USA Today has an intreresting column today about the real – as opposed to perceved – impact of blogs.
Indeed, the bloggers had scored big. They had helped vault a local politician to national prominence and cemented the Iraq war as Issue No. 1 in the congressional elections. Not a bad day.
But their victory was short-lived. Even before the primary, Lieberman announced that, should he lose, he’d still run in November as an independent. This electoral chutzpah effectively rope-a-doped the bloggers and recharged the senator’s fabled Joe-mentum. Lieberman’s still the man to beat in the general election.
If this wasn’t enough to drain the effervescence from the blogger bubbly, America’s noisy Web wags were dealt an even more sobering blow 10 days later when Snakes on a Plane opened nationwide to a decidedly flat $15.3 million box office.
Before its premiere, Snakes had been the latest blogger darling, as swarms of online film geeks prematurely crowned it the summer’s big sleeper. This hyperventilating fan base even convinced Snakes’ distributor, New Line Cinema, to up the movie’s rating to R, to ensure a gorier, more venomous snake fest.
But all that clapping and yapping couldn’t put enough fannies in the seats. Ticket sales for Snakes’ debut barely topped those of Talladega Nights, which was already in its third week.
I’d go read the whole thing…as a blogger, I’m a big believer that blogs and bloggers are having an impact.
But it’s important to have a sense of what that impact really is, and to put it into scale against the rest of the world. Or, as Kluger says:
Lieberman’s boomerang reminds us that voters represent a meager percentage of the total populace — and that bloggers are an even tinier subset of that group. Consequently, what appears to be a coast-to-coast juggernaut on a 17-inch monitor is, in the real world, simply an elaborate PC-to-PC chain letter — enthusiastic, but not necessarily the national mindset.
And yet, as the scrambling suits at Lamont headquarters and New Line Cinema now know, it’s easy to be seduced by one’s own hype, especially when that hype is preceded by a “www.” Now it’s time to play catch-up ball. Lamont’s handlers will have to face a candidate who will surely try to have it both ways on the campaign trail; New Line will have to sell a boatload of popcorn. That’s the way the blog bounces.
Blogs are useful as an indicator and as a tool – but don’t mistake the world inside blogs for anything but a narrow slice of the world outside them. We may be big fish in our little ponds…but there are much bigger ponds out there.
And some of them probably have snakes in them…