Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

Related Post Roulette

8 Responses

  1. Lev says:

    I haven’t visited True/Slant, though I agree with your remarks on the web and Culture 11. That site had actual conversations instead of just overlapping monologues–a rarity in real life, and even more so on the internet.Report

  2. I’m a contributor on True/Slant and you have to think about it this way…

    There are a total number of 215 contributors on the site. They blog in many different verticals, 18 in total. So starting off with just a few high profile bloggers and ignoring the rest doesn’t make a whole lot of sense because you have too many single points of failure. Best to allow more folks to blog and see who rises to the top.

    Case in point, if you look at the front page you’ll see that Kate Klonick is at the top of the views for the past 5 days. That’s because she broke an exclusive about Mary Cheney having another child. But usually Kate doesn’t get that much traffic since she blogs more infrequently. So by having a bunch of other contributors beyond the Taibbis you can fill in the gaps and possibly catch lightning in a bottle and get a bunch of traffic sent your way.

    The results speak for themselves. Just take a look at the Quantcast stats ( The site is getting 1.6M page views a month. Culture 11 never got anywhere close to that. And just judging from my own blog on T/S, the conversations are certainly worthwhile. Especially when you talk to fellow contributors.

    As to your other points…

    – New media is niche oriented, sure, but think of the biggest sites out there and how they encompass many different niches. And, as mentioned, there are many different categories on T/S. Trust me, you may have a feed reader a read a bunch of different blogs, but most folks don’t use that tech or don’t want to have to visit 50 different websites for their news. They’d rather go to one. That’s why Yahoo, MSN, Google are so popular.

    – True/Slant’s name alone suggests that you get the facts and somebody’s opinion. Nothing too complicated there. And, respectfully, the two sites you cite have pretty poor immediate branding. Sure, Daily Kos is now known as the bastion of progressivism, but the name says nothing about what it’s all about. And Takimag? I think you get my point. Which ties into the next bullet…

    – True/Slant folks are very opinionated, but there are many different POVs. I would think that you, of all people, would appreciate that since I think we both count ourselves as folks who run sites that welcome a multitude of opinions. So the publication’s position is that there are many different positions. Which means, at the end of the day, you can make up your own mind.

    – True/Slant really isn’t a social network, nor do I think they position themselves as one. Sure, people have to join the site to comment and they can follow their favorite authors, but those are just ways to form a community…which I believe is different than a true soc net (although that’s a bit of inside baseball semantics disagreement so point taken).

    In any event, although we disagree I think the feedback in good and I’m going to share this with the T/S folks.


  3. JosephFM says:

    How is this different from the Huffington Post model?Report

    • Jaybird in reply to JosephFM says:

      Allow me to open a nice cold caffeine-free Coca-Cola and point out one major difference.

      Ah. I very much enjoy the taste of Coca-Cola but find that the caffeine can keep me up if I drink it in the early evening. Caffeine-free Coca-Cola gives me the Coca-Cola taste I crave, but still lets me fall asleep like a baby come bedtime.

      The Huffington Post has a somewhat leftish slant to its featured opinion-makers and, as time has gone on, has done its best to cultivate this while keeping an irreverent tone to make it a sort of Kos-with-a-sense-of-humor kinda site.

      True/Slant, on the other hand, is going for a “come-one, come-all” conversation that is not only bipartisan, not only open to the greens and libertarians and constitutionalists and other “other” types, but apolitical and allowing for a conversation about any topic of the moment allowing the true cream of the crop to rise to the top…

      And that’s as refreshing as an ice-cold Caffeine-Free Coca-Cola.


  4. Jaybird,

    I really like that analogy. Huff Post does have a very specific POV, plus it also has a significant, dedicated staff. This is why it had to raise $25M last year. True/Slant is more about the individual authors, their POV and their ability to promote themselves. And then, collectively, you get a robust, diverse site to visit every morning where stories are covered from every angle. Or at least that’s the hope.

    As far as video game reviews, well, do you do that now? Since the site is curated they usually only invite folks to blog who have an established background in that field. But they’re very responsive and easy to reach. Drop them a line and give them a pitch. The worst they can say is no.


    I don’t think you came off too strong. Just skeptical. Completely understandable with new media ventures such as this. There’s obviously no guarantee that T/S will succeed, but so far it’s looking really good. They just came out of Alpha in June and already they’re hitting that kind of traffic? As somebody who studies social media and the future of journalism, I really think they’ve hit on something with this entrepreneurial model.

    Looking forward to the next post.Report