Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Perfect Swarm

As Bill Whittle might say: relax, get yourself a cup of coffee, make yourself comfortable; this may take a while.

I have written previously about the civil war within the mind of the West, and the crippling effect it has on our ability to fight the Great Jihad. Since the kamikaze Left holds the ramparts of our culture, it will require a mass effort to change the subject and subvert the Left’s dominant memes.

Fortunately, the blogosphere has the capacity to be subversive. With many thousands of blogs and many millions of readers, a conversation has emerged which is not under the control of the traditional gatekeepers of our collective intellect. Yet our political leaders — our elected officials and their subordinate policymakers — have been slow to heed the new voices. On contentious issues such as immigration policy and the straightforward prosecution of the war against the Great Jihad, the politicians have instinctively bowed to the PC shrines at the New York Times and the Washington Post, as if theirs were the only readers that matter.

The chances are that on any given day, more people are reading one of Wretchard’s essays than are reading Maureen Dowd, and more touch base with Instapundit than with Richard Cohen. Yet the nervous nellies of Congress and the Administration dance around the MSM’s talking points like the keepers of the vestal flame.

What gives?

It’s not as if the blogosphere hasn’t proved its efficacy. An examination of its triumphs is instructive.

The first one was the Trent Lott affair. The former majority leader’s ill-considered remarks at Strom Thurmond’s birthday party were, strangely enough, about to be buried by the liberal media. Yet the center-right blogs kept the issue alive and eventually raised the temperature under Sen. Lott’s feet until he was forced out of his position.

Next came the blogs’ greatest success, Rathergate. Led by Little Green Footballs and Power Line, and assisted by thousands of alert readers doing the research, cross-checking the facts, and spreading the word, CBS News and its allies in Big Media were prevented from generating the story they had hoped would torpedo the President’s re-election.

Then there was Eason Jordan. Once again, an issue that would have been buried and forgotten was kept alive by the blogs, forcing a CNN executive to resign.

Numerous other instances of the blogs’ effectiveness can be cited — the Pepsi “finger”, the journalists supposedly targeted by the American military, the Oil-for-Food scam, and so on — and others are in process right now, such as the Able Danger/Sandy Berger affair. Each blog swarm, when roused by its defining issue, has demonstrated its power.

But each of these swarms was essentially reactive. The pattern is this: a politician or media figure commits a verbal atrocity, generates a vile fraud, or engages in some kind of political corruption. The traditional media close ranks and bury the story, but the blogs take action to force the matter to a head. Without a stimulus to act against, the blog swarm does not form.

But does it have to be that way? Why can’t the blogs act in concert to advance memes which they generate themselves?

The variety among the center-right blogs is breathtaking. The spectrum goes from hardcore libertarians through dedicated warbloggers to Christians and social conservatives. We have milbloggers, recovering liberals, crusty commentators, shrinks, and satirists. All of these cacophonous voices are arguing among themselves, shooting spitballs and insulting each other. Yet, when they agree on something, they swarm, and the gates of the citadel tremble!

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Gates of Vienna is a little blog. Oh, we have our loyal readers (and an uncommonly intelligent and literate group they are, too), but what we say here will cause scarcely a ripple in the big pond of opinion journalism. However, if our words line up with thousands of other blogs, if we act in concert with all the other large mammals, marauding marsupials, flippery fish, etc. of the ecosystem, then the aggregate effect has meaning.

So, instead of waiting for the next outrage on the Left, instead of reacting to events, I propose a new practice of proactive swarming. Each of us should keep an eye out for an important idea whose time has come, and then promote it for a swarm. If you have a blog, post the swarm idea. To misquote the Grateful Dead, if you believe it, pass it on.

The success of Rathergate can be repeated with ideas generated within the blogs, and then amplified by them. If this practice is repeated often enough, the politicians will start checking in with Instapundit over their morning coffee instead of looking in the newspaper to discover what it is they think.

As Wretchard has said,
    The longer it goes on the more dangerous the revolution becomes. Someone compared the rise of the Internet to the invention of the printing press. When books were the province of a few you could only come to knowledge through someone else. When books became common, people could learn for themselves, which put quite a few mediocrities out of business. Doubtless there will be those, as happens with people who interpret scripture do-it-yourself, who will get it all cockeyed. But on the whole mass produced books were a good thing.
There are some who are shocked, shocked at the act of a private person musing out loud about what seems like a staged photograph. ‘How dare you, how dare you raise these questions’. Yet to those who grew up on the Internet, this attitude is puzzling in the extreme. It’s as natural as breathing, a wholly different tradition. There must be hundreds of sites out there saying I’m a jerk. So what? This blog is just a meme, that’s all. I am nothing. I don’t even have a name. There must be zillions out there who disagree with my ideas. But so what? If my ideas are wrong they’ll die. If they are right, not even I can stop them. Scary when you think of it.
To that end I have constructed four icons which can be used to accompany a “swarm meme”:

Blog Swarm!    Blog Swarm!
Blog Swarm!    Blog Swarm!

They are designed to flush left or right , and you can use either the opaque or transparent background. Choose the image you want and copy it, steal it, credit me or not; I don’t care — heck, you can hot-link the image and let eat the bandwidth! If the idea is good, spread it and Swarm It!

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

My first candidate for a swarm meme is my old standard; Dymphna will offer her own in the next day or two.

Blog Swarm!

We Are Not Fighting a
“Global War on Terror”
or a
“Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism”.

We Are Resisting
The Third Wave of the Great Islamic Jihad.

It’s been going on since 630 AD, and the defeat at Vienna in 1683 was just a temporary setback from their point of view. It’s high time to call this war by its right name.

If you agree, then… swarm it!


Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Unknown said...

Count me in!!!

Viva La Blogolución!!!

CarnackiUK said...

A fine idea whose time has come, and not a moment too soon: I see the RoPers at (which claims 5m hits a month) are busy orchestrating swarms against targets such as The Observer, the BBC and Conservative MP Boris Johnson, all accused of insulting delicate muslim sensibilities.

I read a quote earlier from someone who, after seeing one of the earliest motion pictures, said, 'Mankind has a new weapon.'

The internet is a new weapon too and we must learn quickly how to maximise its potential.

Unknown said...

The chances are that on any given day, more people are reading one of Wretchard’s essays than are reading Maureen Dowd, and more touch base with Instapundit than with Richard Cohen. Yet the nervous nellies of Congress and the Administration dance around the MSM’s talking points like the keepers of the vestal flame.

Frankly, much as I hate to say it, I doubt it. The NYT has a daily circulation of more than 1 million copies. It gets more than 1 million unique visitors per day online. What proportion of these read, say, Maureen Dowd's column? Unfortunately, these stats are not vouchsafed us. But I think it's reasonable to conjecture that more than 5% of the readership reads her column and, consequently, she has a bigger readership than even the biggest blogger.

Baron Bodissey said...

Well, Dave, you could be right. But current newspaper statistics are increasingly shown to be fraudulent, ginned up by the corrupt businessmen who run the papers to keep the advertising rates up. And I know from experience how many NYT issues lie around unread, or barely read. No comics -- who wants to open it?

But even if you're right, it won't be that way much longer. Especially if you look at blogs in the aggregate. The combined readership of Instapundit, LGF, Powerline, Belmont Club, Hewitt, Daily Pundit, etc., etc., must be HUGE.

Pajamas Media definitely has the future in mind.

SC&A said...

Very, very well said.

Greg said...

Good idea.

The Third Wave of the Great Islamic Jihad.

Uhhhh.... How do you pronounce that?

right around here said...

We must swarm them or they will swarm us - physically. Somehow, we have to get the dolts to understand we are in WWIII whether they think so or not.

Baron! The Michigan-Conservative is in.

Baron Bodissey said...

Well, y'all make sure you steal an icon & use it when you swarm. There's no reason we can't aggregate ourselves into having an effect.

gandalf said...

I agree with the concept of using economy of scale (for want of a better description) of the blogosphere, this could be a very effective strategy.

I have two points to raise.

1)how do you get a dispirate group of people to make the "hit" on one particular topic

2)how would the decision be made as to what particular target to hit?

Here is a suggestion( and that is all it is at the moment)

A site is set up, placed on that site by bloggers are a series of topics, bloggers then vote as to the one to hit (for that week for example).

the next week another and so 0n.

If the site is limited to say ten topics per week for example then bloggers could hit all ten, but how do you decide which ten to have on the site?

Not perfect suggestions I agree but its a starting point

Baron Bodissey said...

The prototype for this is the swarms that have already taken place over Dan Rather, Eason Jordan, etc. Nobody had to tell the blogs what to do -- they picked up the thread and ran with it.

I want to do the same thing proactively, instead of waiting for some lefty to do something horrible. Why shouldn't we be able to swarm a good idea, a positive and constructive one?

When I see an important idea on someone else's blog, I'll grab the icon and suggest a swarm here.

If the idea is crappy, nothing will happen. But a good idea could grow very big.

I'm suggesting using the swarm icons as a self-conscious process; one of being aware that this can be done. It's a way of tackling the frustration of being ignored by the people who make the big decisions. We center-right bloggers are numerous enough to be able to attract their attention.

There may be other approaches; I'm open to suggestions. But the 3 most important things to do: Swarm, swarm, and swarm!

unaha-closp said...

I disagree - Calling them the third wave gives the enemy too much credence, makes them into being more powerful than they are.

But the whole swarming idea is a nice one.

PD111 said...

Baron Bodissey:

I posted along similar lines on GoV a few weeks ago.

In the meantime, in my own small way, I have taken to link articles of interest appearing in different blogs, one to others. But I can only do this in the comments section. What is really required, is that Blog administrators such as yourself, Robert Spencer, Charles Johnson, Roger Simon, Insta Pundit etal, form an alliance (I wrote - a coalition of the willing), and do this at the system or "thread" level.

Just an idea.
The Internet is a very powerful information tool. For the first time in history the common man has easy access in putting his views forward on a global scale. This has never happened before, and just as in previous information revolutions, the internet revolution is likely to cause some major physical revolutions as well. Be warned though. Revolutions are a serious danger to life and property.

tcobb said...

Its just a thought, and perhaps not a very good one, but what if someone would create a website which would be password protected which allowed bloggers to post potential topics, and then allowed people having access to the site to "join" together with others who shared interest in that matter? It could be sort of a meeting house for bloggers who shared common interests, and a way for them to share information.

If, for example, suppose some group wished to blog about the situation in Iran. There are a lot of people out there who know a great deal about the subject, but often times their knowledge tends to be somewhat specialized. If you brought together people who respectively knew about the culture, history of the region, economic conditions, military capabilities, nuclear technolgy, etc, you might have a very formidable "dot connecting" engine.
...its just a thought.

bigdaddybean said...

The "swarm" idea is good. A few tips that some may not know that will help search engines pick up and boost the swarm topic. I'll just use Dan Rather for an example.

1. Make sure you use the name in the post title.
ex: Dan Rather is blah blah blah.

2. Make sure you use the name up to 5 times in the post, but no more. When you use more than 5 Google spider thinks you are spamming it.

3. Link to other blogs and sources with the name. Google likes this and gives more importance to the link.

4. Post links to the big hitters and try to get reciprocal links. One way to do this is post a link in the big hitters comment section ...JihadWatch, Powerline etc.

Many will know these simple SE tips, but for the ones that don't ... start using them.

PD111 said...

An appropriate time to re-read this

A short history of Islam and its impact on your life.

Pass it on to others.

Pastorius said...

Ok Baron,
I like the idea. Now, the problem is, I am so tech-illiterate, I wouldn't know how to post that thingy-mo-bopper on my sidebar. I could put it up on a post, but of course it would move down the page rapidly.



Pastorius the html-challenged.

Baron Bodissey said...

Pastorius -- Well. You'll have to make a change to your template. But, really, my idea is more that the icon be put on a post, one that joins the swarm on a topic. It would identify the post as a component of a swarm.

I've seen you post images on CUANAS, so I bet you can take care of that one... ;-)

greer rants said...

Dear Baron,
While those with the ability work out the details,
as it is August 26th with only 16 days to go until the fourth anniversary of 9/11, photographs from that
day should go up immediately. Remind and shame the MSM as to why we
are fighting this war.
A OBL quote or a recent one
from the LGF collection would be great headers to
all blogs as we count down to Sept 11, 2005.
Remember it was the MSM that made the decision that the photos of the WTC showing Americans jumping to
their deaths should no longer be shown. We let them get away with it. Let us show it in all its horror
on every blog that has the
technical capacity to do so.

gandalf said...

Here is another concept for the possible application of a swarm.

This could be done on a country basis, various countries are under more “threat” than others, and the governments of these countries could be targeted.

Sweden for example is under particular threat, the government there is completely dhimmified and the indigent population is becoming more and more cowed by the welter of legislation being passed that erodes the standing of the people of Sweden.

Fjordman ( has been cataloguing this for some time now.

If Fjordman was to supply the e-mail addresses of relevant government offices in Sweden then a swarm could be executed.

In the USA it could be carried out at state level.

This is a suggestion for a strategy to apply the power of the blogger, which if harnessed and applied strategically and in a united fashion could have a great impact
On governments and their thinking

Baron Bodissey said...

Greer rants -- you've got a great idea there. I'm going to prepare a post for 9/11/05, using the swarm icon and a 9/11 photo (google images should turn up plenty of those). I recommend that others do likewise. My meme, roughly, will be, "Never Forget Why We Fight".

Baron Bodissey said...

tcobb -- The only think that worries me about your idea is that it seems to involve more gatekeepers. That's what the blogs have escaped from, to everyone's benefit.

Dymphna and I have signed up for Pajamas Media, and we are looking forward to being part of it. But the moment they attempt any editorial control over us -- SLAM! We're outta there. Any advertising revenue is not as important as the absolute creative freedom we have now.

What I'm looking for is a positive, proactive way that blogs can voluntarily work together when it is in their interest to do so.

PD111 said...

This is OT but I feel it is required reading, though disturbing.

Magdy Khalil: Who is responsible for abducting Coptic girls?

Each passing day Islam shows itself to be nothing but the worst form of slavery. An institution that combines the worst excesses of slavery in various locales and time, in just one institution. Over time, this institution has developed a culture of sorts with its own laws, which now goes by the name of sharia. It is worth noting that just as in "traditional" slavery, the most oppressed of the victims of sharia are women and the apostates ie the runaway slaves. I cannot decide which of the two, are the most persecuted.

The continuing oppression and persecution of Christians in muslim nations since WWII, has no precedence or comparison, as it has taken place in broad daylight of modern communication systems. I find it hard to imagine that it was a consequence of ignorance. The genocide of Sudan's Christians in the eighties through to the nineties, still does not attract the attention or opprobrium in the MSM. And now it is too late for the MSM to do anything about it, as it will merely highlight its shameful role in the genocide.


Buffy said...

You might use instant messaging, podcasts, or broadcast cell phone features to alert bloggers in your swarm of urgent issues. Waiting for email to get through or for the bloggers to all read your blogpost might take too long.

There's something awesome about a particular take on some hot news that hits several blogs at one time. It generally spreads to the feeder blogs and portal-blogs faster that way.

troutsky said...

All the Baron wants to do is LEAD you , he's obviously a natural born leader, not unlike Lenin, and he wants to create a revolutionary vanguard who can swarm the opposition. And many of you sound like natural born followers so it should work out swell.

Also, how come you conservatives are letting the poor Reverend Robertson twist in the wind like this? Chavez might not be an evil Jihadist but as a commie dictator he needs taking out. He could have some WMDs but for sure he's got some oil and could use some of that "democratization" you all are so famously good at!

Dymphna said...


I really like your idea of using more various and more advanced media.

We live in a dead zone for anything fast...I'm going to have to get satellite connection to get past our dribbly dial-up and while I have a cell phone it only works when I'm in civilization...IM'ing is something I haven't gotten around to as it seems to be something my college age kids use. But that's probably my limit, not theirs. It seems bizarre to me to IM people in the next dorm room.

But we're in the minority...most people could use your ideas.

Peedee oneoneone--

Thanks for the lead. I'll try to get over there tonight to see about a post.

Lanny Nugen said...

Frankly, much as I hate to say it, I doubt it. The NYT has a daily circulation of more than 1 million copies. It gets more than 1 million unique visitors per day online. What proportion of these read, say, Maureen Dowd's column? Unfortunately, these stats are not vouchsafed us. But I think it's reasonable to conjecture that more than 5% of the readership reads her column and, consequently, she has a bigger readership than even the biggest blogger.

Wow, I didn't know that we have that many idiots. Did they escape from Vietnam to America and do skin color and name change lately because it seems to me that the last I counted them was before 1975 and none is sighted overthere now?

csason said...

looks like the Screamin' Eagles
stole your line..