You Didn't Expect the Blogosphere to Last Forever, Did You?
John Hawkins argues persuasively that it's not the same blogosphere today that it was TEN YEARS ago -- it is now much more difficult for an independent blogger to compete and get noticed. He offers a path to success in spite of this:
Bloggers have asked me: So what’s the strategy to deal with this?
Really, it’s simple: Get big or go home.
Find a way to dramatically increase the size of your blog, expand into multiple websites that together are big, hook up with someone who’s already big, or accept that there isn’t much of a future in a small, niche market for you. Maybe that sounds a little grim, but unless something changes, independent conservative bloggers who haven’t already made it big don’t have a bright future.
The cultural institutions of the day are merely reactions to the technology of the time. Our medium - the Wordpress-style blog - is only a reaction to the technology level we're at right now which enables it. (Or rather, the technology of several years ago which is only now starting to get particularly cheap and widespread.)
I would argue to John that his thesis is correct but that it's not just the independent conservative blogosphere -- it's the nature of the medium as a whole. Blogging is now a medium that is more than a decade old. And new technology will prompt new mediums which will supersede it. Yes, sooner than we imagined it will be bloggers who will accurately be described as "dinosaur media."
What do you expect to happen to blogging as computers continue to get smaller, faster, and cheaper? How about as computers start to more and more resemble the iPad and smart phones? An internet you touch with your fingers on a screen is innately different than one you click around with a mouse.
Perhaps the more important debate that John's column should provoke is this: are we bloggers or are we New Media professionals? Being a part of New Media does not mean being permanently hunched over a WordPress dashboard. It means being perpetually on the edge of New developments within Media technologies. Those who can figure out how to use and create the new technologies of the future will be the ones who can use them most effectively to shape our world.