Inc. (Lesbian Gangs Packing Pink Pistols): "An Organization Bent on World Domination," and doing it in style. To paraphrase Kent Brockman, I, for one, welcome our new lesbian overlords.

There are too many good blogs out there, and too little time to read them all, but I promise to do a better job this year reading, linking, learning, and spreadin' the luv. So more to come. Happy blogging!

(Cool pic courtesy of Skippy.)

(Another cool pic, courtesy of Zen Comix.)

(Cross-posted at The Blue Herald, for more link luv, natch.)


Jay Allbritton said...

Awesome post Bats. and I don't just say that because you linked to Ice Station Tango. You captured the event perfectly.

Unknown said...

thanks for joining in, batocchio!

Suzi Riot said...

Thanks, Batocchio! For the link and the very complimentary words!

tas said...

Thanks for the link, Batocchio.

Concerning the comment you left at Sugar Land, and the MyDD post you linked to, when I do feel that I have something important to say, I do try kicking it upto the bigger blogs -- my outlet is mainly Raw Story (though I've never thought to email Mike at C&L). I also have some grandfathered privileges as a blogger who read Daily Kos when it was just another blog, plus I befriended a future editor at Raw Story back when he was just another small blogger.

These days, though, it seems really difficult to gain a regular audience for your blog if you're just starting out. Not like it was easy before -- it took me a couple years to work Loaded Mouth upto 500 hits a day (which is paltry compared to other sites), and when I was in my prime I posted just about as much per day as Atrios did in his prime. (A little luck helped, too.) But now... When you get the big links, even getting people to read your posts is a challenge. I know this because I have Google Analytics and see how long people who visit my certain from certain links stay for. The last link I got from Raw Story, I received nearly a thousand hits, which is great... But the average time each person from that link stayed on my blog was 10 seconds. So it's a paradox... First you get their attention, then how do you keep it for more than a couple seconds? Post nude photos or something? Maybe I should try that.

It just seems to be tougher these days. I wonder if blogging -- actual blogging, not this professional stuff -- is going to go the way of Geocities and other forgotten relics of the web's past. Which would be a shame, because there is work done by small, unpaid bloggers which does need to be promoted. Very often, it's not... That's another tale for another day.

ThePoliticalCat said...

Hello, VS,

I have washed up on your shores to request the favour of a spot on your blogroll. I'm sure both my readers will cause a slight ripple when they visit your blog from my link, especially since I intend to highlight tas' comment about posting pix of nekkid people.

Gratefully, tpc

Anonymous said...

In honor of Blogroll Amnesty Day I have added your blog link to my blogroll at robsingleton.net. Please link mine to yours in return. If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me at robtherev@gmail.com. Thank you!

Rob Singleton

Fran / Blue Gal said...

I've been meaning to come by and say thank you. Thank you. xo

Batocchio said...

Anytime BG, and thanks to everyone else for stopping by!

Cheyanne said...

chankThanks B,

I may be 10 months late in the thanking, but better late than never. I just now found this mention of my campsite now.

Better late than never!

Thanks again

Shy Ann