Huffington Beats Odds as Blogger
St. Petersburg Times media critic Eric Deggans tells us how Arianna Huffington beat the odds as a blogger.
It was not supposed to work this way. In a medium started by guys typing at computers in their bedrooms, she was a glamorous socialite with an A-list address book of investors and endless media coverage. Critics swore Arianna Huffington’s dream – a collection of blogs from the likes of Warren Beatty and Arthur Schlesinger Jr. – would die a quick death in a space where grass roots support and hipster cachet was everything.
But exactly one year after establishing her Huffington Post Web site, the 55-year-old author and pundit has become a major voice in the blogosphere, defying critics while building a destination in cyberspace whose growth mirrors the maturation of blogging itself. “The people I admire have always been willing to pursue their vision, even if others ridicule them,” said Huffington, who recently joined Matt Drudge as the two bloggers included on Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people. “The most important conversation going on right now has been online, and it’s only going to get more and more important.”
Matt Drudge is not a blogger. The Drudge Report is almost certainly the most influential political website in history and Drudge himself deserves 99% of the credit for that since he does almost all the work himself. The site is not, however, a blog. No permalinks, no archives, no reverse chronological posting. It’s a website that makes no use of blogging technology.
Arianna Huffington, by contrast, is technically a blogger. HuffPo is undeniably a very successful blog and she posts on it from time to time. It is not, however, successful because of her tremendous blogging skills or keen insights but because of her entrepreneurial vision in recruiting hundreds of authors. If it were just Huffington posting, she’d have 100 visitors a day.