When researching ezines online, I chose predominantly political sites of differing viewpoints as well as a great disparity in the amount of money and detail went into them. Neither website can be considered in the mainstream, with one leaning heavily to the left while the other leans to the right.
One website, The Ethical Spectacle exists to touch on subjects important to liberal people by providing articles and links to sites that cover feminism, freedom of speech, and various other issues that liberals have fought for during the past century.
The other website, The Atlasphere, wishes to inform people about the ultra-capitalist philosophy of Ayn Rand, by providing articles, film and book reviews, newsletters, as well as forums and dating profiles to bring their viewers together.
While both of these websites are political in nature, only The Atlasphere incorporates the many elements of the attention deficient web surfer to entice viewers, while The Ethical Spectacle provides its information simply and plainly, suggesting a large difference not only in readership, but in resources spent designing the respective ezines.
As posted on the homepage of The Ethical Spectacle, a quote by Richard Foreman: “Noticing that no-one held the values I defended, I decided to make a spectacle of myself” (Wallace).
It is obvious that the site seeks to further the liberal viewpoints of the American way, including the remission of conservatism, the lies of the current conservative government, and the celebrations of such freedom-loving authors as George Orwell. The articles are very liberal, and the page itself is very sparse, with not many frills or embellishments. They even ask for donations at the bottom, suggesting that regular paying subscriptions are not the way they make their money.
When clicking on the “Links” link, I was taking to a great list of links pertaining to issues that are culturally and politically relevant, ranging from civil liberties to the Holocaust.
However, when clicking on the “Friends” link, it becomes more apparent that the ezine is very low budget and if anything a labor of love, as there are only three friends and no corporations or other larger websites. On the exact opposite end of the spectrum, both politically and in the details of its design is The Atlasphere.
The ezine online that dealt with the objectivist philosophy of Ayn Rand is called The Atlasphere, who’s stated goal is: “to bring together admirers of Ayn Rand’s novels, from around the globe, to network both personally and professionally” (“Our Mission”) The site does feature all kinds of ways to connect with other objectivists, but it also offers a variety of things that ezines usually do. It has a considerable number of featured columns by both professional writers and objectivists.
The ezine also has reviews on books and movies that are in line with the objectivist philosophy. It also has many links, including links to forums which are extremely detailed and large, with hundreds of thousands of posts from a few thousand members and guests. The topics ranged from art to politics to science and philosophy, and the overall intelligence of the members seemed very high and the immense detail of the ezine and everything that went with it was shocking.
The scope of political ezines run the gamut on the internet. With sites like The Ethical Spectacle and The Atlasphere, it becomes easy to see the ways that people are attempting to do basically the same things—attract viewers.
While sites like The Ethical Spectacle relies on the content generated by its contributors, The Atlasphere has many different objectivist-related links and pages to go along with its articles. For this very reason, regardless of the politics of either, The Atlasphere is a much more detailed and enjoyable site for the sheer fact that it offers so many more possibilities for its viewer.
“Our Mission.” The Atlasphere. 2008. 12 Jul 2008. ;http://www.theatlasphere.com/about/;
Wallace, Jonathan. The Ethical Spectacle Vol. XIV, No.7. Jul 2008. 12 Jul 2008.