It has been long established conventional wisdom that Democrats understand the web and know how to use it for political purposes better than Republicans. The #1 blog on the Internet is a liberal blog (The Huffington Post) and the Democrats almost always top Republicans in online fundraising.
So it rather shocked me when the DNC picked eye-candy and celebrity gossip blog Towleroad over other more politically focused LGBT blogs like this one. I don't have a list of all the blogs that applied for credentials, but I feel pretty safe in saying that there were probably other choices aside from The Bilerico Project that would have been a better fit for the coveted three slots that were allocated to LGBT specific blogs this year.
The DNC's mistake makes obvious their lack of understanding of the blogosphere and especially brings to light one of the most common misunderstandings, which is that traffic and traffic alone is king. It's not and after the jump we'll explore why.
I think this needs to be explained because a number of folks have mentioned that we're just "being a sore loser" or that "jealousy" is a factor in our complaint that the DNC denied us credentials to the convention this year. That is simply not the case. Pam's House Blend is a perfect choice for the DNC Convention. Pam and her contributors write daily on politics and are tried and true capital D Democrats. That choice makes sense and I can't imagine PHB not being at the convention.
You see, this is about how the blogosphere works and how looking at traffic and/or page rank alone is not a smart selection process. Blog audiences are highly self-selecting. It is a very segmented and niched space. One doesn't go to The Fake Steve Jobs blog for hard-hitting political analysis anymore than one goes to AmericaBlog for pictures of naked boys. It's just not their niche.
The DNC appears to have looked at all LGBT blogs that applied for credentials without any regard for what kind of audience that site attracts or even whether or not that blog does the kind of analysis and reporting that should be expected when being granted one of only 3 slots allocated to LGBT blogs.
Towleroad, which I read regularly and think is a fantastic blog for its niche, does not cover politics with any depth or breadth and they definitely do not cover the entire spectrum of the LGBT community. Let's just take a look at the weekly roundup posted on Towleroad today to get an idea of how much political coverage there really is.
Mystery surf saviour surfaces.
Sex and the City: our interview.
George W. Bush chest bumps a cadet.
Gay slurs fly in Real World: Hollywood fight.
Boy Scouts sue Philadelphia over rent increase.
Dad: Lindsay Lohan lesbian romance is obvious.
GOP strategist peddling Charlie Crist 'sex tape'?
Australian Olympic diver Matt Mitcham: I'm gay.
Riot police stand guard over Romanian pride parade.
POLL: majority of CA voters against gay marriage ban.
Anti-gay attacks continue on rural Tennessee gay man.
Penn Badgley tells you everything he knows about sexy.
VMan/Ford Models male model contest winner announced.
Space shot: Mars photographs Phoenix lander on descent.
THE TUBE: Weezer, Sharon Stone, Bob Barr, Mariah Carey.
Macy's celebrates same-sex marriage, wants your registry.
Lauren Hutton: Sex and the City women based on gay sluts.
First gay parliament member Sunil Pant takes oath in Nepal.
Brooklyn high schools students threatened by bullies with guns.
Bill O'Reilly guest can't think of good reason to oppose gay marriage.
Larry Craig writing tell-all book about arrest, plus Bobble-foot frenzy!
NY Governor orders same-sex marriages from elsewhere recognized.
CA Attorney General urges court to reject same-sex marriage stay petitions.
Scott McClellan book blasts Bush White House, White House goes apoplectic.
Berlin's memorial to gay Holocaust victims unveiled; the interviews, the kiss.
MUSIC: Cyndi Lauper, Hercules And Love Affair, Smashing Pumpkins, Ne-Yo, CSS.
STAGE: The New Century, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Top Girls, Cry-Baby, A Catered Affair.
PLUS: Sydney Pollack, Chace Crawford, Vince Young, Sam Champion, Paul Rudd, Cristiano Ronaldo, YMCA.
Out of 28 entries listed (there were more than 28 total entries this week on the site,) at most 6 could be called "political". Let's be clear, I'm not sure Bush "chest bumping" a cadet or Charlie Crist's "sex tape" are really deep political analysis stories. But there's plenty of the so-called 3 M's (Marriage, Madonna, and Martini's) although the Madonna and Martini's are in the metaphorical sense (Lindsay Lohan is playing the role of Madonna in today's performance.)
Whereas here at the Bilerico Project, we have daily coverage of politics on both the state and national levels. We regularly receive guest posts from Congressmen, Senators, and community movers and shakers. Both of the current Democratic presidential candidates have guest posted. We dissect, analyze and discuss politics and that generates lively comment threads and alternative viewpoints. We try to give the world a glimpse into the true complexity and diversity that is the LGBT community.
There is nothing wrong with covering the 3 M's. We cover them too. My point isn't that Towleroad is somehow lesser than other blogs because it covers what many would consider fluff topics. I guess I just don't understand why, if traffic is the motivating factor, they didn't just choose Perez Hilton. I mean, he gets 47 million visitors a week! That's more than Towleroad, The Bilerico Project, and Pam's House Blend and several other blogs put together.
We're really proud of the DNC for being more progressive toward new media by having more blogs at the convention this year than at any time in the past. We just want them to maybe hire a consultant and bone up on how this blog thing works and why choosing is more than traffic or Technorati rank.
This was a boneheaded move on the DNC's part. Yesterday's hearing regarding the seating of Florida and Michigan delegates once again proved there are no hard and fast rules in the DNC. It's a big convention center in Denver. I'm sure there is room for a few more bloggers. The DNC should correct it's mistake by granting us at least some of the credentials we requested and then hire some Internet consultants to get ahead of the curve for 2012.