Monday, September 27, 2004
Blogging has sold out and nobody told me
There’s a fascinating essay in yesterday’s Los Angeles Times about how a group of scientists are searching for the reasons blogs are on the verge of extinction. It seems that they were once vibrant, snarky, and unpredictable, but now their “spontaneous eruption of populist creativity is on the verge of being absorbed by the media-industrial complex it claims to despise.” As a result of losing their evolutionary niche, some scientists say, blogs are being increasingly eaten by corporate megaconglomerates. But as they fail to reproduce their own kind, some of their features are being absorbed by Enantiornithes, a fairly diverse group of mass-media blogs, mostly political journals; Hesperornithiformes, toothless mass-media blogs which are chiefly apolitical diaries; and the toothed Ichthyornithiformes, salacious sex blogs whose authors probably feed on fish.
According to one researcher, the “commercialization” of blogs’ “culture of dissent” has recently reached the point at which “media steer readers toward the top blogs,” and “the temptation to sell out to the highest bidder could become irresistible.”
OK, I knew I was coming to the party two or three years too late, well after most of the cool kids had left and the best hors d’oeuvres were gone, and believe me, I’ve had my moments of thinking, “man, Kurt and I put that blüsparx website together in the summer of 2002, why didn’t we convert it to a blog then? I could’ve had my rumpled shirts and my cans of Genny Cream Ale profiled in the New York Times Magazine by now.” God knows I’ve tried to make up for that profound sociocultural mistake by pointing out repeatedly, to all who would listen and many who would not, that twenty years ago I liked Hüsker Dü before they sold out by signing that megadeal with TimeWarner in 1989 and agreeing to tour as Michael Bolton’s backing band.
But hell, if we’re already on the verge of extinction, that’s OK so long as there’s money involved. I therefore declare myself ready to be tempted by the highest bidder. So, Mr. or Ms. Highest Bidder, sir or ma’am, please identify yourself as soon as possible, since I have only recently learned that Blogshares is merely a “pretend” stock market, and that this blog is not actually worth $63,660.08 in real money. Thanks!