One thing the JIB Awards clearly demonstrates is the remarkable growth of the Jewish blogosphere. In 2004, there were relatively few players and blogs had little or no impact upon the Jewish world. Now Jrants tracks over 550 Jewish themed blogs, the Jewish Press is starting to cover and explore the JBlogosphere and there are even Jewish conferences based on blogs! So while Jewish blogs arguably continue to have little or no impact upon the Jewish world at large, something’s clearly afoot.
Anyhow, as you may guess, I go through a lot of blogs on a regular basis. Consequently, what I will try to do is go through all the categories one by one in advance of the voting on Jan. 9th and discuss the various nominees. I’m doing this to support Israellycool Dave’s awesome efforts and also to encourage more cross-blog traffic. Once again, I remain in awe of the many talented people that make up the JBlogosphere and however this all turns out, I think that we uh… are all winners. So without further ado, let’s look at the first category: Best Overall ‘Mega’ Blog.
This year there are 6 nominees. This is a whacky kind of category – in order to qualify, the blogs have to attract a minimum of 5,000 individual visitors a day. What makes this category interesting is that for the most part, while the blogs in question ostensibly cover subject matter that is sometimes of interest to Jews, they get the traffic they do because they appeal to a wider non-Jewish audience.
For instance, the first nominee Cox & Forkum are a two-man team who produce popular editorial cartoons. Their political orientation, like many mega bloggers, is right-wing and much of their focus is on the Middle East, Iraq, Terrorism etc. They get about 6300 visitors a day, are currently ranked 100th by truthlaidbear and link to a number of Jewishy sites. However, they do not allow comments and haven’t even acknowledged their JIB nomination. Consequently, I don’t expect them to place high when the voting commences.
The next nominee is the ever controversial Little Green Footballs. Run by Charles Johnson, LGF is considered “a center for opposition to political Islamism,” hence it’s popularity with Jews of a certain ideological bent and its presence at the JIBs. LGF is more than just a blog – it’s a vociferous community, attracting over 66,000 visits a day (truthlaidbear) with posts eliciting hundreds of comments on a regular basis. Last year LGF won in several categories (Best Blog and Best Israel Advocacy Blog). I expect them to win handily again this year despite the fact that some are opposed to their presence here.
The best way to describe the next nominee, Protein Wisdom is as the chiller, funnier, little brother of LGF. Last year, this blog won the JIB’s Best Humor Blog award. This Protein Wisdom finds itself in the mega blog category by virtue of its traffic – just over 5000 visitors a day. On top of being funny and talented, the blog author Jeff Goldstein is also undoubtedly Jewish. He’s like the blog equivalent of P.J. O’Rourke, and is described as “somewhere between libertarian and libertine.” He won’t win the category, but he’ll get my vote, for whatever it’s worth.
Powerline, a group blog, bills itself as a Proud Friend of Israel. They get slightly less traffic than LGF (just over 60,000 visitors a day) but their Jewish content is overshadowed by their political content. Their focus is everything related to the US right wing and while they may give LGF a run for the money, I don’t think most of their visitors care about winning a Jewish blog award as would those that frequent LGF.
Next up is the blog of author and screenwriter Roger L. Simon. Roger’s certainly been involved in some top tier Hollywood projects including Enemies, A Love Story (screen adaptation of I. B. Singer’s book) and Scenes From a Mall (starring Woody Allen). He gets just over 6000 visitors a day and from what I can tell, the only ostensibly Jewish content on his site relates to his musings on the Middle East. Most of these seem to evince a right wing political orientation. It’s an interesting site but I am skeptical of it’s ability to place in this category. We’ll see, eh?
The final nominee is Joe Katzman’s group blog Winds Of Change. I’ll leave aside the fact that according to truthlaidbear, with 3409 daily visitors, they don’t qualify to be in the mega blog category. Winds of Change is an old, well established blog, with archives dating back to 2002. Along with the rest of the nominees in this category, their focus seems to be on topics like terrorism, the Middle East and right wing issues. Their orientation is also right leaning. However, if the stats on truthlaidbear are accurate, they may also fail to place.
I asked myself what’s with all these pro-Bush, Conservative blogs? My assumption is that since the blogosphere as a whole is generally pretty liberal, Conservative bloggers are more likely to congregate together and create communities of like-minded individuals. But what they hey, maybe I’m wrong and really the world out there is far more Conservative than I’d like to admit. Who knows! Anyhow, I hope y’all found this handy – I’ll try to pop out more of these before voting begins in earnest.