Monday, December 09, 2002
Blogging for Fun and Profit: I don't mean to make this a manifesto, but this is worth any blogger's (or reader's) thoughts. It's certainly important to have independent voices of commentary, but blogging for pay has some establishment-media characteristics about it. I don't mean to accuse Sullivan of hubris, and I do read him often, but he's not indispensible. Anyway, isn't that the point? If you can't afford to keep blogging, that's too bad. One less voice is a loss. If you want to make it a straight-up business model (and an ineffective model, viz Salon Premium), do so -- and let everyone make a cost-benefit decision of whether your site is worth the vig. At this point, strictly as an economic matter, I read the NYT, the Post, and various other old media for free. Why shouldn't their critics be free, too? (I do pay for the WSJ, but that is the one indispensible old media publication, the conservative voice that, right or wrong, sets the dialogue.) I often agree with Sullivan (and Radley, and Reynolds, and Kaus, etc.). And I don't suffer from low self-esteem, so I don't fear that, without them, I'm adrift in a sea of spin. I'm here writing with the rest (albeit with fewer hits) and I've beat some of the big boys to the unconventional wisdom once or twice. And being first into the breach on a particular piece of spin doesn't necessarily mean anything, except that maybe my Atlantic Monthly arrived before yours, or whatever. Point is, I should pay for Sullivan because he's better than the rest, and this has not been demonstrated to my satisfaction.