John Dvorak on blogging:
So now we have the emergence of the professional blogger working for large media conglomerates and spewing the same measured news and opinions we've always had — except for fake edginess, which suggests some sort of independent, counterculture, free-thinking observers. But who signs the checks? The faux blog will replace the old personality columns that were once the rage in newspaperdom. Can you spell retro? These are not the hard-hitting independent voices we were promised. They are just a new breed of columnist with a gimmick and a stern corporate editor.
This trend is solid. A look at Columbia Journalism Review's recent listing of traditional-media blogs shows everyone getting into the act: ABC News, FOX, National Review, The New Republic, The Christian Science Monitor, The Boston Globe, The Wall Street Journal, and so on. The blogging boosters, meanwhile, are rooting like high-school cheerleaders over this development. To them, it's some sort of affirmation. In fact, it's a death sentence. The onerous Big Media incursion marks the beginning of the end for blogging. Can you spell co-opted?
I find it fascinating that so many old-media folks (and for all his tech savvy, that's what Dvorak is) are suddenly touting the Perseus blog study (the one that says half of blogs are abandoned, etc) as something significant or telling about the "future" of blogging. How many blogs does it really take for a successful "revolution?" And what the heck is Dvorak really getting at with his comparisons to the "personal computer" revolution? We could only hope blogging might be so successful.
What do I mean? I mean this: as Dvorak pointed out, IBM's entry into the PC world in the early 1980s provided some sort of "validation" to the "revolution." Did anyone really expect that a "revolution" would result in the old guard tossed to the side of the road and a whole new host of folks in charge? This form of "revolution" is more subtle: IBM is still a player, but it had to reinvent itself several times in order to stay relevant. Microsoft, Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Dell, and a whole bunch of new players did assume significant roles in the "new world" of personal computing.
The introduction of the car, the telephone, the electric lightbulb, the radio, the television, and all sorts of other "technological" revolutions featured similar realities: old players who managed to adjust to the new environment, some who didn't, and new players who excel in the altered playing field.