Bloggers Aren’t Normal

by Doug Allen

After Nick Beaudrot gave up Twitter for Lent, he found that he didn’t feel like using it again “until [he found] a way to separate the wheat from the chaff.” Ezra Klein agreed, Yglesias differed, and Kevin Drum positioned it as a problem for “the verbal, well-educated, politically conscious social group that most bloggers belong to.” Jonathan Bernstein zooms out:

[T]he truth is that Klein and Yglesias and Drum and, for a few years now, myself, aren’t part of that group. We’re in a different category: people who have to follow the news for professional reasons. … [T]he less-interesting upshot of all this is that it’s not clear why most people should be particularly interested in how Klein and Yglesias and Drum use twitter, because their — our — needs are really different. But the more important lesson that really can’t be repeated often enough is that reporters, columnists, bloggers: we’re not normal. Even worse: of the not normal — the people who pay a lot of attention to politics — we’re not even normal in that group. …

Twitter, with its self-selected feeds, is particularly good at making you forget about [this]. It’s very easy to think that “everybody” is talking about something, when really it’s a handful of reporters and political operatives. Or that something is old news, when in fact only some 10% or fewer of those out in the electorate have even heard about it.