August 1, 2005

Blogosphere hemispheres.

The Anchoress worries about the blogosphere splitting.


AJ Lynch said...

From the standpoint of one who consumes blogworks (is that a word?), the hemispheres issue is not meaningful to me. I'll find blogworks I like no matter who is running the ads and no matter the blog's affiliation.

Just like NFL football fans don't care which network is televising their favorite games, the fan simply goes out and finds it on ..NBC, CBS, ESPN, etc.

Granted there is a bit of camarderie today amongs bloggers, but like the early bootleggers or the first adventurers to offer commercial airplane service, that feeling of brotherhood will gradually decline as the industry matures and competition for eyeballs grows.

Ann Althouse said...

AJ: I agree that it doesn't matter from the readers' perspective. There is a danger of the bloggers themselves becoming antagonistic toward each other if some become "management" and take on a corporate mentality.

Ron said...

I worry that somehow the blogosphere will go from genuine discussion and conflict (say, between left and right) to a kind of kabuki play of collegial "fighting," without the intensity and passion. Do we really need the internet version of the WWF?

Aaron - Free Will said...

...a kind of kabuki play of collegial "fighting," without the intensity and passion. Do we really need the internet version of the WWF?

...Or the MSM, for that matter. That's my great concern: Bloggers who sell on a sponsorship model are, in a way, selling stock in their credibility and reputation. Some part of that falls away in the PJM model, almost reversed. The "rock star" atmosphere (if I may) that comes with being independent is part of what gives bloggers impetus and drive. Losing that is a serious issue.

bill said...

As a reader of many of these blogs, here’s what I’m seeing.

Based on Ann’s attempted conversations the PM people seem to be practicing the same lack of transparency they lambast the MSM for. Why can’t Ann get her simple questions answered? There’s apparently a lot of money involved - whose money and do they have an agenda other than making a profit?

As a reader I’d like to know what constraints, if any, PM puts on the blogger. Can they blog against the advertisers? Are they free to complain about PM, itself? How much control over your blog are you willing to concede for how much money? Sounds like the old punchline “we’ve already established what you are, now we’re just negogiating the price.”

It seems that potential bloggers and readers are being asked to trust in the good intentions of the PM project because the people involved are good people. One, we don’t know all the people involved. Two, take Charles and Roger for example, reading their blogs is not the same as knowing them. Agreeing with them occasionally or frequently or not at all means nothing when asked to enter into a business relationship with them.

I’d hate to throw out the old punk rock trope of “sellout,” but there does seem to be a scent of “time to cash in.” Partly the PM pitch is one of insecurity - see, we’re just as important as all these dead tree guys; join us and you won’t be ignored. Some of this is also reminding me of the gold rush. Lots of people went to California to make money and the easiest way to make money was not to mine for gold, but to make money off the miners.

Will PM ads affect who I read? No, blogs are only a piece of the information puzzle. I am concerned that while Ann’s questions seemed reasonable, some people are acting like a rabid raccoon backed into a corner. Openness and transparency, guys...that’s how you’re supposed to be different.

Ron said...

bill: but doesn't money enter the picture at some point for nearly everything people do? Including punk! It's how we make our peace with the fishmongers among us, (go ahead, say that out loud!) that determines if we still keep the coolness or we go the way of Liz Phair...the lack of transparency bothers me also, and that's why I stand by Ann's arguments.

bill said...

Ron - oh, I'm all for money, nothing wrong with that. Absolutely nothing wrong with cashing in, though I do find it interesting how easily some of these guys have no problem ceding some amount of control to Pajamas Media.

A band making money and becoming popular isn't selling out; if the label makes them play different songs, dump the drummer, and wear sequins, then that's selling out.

Sigivald said...

First, the blogosphere splits.

Then those blogospheres split.

And soon, they destroy us all.