The author is Tanni Haas and the subtitle is The World’s Political Bloggers Share the Secrets to Success. There are interviews with Arianna Huffington, Jane Hamsher, Nick Gillespie, Lew Rockwell, Juan Cole, Matt Yglesias, Kevin Drum, yours truly, and others. Here is a comment from Kevin Drum:
When I started out, there was much more of a tendency to engage with the other side. Liberals and conservatives would attack each other, but we’d also engage with each other in at least a moderately serious way. Today, you get almost none of that. There’s very little engagement between left and right. And what engagement there is tends to be pure attack. There’s no real conversation at all. That’s a difference that I think professionalization has brought about. The political blogosphere has become more tribal.
A good point, but I blame professionalization less than Kevin does. Maybe some of us are simply a bit sick of each other, and the accumulated slights and misunderstandings weigh more heavily on our emotional responses than does the feeling of generosity from working together in the same “office.” I predict that a given experienced blogger is likely to feel more sympathy for new bloggers, but on average I doubt if the new bloggers are better or more tolerant.
Which means we mostly have ourselves to blame.
Addendum: Nick Gillespie comments.
Shane Greenstein writes to me:
This email is to alert you to a new blog project established by myself, Joshua Gans and Erik Brynjolffsson — www.digitopoly.org. We noticed that while there was plenty of commentary on technical issues there was, in fact, no blog exclusively devoted to the economics of the digital world. As we three blogged regularly about these, we decided to combine our efforts in this new forum. In addition to the new site we also have a Twitter feed @digitopoly.
Annie Lowrey reports:
Shipping is free and expedited, and it is described as a “once in a lifetime” offer.
Again from the World Bank, here is a study of that question, with the blog in question being Development Impact. Summary excerpt:
There are large impacts on dissemination of research; significant benefits in terms of the bloggers becoming better known and more respected within the profession; positive spillover effects for the bloggers’ institutions; and some evidence from our experiment that they may influence attitudes and knowledge among their readers. Blogs potentially have many impacts, and we are only measuring some of them, but the evidence we have suggests economics blogs are playing an important role in the profession.
From David McKenzie, there are more quantitative results:
In all three columns we see that, conditional on their RePEc rank, regular blogging is strongly and significantly associated with being more likely to be viewed as a favorite economist. Blogging has the same size impact as being in the top 50 of RePEc rankings for the under 60 economists, and a larger impact for the over 60 economists.
You will find the details and regressions at the link. One obvious question, of course, is how the average returns relate to the marginal returns. If David’s numbers reflect the reality, and I believe they do, why do not more economists blog? I believe it is because they can’t, at least not without embarrassing themselves rather quickly, even if they are smart and very good economists. It’s simply a different set of skills. The underlying cognitive model here still needs to be worked out, but it is not a story of smooth continuity.
By the way, do note his plea at the end:
We would love to hear from readers, bloggers, and policy makers of other examples where blog posts have changed policy – particularly cases which have involved economic analysis, rather than just reporting.
…I am complete burned out, and have been for months. I’ve blogged an average of eight hours a day, seven days a week, for over two years. I’ve only kept going in recent months out of a sense of obligation to keep pushing these issues. But now that lots of other people are saying the exact same thing, it’s time for me to take a break. So I’ll stop blogging for a few months, unless there is some huge news story like QE3, in which case I’ll add a couple posts. Or if someone does a hit job on my marshmallow post, I may need to briefly respond. Otherwise I’m done for now, and will return sometime this summer.
A few points:
1. Read or reread all of his archives.
2. Do not tempt him with mistake-ridden posts on topics such as “South Korean cinematic representations of nominal GDP targeting in the Great Depression.”
3. He will be back (and I’ll let you know when). In the meantime we will all miss him. Hail Scott Sumner!
p.s. Boo Hoo.