It looks like Steven Levy of Newsweek isn't the only one capable of basic misinterpretation when discussing who blogs and who links to who. Dave Winer makes some good points against Chris Nolan, who seems to think that there's a conscious act playing out. Consider this from Chris:
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 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."
The point about techies being overwhelmingly male is true enough - you can accept that as a current fact without trying to explain it. Given an overwhelmingly male pool to draw from, is it a huge surprise that so many bloggers (at least the well known ones) are male? Chris' second point simply doesn't work - it's an attempt to create a political explanation for a simple demographics issue. Quick - if I throw 200 people into a room, and 190 of them are male, won't most of the conversations involve men? For that matter, how many of those conversations will be on subjects that the 10 women simply aren't that interested in? And yet, Chris insists on making this into a counting game:
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.
Chris also falls into the same trap that she accuses the media of falling into - that the "big A-list bloggers" are the only ones worth talking about. She makes fun of this, but her only female example is Wonkette, a woman with all the maturity of a 7th grader who just discovered that talking about sex shocks the parents. Hmm - no mention of people like the Misbehaving.net crew, or Julia Lerman, or Julie Leung - all of whom are far more interesting than Wonkette. That might have something to do with the lack of a potty mouth. For that matter, I suspect that a trip through LiveJournal would turn up a different set of demographics as well. Nolan needs to stop thinking that everything is political, and get out more.