Friday, March 11, 2005

When I was in college, it was easy to identify the nerds and geeks... they were the ones with the pocket protectors, walking around campus with their boxes full of punch cards, talking about Star Trek (please, the original series). It was just as easy to identify the campus pests. They were the ones attending social action meetings on campus, railing about this or that injustice, clamoring for the Administration to adopt this or that initiative.

Well, 30 years later, it is just as easy to identify the nerds, geeks and pests... they're the ones reading and writing blogs...

Face it, bloggers aren't cool. You're not cool if you spend your time signing petitions, writing and calling politicians and sending in Letters to the Editor. Bloggers don't make the big bucks, not with those middle class family incomes (given all the other data, I would discount those who claim to be making $500,000+). You're not cool if more of you subscribe to the National Geographic, The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly and The Economist than Sports Illustrated, Car and Driver and Playboy. You're not cool if a third of you are spending more than 10 hours a week reading other people's blogs!

Nor do bloggers have the cool jobs: no astronauts, barely any musicians, no lifeguards or ski patrollers, no actors, no builders to build the village and almost nobody in the military who gets to blow up the villages. No real representation of entrepreneurs, no Masters of the Universe, no captains of industry. Just a bunch of lawyers, teachers and self-described computer professionals. Boring.

In the Wizard of Oz, the wizard was so much more impressive before his real identity was revealed for all to see. Per the old saying, tis better to be thought of as important than do something that removes all doubt. I can only begin to imagine what damage the likes of this survey will do to the blogosphere's reputation... up to now, it was only success after success - Trent Lott, Rather, Jeff Gannon, Eason Jordan, Ward Churchill and so on. The blogosphere had an aura about it, it was on a roll, it had an omnipotence that no one dared challenge. But now, the curtain has been pulled back and the whole world - or at least those reading this survey - can see that that those who make up the blogosphere are the same old nerds that were laughed at and ignored in the past.

Along those lines, I fear the blogosphere, in mobilizing to take on the FEC, is going to do further damage to its image. A lesson I learned a long time ago was to pick my fights, sticking to those that I could - and, even better, knew that I would win. I don't see that happening here. The very diversity of the blogosphere (all nerds and geeks, but a wide variety of them) guarantees a lack of critical mass. There's no money behind the blogosphere's position, just a lot of p***ed off nerds - no money for lobbying, no money for bribing Congress (the irony of this is noted). Does anyone really think the FEC - or Congress - is going to be swayed by a petition? Yes, I know those in the blogosphere think so, but signing petitions is what they do best.

And, if in fact, there isn't anything to worry about with the FEC, then the blogosphere will have just blown its mystique for nothing....