Online columnists “don’t own their blogs,” Variety‘s Peter Bart wrote two days ago, “their blogs own them.” Right away I laughed because it’s half true. More than half!

“In fact, their blogs have changed their lives,” he goes on. “Forget the morning coffee. Now the first thing they do upon waking is to nervously check the blogosphere to see if someone has beaten them to a story. Then the panic really starts: What can they concoct that someone out there might pay attention to? Why was yesterday’s traffic disappointing? Surely there should have been more hits.

“Perhaps this is why my blogger friends seem ever more driven and neurotic than in their pre-blog days. They have anointed onto themselves a weird sort of stream-of-consciousness freedom, but they are always peering at their ratings like a herd of TV programmers. Hence, the new lexicon of blogdom is all about traffic, not about ideas.”

That’s wrong. The kind of traffic that matters comes because of ideas, opinions, advancing the conversation. Being consistently willful, contentious, outspoken, waterfront-covering.

“The bloggers I know are so hungry for attention that they suffer from attention deficit syndrome.” That’s half-true, but you can’t let this side of things get to you.

“Their blogs have become a narcotic: The highs are downright beatific.” True — they can be.

“Then the numbers come in and they trigger the low.” Well, there’s always room for improvement.