Typing Politics: The Role of Blogs in American Politics

By Richard Davis | Go to book overview

7
The Audience

The final player to discuss is the political blog audience. As mentioned earlier, traditional news media audiences intermingle with other players in agenda setting. But do blog audiences do so as well? Before answering that question, it is important to understand who this audience is. Are they unemployed twentysomethings who spend their days hunched over a computer screen reading the latest gossip about a presidential candidate or smirking over the blogosphere’s report on still another media failure? Are they social outcasts who live in a virtual world disconnected from others? Or are they mainstream voters, average Americans? Do they represent the broad spectrum of social life—truckers, physicians, accountants, manicurists, and PhDs as well as high school dropouts, voters and nonvoters? Are they ordinary people seeking more information in order to make decisions about issues and candidates? What are their attitudes about traditional media? Have these readers given up on mainstream media? Or are they supplementing blog and media news sources? And why do they read? What motivates them to spend time reading someone else’s political opinions? Is it pure entertainment? Or do blogs offer news they don’t get elsewhere? What is the relationship between blogs and their audience? Are they affected by what they read? Do they read blogs in order to glean information, but also, perhaps, to shape opinions as well?

Relatively few surveys of blog audiences exist; even fewer have been conducted for political blog audiences.1 The Institute for Politics, Democracy & the Internet, the Pew Internet and American Life Project, and Harris Interactive, among others, have polled blog audiences.2 To answer many of these questions, a survey of political blog readers was conducted. The details of the survey are in the appendix, but, in brief, the survey sample initially included 2,729 people who were part of an Internet survey panel developed by Knowledge Networks. Of those, 653 people who read political blogs at least several times a month became the primary sample.

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Typing Politics: The Role of Blogs in American Politics
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Contents ix
  • Introduction 3
  • 1 - Agenda Setting 9
  • 2 - Blogs and Politics 22
  • 3 - Bloggers 33
  • 4 - Inside the Blogs 56
  • 5 - Agenda Seekers 82
  • 6 - Journalists 107
  • 7 - The Audience 155
  • Conclusion 178
  • Appendix - Methodology 194
  • Notes 199
  • Index 233
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