Jay Rosen and I have collaborated on Pressthink's response to Halley Suitt's challenge in "Fourteen New Voices: A Reply to Halley's Comment." I copy the piece below with the usual disclaimer that this post is simply a record of my writing--I welcome your comments over at Pressthink. --LS
-----Excerpted from Jay Rosen's Pressthink: Fourteen New Voices: A Reply to Halley's Comment
A linking meritocracy of your own
by Lisa Stone
Did we really love "Lucy"? Or did we just watch her because that's all that was on TV?
My money's on the latter. That's why I'm happy to participate in Halley Suitt's challenge to promote ten voices. It's time the most-trafficked blogs in the 'sphere launched a couple hundred or so blog-cable channels with content and links that beef up the programming mix.
Why do I have this opinion? Because in the past year, I've spent a lot of time surfing the long tail of the blogosphere, first for the Los Angeles Times, then for Law.com and most recently for Knight Ridder Digital. In each case, my assignment was to assess and report back on a diverse cross-section of blogs on the subjects of politics, law and NASCAR.
This was a bigger challenge than I originally anticipated, because I was limited by the quality of my search techniques and the time I had to invest in those searches on deadline. I found I could rely on services such as Technorati, Feedster and Truth Laid Bear, but only to a certain extent.
Because the same bloggers kept popping up on my searches. I found it surprisingly challenging to extend my appreciation of the blogosphere beyond a list of the usual suspects in any subject or category—even when I scoured blogrolls.
My time paid off. And, yes, on the way I discovered the dregs, the blogging equivalents of QVC and Falcon Crest re-runs I won't even watch with Spanish voiceovers. I hit paydirt too, stumbling across Baldilocks and Carolyn Elefant and Kathy’s Pit Stop.
But it was work—and what about the blogs I missed? What about the casual user who isn't paid to be, well, a surfette? This experience is why I find questions by Suitt and Jeneane Sessums so important. This experience is why it was easier than it should have been for Kevin Drum to miss the kazillions of bloghers who have since chewed his, er, lunch.
Why do I value this push for diversity in blogrolls? It's purely selfish: I have to be able to find quality blogs in order to read them and to link them--not just for my day job, but to feed my own brain. The better (read: more diverse) your blogroll, the smarter and happier this reader is. That's why my first response to Halley's comment at Harvard was to out the brainstorm I'd already begun with Elisa Camahort to hold a Bloghercon-ference.
I'm also happy to recommend the ten bloggers I review below--one more way to support other bloggers and help you feed a meritocracy of your own. Because the media we consume can only be as good as the media we demand. In Blogworld, the media we demand is the media we're willing to hunt down and link.
So while sometimes I still do love Lucy, I'll never be a one-woman blogger. I need to learn from the entire blogosphere. And as bloggerdom evolves, si Dios quiere, so will what I read--and recommend.
Personally, I'm not going to be satisfied with less than the whole picture. Otherwise, I'd still be parked in front of my TV.
So here's our interpretation of #5 from above. Here are 14 capsule reviews of bloggers you may not know, but should.
Reviews continue below...