Blog Communities

BLOG COMMUNITIES….An email exchange with Prof B last night has prompted an additional thought about the BlogHer conference that I want to share. It’s something I alluded to in my initial wrapup post, but much too ambiguously.

Here it is. I mentioned that I was a little surprised that the vast majority of the attendees weren’t primarily interested in political blogging ? even if you define “political” fairly broadly. What’s more, after looking in on which sessions drew the biggest crowds, I’d say that if you define it as the kind of wonkish political blogging you see here, or at Suburban Guerrilla or TalkLeft, only about 10-20% of the attendees considered themselves political bloggers. Mostly they were there for other stuff.

By itself, though, that’s not what struck me. After all, political blogs are only a tiny fraction of all blogs, even if they’re the ones that get the bulk of the attention from the mainstream media. No, what struck me wasn’t the mere existence of all these nonpolitical bloggers, but the fact that several hundred of them were willing to pay a fair amount money to fly in from around the country to meet other likeminded bloggers.

In retrospect, I shouldn’t have been surprised, of course. My world is institutional politics, and I’m accustomed to the idea that political wonks fly all over the place organizing themselves and going to conferences. But of course everyone else does the same thing. My wife flies to Huntsville for a week every year to meet up with her sewing buddies at the Martha Pullen School and then takes off another week for the annual SAGA convention. In fact, she spends a lot more time going to conventions and classes and whatnot for her hobby than I do for mine.

So when I half-jokingly noted that “there’s a definite business opportunity here,” I guess I wasn’t even half joking. There’s a definite opportunity there ? whether it’s “business” or otherwise. The political blogosphere may be one of the loudest and best organized of the blog communities, but that doesn’t mean it’s where all the action is. Other blog communities are out there just waiting to be organized, all happily willing to pay money for the chance to get together with likeminded bloggers.

Politics is my thing, so I won’t be doing any of this organizing. But I’ll bet other people will be doing it before long. BlogHer is only the start.

And now a prediction: next year BlogHer will draw over a thousand attendees. You read it here first.