December 17, 2004
MICHAEL MALONE has some interesting thoughts on the future of the blogosphere, but I think he gets this bit wrong:
You see, the real problem of the blogosphere is not its content, but its structure. That is, it has yet to develop a viable business model. It is essentially a vast global movement of volunteers, most of whom are hoping for some kind of eventual payoff for their noble labors.
By "payoff" he means financial payoff. I don't think most bloggers are blogging away in the expectation of getting rich. Some will, and some larger (but still small) number will be comfortably well off, or at least make enough money to pay the hosting fees. But people blog so that they can express themselves -- to be producers, not consumers -- and we see this impulse across the world of new and alternative media. But it's not really new. Lots of musicians play music in spite of the fact that most of them won't get rich. (Most won't even do as well as my touring rock-musician brother, and believe me, he isn't rich). They do it because they like to play, and they want their music heard. I think the same kind of thing drives most bloggers, too. It's certainly what's driven me. And while some people will drop out after a while (heck, most people will drop out after a while) the blogosphere will remain.