I agree with John Perry Barlow. Don’t do that very often but this comment is totally spot on:
One of the great myths of the blogosphere is that they represent a huge number of people. It just isn’t even close to true.
According the Nielsen, 79% of the US population has Internet access. I wonder what constitutes “internet access”? And what the usage is? Does that mean they get on everyday?
Here’s a couple of questions for you. When you send an email to a friend who doesn’t work in a tech related field, how long to do you expect it to take to get a response? It will be at least 24 hours and probably longer. Most people check their email once a day, not every 5 minutes like I do.
What percentage of people do you know that have email? I’d say 80% of the people I know have a personal computer and an email account. But even they don’t check it often. My mom has an email address, but I have to call her on the phone when I want to send her something and tell her to check it.
Of the people on the Internet, do you think that most people read more than one site for news? Do they go there everyday? If they only go to one or two news sites which ones do you think they go to? My bet is it is either one from a major TV network, or a major newspaper.
I should point out that of my real world friends, none of them read blogs. My bet is that shortwave radio has more audience than the entire blogosphere.
But I find these beliefs aren’t limited to just the blogosphere, everyone seems to think most people act and think like they do and any aberrations to are the crazy few.
I remember my friends, mostly conservative Republicians, being shocked at how close the race for president was in 2000. I remember thinking maybe that’s just how closely divided the nation was. If you listen to Rush Limbaugh everyday you start to think all but a few agree with him. But even Rush knows it isn’t that true. I remember him responding to a suggestion that he run for office by saying he’d just be joining the ranks of popular celebrities with failed political lives because they thought they were bigger than they really were.
Remember a TV show is a stunning success if it get 20% of the people watching TV when it is on. That doesn’t take into account the people who aren’t watching TV. For instance the Golden Globes was the top rated show last week with 16.95% of those watching TV watching it. But there was only a 25% share at the time. A share is the percentage of the population watching TV. That means 4.2% of people watched the most watched TV program last week.
When I hear comments like “The vast majority of Americans want Bush removed from office” I immediately think, this guy lives in California and needs to get out more. Not because I believe Bush is going to win by a land slide but because it sounds like they think there is no support of Bush because they don’t know anyone who even likes Bush. I know people who love and venerate him.
I also find it interesting that both sides are now playing the victim to the media. The Democrats are sounding just like the Republicans did a few years ago. The “media” is now totally biased against them. The right controls it.
This is funny to Republicans because they still see left wing bias over the majority of TV news. Republicans perceived they have one news channel on their side (Fox News) and it seems sour grapes for Dems to whine about it.
Barlow’s complaint about the way Dean was killed by the media sounds like Republican’s complaints about the treatment of Dan Quale in 1996, or the constant contention George W. was stupid during 2000. If Dean can’t take the heat he needs to get out of the kitchen, along with his cry baby followers. The reason the media came down hard on him was because he was the front runner. The reason his screeching was heard round the world was because it was funny.
I’ve had a few discussions with Republicans about the screech and they say everyone is making more a big deal out of it than it was. We don’t want our leaders to have no room to express emotions. An out burst of emotion isn’t shocking, its just funny. What Dean and his followers believe is shocking.
Even Dean now understands the belief the people of the Internet will make him president is wrong. He fired his visionary Internet campaign manager and replaced with a traditional campaign manger.