Truepeers on blogs

Wednesday, January 03, 2007
There are exceedingly few individual bloggers with the talent and/or drive to make it worthwhile reading them on a daily basis (and then if you don't go daily it is hard to find the good stuff when you want to read them...). There are some who manage to scrounge what I imagine to be rather few bucks from their readers; but only the true missionaries will keep going year after year unless people stop taking the internet and all the free stuff on it for granted; i see few signs that many will and suspect that a lot of people who spend a lot of time on the net are on relatively tight budgets to start.

So there must be a place for group blogs that can be great while demanding less of the indivudal writer. But I think the idea that there is greatness to be found in some non-traditional, intelligent amateur conversation has its limits. One's freedom is always limited by others' use of their freedom and the intelligent and concerted drawing of these limits is part of any successful enterprise in amateur or th a general sense of a shared purpose is able to adapt and evolve a founding covenant or purpose to the various trials and debates of a shared public life and history. A periodic accounting, through democratic means open to the participation of writers and funders (and the more one gives, the more say one should have, up to a point where democracy is preserved), would create long-term interests, famous and ongoing "historical" conflicts, and loyalties in a way that an undisciplined blog cannot provide. (Take, for analogy, a school where competing camps and ideologies fight over the years, all the while keeping together as a whole from fear of hanging separately with few funds).

Blogs should provide their readers and writers with some kind of ownership stake (whose value can rise and fall with the blog's appeal wither to advertisers, or to readers wanting to have their voice or vote valued). There should be some way to reward the more popular writers with more space and attention. A blog that sees its space as a limitless resource abuses the reality that our readers have limited time, as it buries the good stuff in the not-so-good stuff.

I expect over time that winning formulae for blogs will develop through experimentation with penny stocks of various kinds for readers and corresponding rewards for writers Even when the financial stakes are very small, formal ownership creates interest. But, of course, it only works if bloggers really want to compete for readers and not live with vaguely utopian notions that this is not somehow necessary. Such competition can engender a creative tension, a productive paradox: when you address yourself to readers, and do not simply follow your own blogging heart, you must learn how better to perform for others, but at the risk of compromising your interest to readers who always want to know what really moves someone else for what he or she is. People still want authors and distinctive authorial voices and yet most poeple, i imagine, don't want to read blogs where people are just doing whatever.
This is another comment on the subject of blogs lifted from the comments section of Meaningless Hot Air's post on blogs, An Army of me and a couple of my Friends .


Seneca the Younger said...

Thanks, Terrye; I was going to get to this but the day job has me busy.

terrye said...

Yeah, that working for a living is a drap isn't it?