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Ten Good Bloggers
2005-12-17 13:01
by Will Carroll
Notes:
Scott Long is now blogging at NSFWsports.com.
Will Carroll can still be found at Baseball Prospectus.

I should learn from my mistakes more.

Over the past couple years and in the various incarnations of this blog, I've said things about bloggers and in nearly every case, I've gotten blasted far and wide. Of course, that implies that I care about most of this blasting, which couldn't be further from the truth. I have two jobs - generate content and generate interest. It's best when I can do both, but doing one or the other has some value as well.

A couple years ago, at the Winter Meetings in New Orleans, I said something over beers that stuck: "There's only ten good bloggers at any one time." I meant that in any given space, there's really only ten worth reading. The incestuous nature of the 'sphere makes most things roll down with the lesser bloggers linking to the bigger bloggers, a weird loop that only feeds the distancing.

With low barriers to entry, anyone can blog, but not anyone can get the feedback they need. (Brief recap: all bloggers do it for feedback, whether that's praise, readers, comments, or money.) We've seen conglomerations, networks, ad models, and solo shops all fail to find a real sustainable economy. Gawker and Weblogs Inc have come close and All-Baseball/MVN, Sportsblogs, and Toaster have a nice niche, but aside from David Pinto, I don't know any full time bloggers.

Some quit, like Brian Gunn or Ed Cosette, and some pop up, like Marc Normandin or Will Leitch. Some come and go, like Aaron Gleeman, who's output is still prolific and appeals to me in phases. People think I don't like Aaron - even Aaron sometimes - but I do. I have high hopes for him.

More of the top ten move up, either to bigger and better things like Bat-Girl and her occasional Page 2 outings, or Toaster's own Alex Belth who now has a pic of him doin' the Rockaway up at SI. Jay Jaffe is in an odd netherworld of being both a really good blogger and a regular at BP.

I was charged with a "guest writer" program at BP this off-season and for the most part, it's been a miserable failure. I looked at the list of the top ten and aimed for all ten, plus some people from outside the sphere. I got nearly nothing. Jeff Angus and Jon Weisman did nice work, but both didn't like being behind the wall, an odd sensation for bloggers. Others weren't broad enough to make it outside their niche and still others simply didn't bring their A-game.

So I looked again. I'm not sure that right now I could name the ten best baseball bloggers. Maybe my eye for talent is miscast. What I don't see right now is the next Jaffe, Belth, or Gleeman, but what I do see is what feels like the start of a sea-change in blogs. We're shifting from revolution to evolution and the use of the blog metaphor by ESPN, newspapers, and even teams could well supercede the bloggers by mere weight of marketing and distribution.

I think that at this time next year, the ten good bloggers had better be doing what Belth and Jaffe did.

Comments
2005-12-17 14:12:41
1.   TFD
[tear drop]

sniff

2005-12-17 14:45:42
2.   Ken Arneson
If your eye for talent is miscast, perhaps it's because you're looking at the new medium using the metrics of the old one. The skill sets of the blogger and the essayist do intersect, but they're not the same.

Some silent movie actors could succeed in the talkies, but some couldn't. Some radio personalities could hit it big in TV, but others couldn't. Some actors are better on stage, some on TV, others on film.

Each new medium will eventually define success on its own terms. That means success financially, and success artistically.

Blogs have had very limited financial success because everyone is chasing the same business model as the old media. Blogs need to find their own business model, one that truly takes advantage of the medium. That requires experimentation.

Similarly, many people might not fully recognize the today's blogging pioneers, because they are measuring them by the qualities of the old one. Maybe you can't find ten good blogger-essayists, but I bet you could name twenty people who are hugely successful bloggers, despite the fact that they hardly ever write anything resembling an interesting essay.

2005-12-17 19:34:24
3.   Will Carroll
I'm going to disagree, Ken, partially. I agree that we have to look at bloggers differently, but I think we measure success the same way. Using my old feedback definition, I can say that there are few, if any, bloggers doing the same numbers, getting paid like, issuing the influence of, or being read by the same number as even the worst beat writers and local columnists.

Here's how I measure:
1. Quality - do they interest me, not once, but over a period of time?

2. Respect - am I alone in liking the work or is this something that appears to be capturing a larger audience?

3. Value - I'm trading my time for information or entertainment; is that a good trade for me if I spend X minutes reading something? It's going to take me longer to read a Pinstriped Bible or something by Studes than it is a Pinto blurb, but there's also a different result.

4. Interaction - I'm different here than most, but I'll often email or pick up the phone when I read something and try to dig a little more, esp if it's related to UTK. If someone doesn't respond, I have less time for them in kind.

Given those and at risk of offending people, I'll say there still aren't more than ten good bloggers out there. There's a reason I haven't put up a blogroll.

2005-12-17 20:05:28
4.   Ken Arneson
See, that's the whole problem, Will. You can't measure blogs at the level of the blog/blogger/blog entry. You have to measure blogs at the level of the network.

No individual blog is going to have the power or influence or economic clout of an individual MSM writer. It's always going to fall short at that level.

One blog entry saying Dan Rather is full of crap does nothing. A network of blog entries saying Dan Rather is full of crap forces a retraction.

2005-12-17 20:57:34
5.   Scott Long
Will, I don't know who the HELL this guy thinks he is, telling you at your blog that you are off on your post. Should I ban this guy from posting? Just tell me your decision, cause I will if I have to.
2005-12-17 22:22:34
6.   chris in illinois
This dialog will one day soon seem very quaint when this current technology disappears and there are no 'bloggers'. The internet of 2015 will make this site (and others) the technological equivilant of 8-track tapes. No offense guys, but whatever marketplace you are envisioning in the future, financial or intellectual, it will be very different from this.

Anyone remember Compuserve??

The blogs have changed the media landscape, I doubt it's going to stop here.

2005-12-17 23:09:43
7.   Pseudonym
Oh Scott, you're such a comedian.
2005-12-17 23:36:40
8.   Ken Arneson
Well, that's kinda my point, Chris. Whatever makes a good newspaper writer in 1985 isn't exactly what makes a good blogger in 2005, and whatever makes a good blogger in 2005 won't exactly be what makes a good Internet-Thingamabobber in 2025.

I'm not quite saying that the medium is the message, but more that the medium dictates the parameters for success within that medium.

With each new medium, there's a period where you use the metaphors of the previous medium to explain it and use it. The earliest television shows were just filmed radio shows, for example.

We're still in that phase with blogging. Have you seen any blogging business plans that don't look just like newspaper or magazine business plans? Write stuff, attract readers, sell ads. It's the same old metaphor. Unless someone comes up with something different, the MSM is just going to end up absorbing the best blogs/bloggers (see Belth, Alex) because blogs aren't disrupting what the newspapers are trying to do in any way.

Contrast that to something like EBay, which steals customers from newspapers by having a completely different revenue model: they take money not from the ad, but from the transaction. There's no way newspapers can absorb EBay. It's a completely different beast.

I believe there is another way of looking at blogs. I believe there's another metaphor out there, that encapsulates the medium better than the newspaper metaphor, that will take enable us to take full advantage of the capability of blogs.

I don't know exactly what that metaphor is, but I have some ideas, and I plan to take a few whacks at it. It's a period of trial and error, where experimentation is needed. I get a kick out of that. That's why I built this site. It's an exciting time to be involved.

2005-12-18 09:12:22
9.   Daniel Zappala
I agree with Ken somewhat that blogging has the potential to be a very different model than traditional media. The challenge for traditional media right now is that the market is becoming increasingly fragmented, and the audience is becoming sophisticated at gathering what they are interested in from many different sources. So the movie and music industries suffer somewhat because there are more choices, and the newspaper industry suffers because anyone can go on the Internet and pull a personalized newspaper from 10s or 100s of sources. The danger for blogs is that they become just another of 100s of sources, with no single source producing enough of an audience to generate revenue. The upside is that any blog could potentially become popular and capture enough attention to generate revenue. I think what Ken is doing here is the start of something -- banding together writers on a set of blogs to focus community attention. Perhaps one metaphor is the NPR listener-supported model -- we give baseball toaster a monthly or yearly subscription/donation and Ken uses that money to find the best baseball content to serve the audience. Whether this can be done with such granularity or should be expanded to sports as a whole -- and whether people will pay for this type of service is yet to be seen. I'm sure there are other metaphors ... and blogging has reached a point where there are going to be no end to the number of people who try to profit off of it. We're just not there yet.
2005-12-18 09:20:38
10.   Daniel Zappala
I should add that working out the economic side is, in my opinion, the hardest part of developing any new Internet service. I worked quite a bit in the 90's on R&D for multicast and delivering real-time, streaming video (television and videoconferences) over the Internet. Our effort spanned both academia and industry, we got the new services specified, prototyped, and deployed -- but because of the large number of providers and the complexity of their relationships we never figured out how to charge people for the service. Lots of companies use the technology internally, but since no one owns the Internet in the way that the telphone networks were owned from backbone to each household, the stuff is not used by the general public.

Blogging has it easy in comparision -- you don't need agreement among all ISPs. But it is likewise proving to be a difficult job when it requires changing how the average person interacts with an Internet service.

2005-12-18 15:14:37
11.   Will Carroll
I'll go back to blogging in the context of the disruptive technology framework. Thing is, unless Ken is right and a new metaphor is found, it will be integrated into the existing structure precisely because it is not disruptive enough. It's the printed word, sans ink and distribution cost. Words have been words since Og and a chisel found a nice rock.

You could go way out on a Christensonian limb and say that blogs (or the net in general) is a Gutenberg moment where we're all handed our own printing press. Still, we'd need good content or all we have is some fonts and a press. I had a Palm for a while, but it didn't replace scraps of paper for me. Blogs aren't replacing standard media for me.

Where I do think there's a possible disintermediation involving blogs is not with newspapers, but with journalism schools. Everyone thinks they can be the next Glenn Reynolds, Alex Belth, or Peter Gammons and right now, the only gatekeeper is the audience.

There's something a step beyond RSS that I think will be a bigger shift. I just don't know what it is yet.

All that discussion aside, the fact is that content is content. For baseball blogging, at least, I don't see the power of the network beyond economies of scale. I may be in a group with the Toaster sites, but I'm also one click away from every other site in the world.

2005-12-18 16:52:15
12.   Ken Arneson
Just to be clear, by "network" I didn't mean "Toaster" or "SportsBlogs" or "MVN". I meant any set of links that take part in a conversation, wherever they may reside on the Internet.

The key word there is "conversation". Yes, newspapers/magazines have better content than blogs. But blogs aren't just about content, they're about conversations. And not just conversations on a blog, conversations across blogs.

And since blogs are this strange mix of content and conversation, they need to be measured on both accounts.

2005-12-18 17:25:43
13.   chris in illinois
Ooooohhhh.....Christensonian!!!

Well said Will. I still think some form of what we think of as the internet will exist in 2025---things don't change that fast (yet)---but the people to follow us will think of it as dated and strange, kind of like what I think of when I think of 'Ham Radio'.

2005-12-18 18:02:18
14.   TFD
If I may bud in here a little, a couple of points come to mind:

1.) Although I'd never try to speak for him, I think Will is making a distinction between the 'writer' and 'medium'. Ken, to me it sounds like you are talking more about the medium. Whatever happens in the future, good writers/communicators will always be in demand. Always. I read Will's remarks to say, regardless of the platform, the 'talent' just isn't there. (Agree or Disagree? Discuss....:-) )

2.) Ken, have you been reading Jeff Jarvis? Maybe I'm misreading some of your thoughts, but I just don't think that blogs have been that influential in an architectural or content sense. (taking for granted I see the blog paradigm through the lens of sports, politics, and tech so I may be flawed somewhat.) 'mix and conversation'? well, yes and no. there are plenty of the most influential blogs in the sphere that don't have conversations at all, they were simply the first (or nearly) to the medium and as a result have the best real estate/brand name (atrios/instadunce.) And to bring this to the Toaster, is DT really a conversation? if so, how much of that can be attributed to Jon's writing?

There certainly will be a new paradigm at some point, but to address Will's original point, do you really define 'good' by how the will generate content and conversation? I'm not so sure that will be the metric.

3.) "For baseball blogging, I don't see the power of the network beyond economies of scale." I'm not sure what that means really, but if it means defining baseball blogging in business terms I don't even see economies of scale making the space a viable model (in a - - - is there real money to be made here.) You can do all the roll-ups in the world but if the underlying 'catch' isn't there, it doesn't matter how much you leverarge your fixed/semi-fixed costs.

4.) chris - "the blogs have changed the media landscape" for sure, but not in a paradigm/changing way, imho. maybe in 100 years when we are all gone the existing newspaper and TV media business will be gone, but I sincerely doubt it. they'll just be competing for a thinner and thinner slice of the pie. The power of the space that they own collectively is just too large to all of a sudden be irrelevant. (certainly on an individual basis there will be colossal failures and tire fires.)

5.) "Blogs have had very limited financial success because everyone is chasing the same business model as the old media. Blogs need to find their own business model, one that truly takes advantage of the medium. That requires experimentation."

Fascinating, though with all the money and brainpower out there chasing success on the 'net I really can't invision that this is the case.

6.) After writing all of this, the more I think about the issue it really comes down to: How much of a defining space are blogs really? Eh, not so much to me. I mean the auto industry sucks major-wind right now, does anyone see alternative views of transportation making serious inroards to the internal combustion engine anytime soon? Even if there is one, we'll still be driving it on four wheels and between the white lines of the freeway.

God it's late....Great discussion...I need to stop typing now...BTW, no [tear drop] comments?....the more things change....

2005-12-18 18:39:04
15.   Ken Arneson
TFD:

> there are plenty of the most influential blogs in the sphere that don't have conversations at all

I am not talking about conversations as comments on a blog. I am talking about conversations across the blogosphere as a whole. Just because Instapundit doesn't have comments doesn't mean he isn't taking part in the conversation. He's a huge part of the conversation.

> Whatever happens in the future, good writers/communicators will always be in demand.

Yes, and perhaps this is the point: the skill sets will shake themselves out. The writers--pure writers--that Will is looking for don't maximize their skill set in the blogosphere. What I hear when Will says "there aren't 10 good bloggers" is "there aren't 10 good bloggers who shouldn't be blogging, they should be working for a newspaper or magazine instead."

And to that, I have to ask, "So what?" There also aren't 10 good bloggers who should be late-night talk-show hosts, or 10 good bloggers who should be cartoonists, or 10 good bloggers who should be hip-hop artists. If you search the blogosphere for good cartoonists, of course you're going to be disappointed, because that's not what the medium is about. All the good cartoonists work for Pixar or Disney, and that's how it should be.

What we need to figure out is how to create the Pixar of blogging...so that those people who are good at blogging (not just writing) can be rewarded according to their blogging skills, not just their writing skills.

2005-12-18 19:06:01
16.   TFD
>I am not talking about conversations as comments on a blog.....He's a huge part of the conversation.>

I understand that, but if that's the case re: instadunce, how is that different from what the NYT (forgetting the platform of delivery), in all its diminishing ifluence, is? There's not a defining "it" across-the-medium for it to differentiate itself business-wise. No?

Pixar of blogging...I like that.

2005-12-18 19:50:56
17.   Will Carroll
Pixar ... all the best cartoonists work there because they pay well and because they're allowed to do what they do well. Is Ken or Blez or Ruz or Evan a Jobs? Is Pajamas Media or Huffington or Denton a Pixar?

I think the differentiation is going to come when someone - anyone - comes up with a pay model that works. Content is king and follow the money are two truisms that hold across any metaphors.

I'll also powerfully disagree that "blogger" is any different than any content-based medium. The skills that make Buster Olney a must-read "blogger" could also be used in reporting, beat writing, or tv commentating. He has good content and presents it reasonably well. Period. Short of a sea-change in the medium, the feedback loop must first be fed by content in whatever form it might come.

2005-12-18 20:01:18
18.   TFD
Pajamas = Pixar....Funniest thing I've read in years.

(Imagine RLS as Jobs! Omigod that is seriously hilarious.)

2005-12-18 20:04:56
19.   TFD
BTW...Denton = Pixar is about as close as you get.
2005-12-18 20:31:37
20.   Ken Arneson
Well, insta-whatever-you-want-to-call-him responds to other people's blog entries. Bloggers direct the conversation to him, and he moves the conversation elsewhere. He's a two-way street, whereas NYT is more of a one-way street: here's our content.

> the feedback loop must first be fed by content in whatever form it might come.

Of course. But that content doesn't have to be a well-written essay to be successful. It can, but it doesn't have to. Otherwise Instapundit wouldn't be successful with:

link

Heh. Indeed.

2005-12-18 21:06:21
21.   Ken Arneson
I should also point out that just because I disagree with Will about what makes a successful blogger, doesn't mean I disagree with him about what kind of blogs I like to read.

Reality TV is great business (cheap to make, lots of people watch), but personally, I can't stand any of it.

OK, here's some blogs-to-TV analogies:
Denton is Mark Burnett (appealing to our baser instincts.)
Calacanis is Ron Popeil (selling stuff left and right).
Kos is Oprah (we're doing OK, my friends)
Pajamas is Roger Ailes (obvious)

I don't think there is a Pixar, yet.

2005-12-18 21:11:48
22.   deadteddy8
I'm waiting for a baseball blogger (or small team of bloggers) with still/video cameras and lots of energy to provide a first-person multimedia site that offers just as many images, video clips, and sound as text. (Quick story: when I was an undergrad at NYU, I was in a journalism class where the guest lecturer kept making jokes about how the only thing news producers could think of doing with the nightly news was to put an old white guy facing the camera and a box over his shoulder. I raised my hand and asked what the lecturer suggested as an alternative, and he responded, "I don't know. Why don't you come up with something, a###ole?" Yup. 380 other people there to witness.) Podcasts are an exploratory first step, and I think it's a worthy avenue to explore. However, I'm imagining a change in even how those are currently viewed... I think the key is a consistent stream of quality content more than a certain quantity of quality content. So, instead of weekly hourlong "radio shows", how about short pieces every day, either sound or video?... Five minute interviews of random fans at games?... Prominent fans?... Celebrity fans?... Parody songs?... Tribute songs from local bands?... Phone interviews with low-level front office types?... Interns?... Announcers?... Minor leaguers?... Additionally, a good place to experiment might be with a minor league team because of the promotional nature of the business; it might be easier to secure permission to film and provide creative forms of content other than text if one sells it as another promotional outlet for the team, albeit one that could conceivably be critical. The big problem, of course, would be how to make money off of it. I'm convinced that ad-only sites cannot be self-sufficient (behemoths like Yahoo and Google notwithstanding), so, if someone wants to make a living as a blogger, a limited-subscription model is the way to go.
2005-12-18 21:26:37
23.   Will Carroll
Oh god. Video?

Ok, it's a good idea in theory, but it's not a good idea outside of some very rare circumstances. Most people with camcorders do not become Spielberg. It's expensive, both in equipment and time and bandwidth. It's harder than sound and let's face it, most bloggers aren't the pretty talking heads on the news.

Most podcasts SUCK. I mean suck eggs. I have the advantage of a real radio station behind me, though the technology is beginning to catch up and the better podcasters are getting good enough to make that advantage irrelevant.

And bloggers with cameras reminds me of what camcorders disrupted: police, not the Nightly News.

2005-12-18 22:51:04
24.   Ken Arneson
I may be wrong about this, but I kinda look at podcasts and videocasts like videophones: they don't really provide any added value to the less-high-tech experience. Videophones could have been built 50 years ago if there really was some added value value to it, but I don't think there is.

The quick scan is an important part of the blogging experience--you can look at a glance to see if the article interests you--if so, you read it; if not, you move on.

The quick scan is nearly impossible with podcasts. You have to listen to determine if it's gonna be good or not. That, IMO, is a huge barrier.

2005-12-18 23:48:13
25.   deadteddy8
23/24: I'm basing these thoughts on how the equipment and software is getting cheaper and more accessible. My pc laptop that I got four years ago came with a sound editor that is pretty much only limited by the quality of my microphones. How much does a low end handheld digital video camera cost? 300 bucks? I'm envisioning someone with one of those and iMovie putting together quickie local-access type stuff. As y'all point out, success would depend on the quality of ideas. Same with podcasts. Why did Sifl and Ollie succeed? Despite low production value, it's funny.
Blogs are infotainment. As is now, I don't read blogs for hard news. I read them for commentary, and if the commentary isn't entertaining or especially engaging, then there's no way I'll stick with it. I still believe that there are plenty of people who have watched enough TV to know what a properly framed picture looks like, or have the energy to practice and learn how to edit a recorded interview. The key is being creative and diligent enough to keep coming up with fresh content, and/or figuring out how to gather news in a new way, perhaps redefining what exactly is newsworthy. Is what Jill Schmoe in section 138 thinks newsworthy? What about five Jill Schmoes?
As for the skimming issue, that's why I think podcasts and video blogs will move toward shorter and shorter clips that people can listen to in one sitting at their computers. MTV was the catalyst for quicker cuts and different types of editing in commercials and other TV programs (TV for short attention spans), and I think once someone shows how to successfully bring that aesthetic to podcasts and video clip blogs, there will be a sea change.
2005-12-19 00:09:29
26.   Ken Arneson
Along those lines:

http://www.useit.com/alertbox/video.html

2005-12-19 05:34:07
27.   TFD
Ken: My point about the NYT is that they are the conversation starter, part of the started conversation, and conversation enhancer in the off-and-pseudo-online world. Their ability to push the national agenda is legendary. That's what I mean but, "what's the difference?", delivery platform aside.

Ken/Will, I disagree with both of you on feedback/loop/content. Instadunce is a classic example of prime real estate - - he was one of the first ones to the game - - therefore his real estate, as long as his brand is maintained and his content somewhat consistent, will continue to get stronger and stronger. (He tipped a long while back and no matter how hard a 'blog' tries now, you'll never be able to reach the startup-to-mature audience that he does.) After all, why is it that 2 of our most prominent newspapers are on the east coast? Did that have something to do with first?

landgrabs

2005-12-19 12:51:27
28.   bigjonempire
Will,

I think its important to remember that not every blogger wants to write for Sports Illustrated or the New York Post. Most bloggers just have something they want to say and want as many people as possible to hear it. For every blogger that starts a site to make money there are ten that couldn't care less.

Ninety percent of everything is crap and blogs are no different. I'm sure there are ten bloggers you'd find worthy if you looked long and hard enough. The hard part is getting thru the ninety of a hundred you don't like. Thats one reason blog rolls are so popular, it helps the reader find the quality content he's looking for without as much wading thru the crap. I'm willing to bet fifty bucks there are ten blogs you read everyday despite everything you've said.

Something else to consider is the writer who wants to write for a living so must do what it takes to have a successful blog. Writing everyday is essential if you want to make money it doesn't really mean you write your best stuff everyday or even have anything particularly interesting to say. I suspect that if more of this type only wrote when they had something substancial to write about you would be happier with the state of blogging today. How many articles about Ron Villone have you read on Yankee blogs this week? A lot.

2005-12-19 15:19:50
29.   Will Carroll
Bigjon -

Absolutely agree. I think we all start with some sort of dream of being the next whoever we idolize. What isn't negotiable is that we need some sort of feedback. I did a big post on this about a year ago. Feedback can be recognition, money, comments, whatever. Blogs are seldom purely masturbatory. Blogs need some sort of feedback or they stop.

My feedback? Intelligent discussions like this. It's one of few places where a paycheck isn't my motivation.

2005-12-19 15:23:00
30.   Will Carroll
TFD -

Disagree and please stop with the "instadunce." Some have already emailed asking me to explain. Name calling isn't needed.

That said, I disagree on real estate. First mover advantage is something, but it's seldom the only thing. Reynolds (Instapundit -- you know my thing about real names) -- gets near infinite feedback from his linkfloods. His power is in pointing.

Olney is at the edge of being baseball's Instapundit. When he makes his first link to a blog, that will be a tipping point.

2005-12-19 18:41:11
31.   TFD
People say I'm name calling? I'd say I'm surprised, but I shouldn't be. (Hey, that's a theme for this post isn't it? BTW, for those upset, please email me the last intelligent thing that Glenn has written.)

First mover isn't everything surely, but once you have it, and you've tipped to the epidemic, then what you need to do is 1.) maintain marginal content, 2.) maintain brand, 3.) landgrab baby!

The big difference w/Olney and Reynolds is that Olney is behind a wall, Olney actually adds intelligent insight instead of "hey Baseball Reference is up!", and he's institutionalized (ESPN baby). Linking to blogs will only help the blogs, and add some marginal content (reader illumination). My guess is that he doesn't drive enough traffic to really help him tip, per se.

2005-12-19 18:46:35
32.   TFD
Oh yeah, real names. The more things change...
2005-12-20 08:17:07
33.   rockies73
Ten good bloggers. Hmm, on some days I'd have to say that you're overstating it. But, I also have to agree with BigJon that most days, I get bored with 90 blogs that talk about nothing in hopes of finding that one that excites me – and never find that good blog.

I don't pretend to be a great blogger, I'm not doing this to become a sports reporter – did that, realized I could make more money at McD's and moved on. I'm just looking to provide quality content that somebody enjoys. I hate "regurgitation" (or links as others would call them), but I would hold that Clear Channel, Gannett, Time Warner (and the others) have done the same with our local television, radio, and newspaper coverage. We are getting the same message in the name of cost-cutting measures. Now, with blogs, we are starting to see a blurring of the TV/newspaper coverage and that scares me even more.

Another thing that makes it hard to become a respected blogger is what makes you a read blogger is consistency (as again BigJon said) and that consistency coupled with "real-life" often leads to burnout, just at a time when you can least afford it.

Finally, there is no business-model that will allow bloggers to make money, period end of story. When the "big boys" saw the opportunities in blogs they scooped it up and it became mainstream. And when it becomes mainstream, the "big boys" split the pot and the other bloggers get what is left. I do think blogging will be around for a long time (as counter for the large media conglomerates) but it will always be the same "style."

I even think the "quality" will improve statistically (as people realize they can't make money and the time involved for a good blog they will abandon or not undertake a blog at all, hence the good ones rather than being 10 out of 1,000,000 will become 10 out of 500,000.) and quality (only the "good ones" will keep posting).

2005-12-20 10:08:38
34.   Daniel Zappala
So I'm going to go back and contradict what I said previously. There is a convincing line of thinking that says the Internet changes nothing about the "real" world. Copyright law is still copyright law, the Internet just makes it easier to share illegal copies. Phone calls are still phone calls, but the Internet is providing a more efficient and flexible way to place phone calls.

If you buy into this line of reasoning, then the blog is just another way of convenying written material -- content is king, as Will says. The Internet changes the scale and makes it more interactive -- you can write as much as you want, you can accommodate a ton of "letters to the editor", and the conversations that take place among "letter writers" take place on the scale of minutes instead of weeks or months. Anyone can write a blog, but in the "real" world anyone can write a pamphlet and distribute it to his neighbors; we have a kook in our neighborhood who actually does this 4 or 5 times a year.

I'll admit this is a convincing point of view, and one I've seen right more times than not over the past decade and a half. More likely than not, those who want to make a living at blogging will end up working for mainstream media as they figure out how to embrace the Internet. I believe this was Will's original point.

2005-12-21 20:32:46
35.   onetimer
Wait...

This was a parody of Will, right?

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