News & Politics

Ten Reasons for Too Few Women Bloggers

Why aren't there more women bloggers? Chris Nolan runs it down for you.
This piece is in response, partly, to Steven Levy's musings on Newsweek's site. For the record, Levy wrote a better version of the column Kevin Drum tried to write a few weeks ago; he made some phone calls, however.


  1. This medium was first taken up by techies. Most of them are men. It's not worth going into the statistics on men and women in tech, and the reasons and whyfors. There are more men, that's all you need to know for this conversation.


  2. Those men prefer to link to and read men like them. As it was in the beginning so shall it ever be. When they wonder where the women bloggers are, what they're really saying is "I don't read any women bloggers."


  3. Even though the "blogosphere" has gotten much larger, most of these men are still reading the guys they started out with three years ago, linking to them and talking among themselves. There's talk of broader horizons, but it's pretty much that: Talk. Glenn Reynolds, however, is an exception to this trend. And since he got slapped around last month, Kevin Drum has started to link to more women. Josh Marshall rarely links to women writers. Dave Winer is also stingy.


  4. Anna Maria Cox. She's prettier, younger and more entertaining than most other writers – male or female – on the web. And she spends most of her time writing about sex. Her male readers – and that's her audience, trust me on this – think that's really cool. It's a cheap trick but it builds an audience. Since she's got an audience, Big Media think of Cox as "the" girl blogger. Since they've got one girl blogger in their Rolodex, they don't think they need any more. Particularly since she's pretty and she talks about sex which makes them all feel better about how bloggers aren't really a serious threat to Big Media.


  5. For the most part, blogging is covered in Big Media by either political or tech writers. Most tech writers are men. So are the overwhelming majority of political writers. And most political writers have no idea what Feedster, Technorati or PubSub do. They've never heard of RSS. They're still book-marking.


  6. Big Media reporters prefer to deal with the "top-tier" bloggers and folks in their own part of the world – the East Coast. That's who they call for TV: Sullivan, Jarvis, Reynolds, Marshall. That's who makes it onto dial-a-quote lists. Those appearance reinforce Big Boy Bloggers' bigger numbers. On Charlie Rose' blog show, the guests were Glenn Reynolds, Anna Marie Cox and Andrew Sullivan, no one west of the Mississippi. No minorities. That's diversity, Big-Media style.


  7. It is much harder to make a name for yourself and find an audience on the web via blogging than it used to be. A crowded field means there's less to go around (although that's changing as the audience grows) and what is out there is more widely dispersed. It's hard for anyone to break into the big leagues immediately.


  8. Big Media is behind the curve – as anyone reading this knows well – but it confers success on the "top-tier" bloggers by sending them new links. It's a virtuous circle, if you're one of the guys at the top of the list, it's great. You'll probably stay there. For everyone else, it's a struggle to get noticed.


  9. Did I mention this is a new medium? And that for all its self-reflection and navel-gazing (another dumb carry-over from Big Media) we really aren't anywhere near there yet. The sorting out process – online, without Big Media's supervision – hasn't solidified.


  10. Silly self-satisfied columns like Maureen Dowd's Sunday contribution to this debate. Here's what she said: Write like me, get accused of being "mean" and you won't ever, ever, ever get married or have a boyfriend because people will think you're a castrating bitch even if you talk real cute and have a fetching head shot on the paper's web site. This – and I think she thinks she's being encouraging – from a woman who's said to have dated Michael Kinsley, Aaron Sorkin and Michael Douglas! Makes you want to run right out and sign up for the life, huh?



The debate continues at Politics From Left to Right.
Chris Nolan is not a man and even though she lives in San Francisco, she has no plans to become one.
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