Two Political Blogospheres
Two blogging conventions, Netroots Nation (the successor to Daily Kos) and RightOnline, are being held in Pittsburgh this week. As Timothy McNulty reports for the Post-Gazette, they’re different in ways other than politics.
The RightOnline conference starting tomorrow morning at the Sheraton Station Square will have about a quarter of the 2,000 attendees at the liberal conference in the convention center, and only about 20 speakers to the 400 at Netroots. Liberals are throwing multiple parties at the Warhol and a gay-lesbian kiss-in. Conservatives end Friday night with a film criticizing Al Gore.
What, no conservative homosexual kiss-in?! Shocking!
Matt Yglesias says it’s the demographics, stupid:
The over-60 demographic is a hotbed of conservative sentiments, but it’s also very disinclined to go online. The stereotype of progressive bloggers and blog readers as “young” tends to be wildly overstated, but what is true is that the online universe contains relatively few senior citizens, and the current version of the conservative coalition contains quite a lot of seniors.
But conservative bloggers aren’t seniors, so that doesn’t explain it. Demographics do matter, however. The Netroots do skew younger and their most prominent bloggers tend to have institutional affiliations or be full-time bloggers. Most of the top conservative bloggers still have day jobs that don’t involve blogging.
An additional explanation is offered in McNulty’s piece:
“The problem by and large remains that on the right, the focus still tends to be on punditry as opposed to activism,” said Erick Erickson, the editor of RedState, and a speaker at RightOnline on Saturday. “It has been focused on bloggers trying to be the next Rush Limbaugh or the next columnist, not on urging readers to call members of Congress or go to tea parties.”
Beyond that, as Chris Bowers and others have argued for years, liberals have tended to be more communal online whereas conservatives have tended to be individualistic. I, for one, can’t imagine traveling to Pittsburgh to talk about blogging for several days.
Photo by Flickr user Neeta Lind under Creative Commons license.