Measuring Blog Influence

Steve Bainbridge points to a CNN/Money survey which purports to show that blogs have far less impact than recent media coverage has led some to think. Their finds are encapsulated in this graphic:

As Steve, NZ Bear, and Steven Taylor point out, the traffic numbers for the blogs in question are way, way off. Hell, OTB had nearly 15,000 unique visits on its own–and this is hardly the most trafficked blog out there.

The funny thing is that I know of no one who seriously argues that bloggers have a bigger audience than the mainstream media. Indeed, were that the case, bloggers would by definition be the mainstream media. We’re not there yet and, frankly, I don’t think we aspire to be. While quite a bit of independent reporting gets done in the blogosphere, we’re still mostly about analysis and commentary, not news. The more interesting debate, then, is whether the top bloggers are more influential than the top media pundits.

More importantly, though, I’m not sure that traffic is the best indicator of influence. Wonkette gets more visits than PowerLine or INDC Journal. Who had more impact on the election?

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. jen says:

    And they can’t just look at blog*spot and typepad as the end all supplier of blogs. Most of the most influential bloggers have their own domains and hosting and aside from Daily Kos and She Who Shall Not Be Named, they’re not reflected in that graphic list.

  2. Billy K says:

    The Daily Kos number is just hilarious. He was getting that much an hour on election day.

  3. Attila Girl says:

    I think it’s hilarious that Kos and Wonkette are named, but no libertarians, no classical liberals. Where’s Glenn on that list?

    And, of course, the numbers are off.

    And, of course, James is right–numbers are not the same thing as influence.