Monday, February 20, 2006


Glenn Reynolds has a good commentary on the future blogging and whether it will keep its amateur character. I agree that the majority of the blogosphere will keep its amateur status. I don't believe this analysis is shocking. I do see a difference between the blogosphere and the tools that drive its growth.

I believe the same tools will enter mainstream media and change the manner in which they conduct their businesses. While I see newspaper revenues continuing their spiral downward, I don't believe this means the end to this industry. Its overall market size will be permanently shrunken, but I'm guessing the long-term survivors will have embraced the interactivity and features that the blogosphere takes for granted today. This will help to stop the bleeding and stabilize the newspaper industry for the future.

No argument there. But although worries about blog-commercialization aren't new, there seem to be more of them lately. Still, I don't think there's much danger of the blogosphere losing its fundamentally amateur character. In fact, I think it's pretty much certain to stay an overwhelmingly amateur activity, even if a lot more people make money off of it than are doing so now.

Making money off a blog requires a lot of traffic, and no matter how much the blogosphere grows, most blogs won't have a lot of traffic, as Clay Shirky persuasively demonstrated a while back. Shirky observed that blogs, like many other things, follow a power-law distribution in terms of links and traffic, with a small number getting most of the links and traffic, and a much larger number getting much less of either. This was, he argued, essentially a function of attention economics. (I've written on that subject here).
(full post)

Related link from this post: "How to Almost Live on Blogging"

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