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Sunday, September 26, 2004

Billmon speaks

Blogger Billmon, who is taking a break from his Whiskey Bar, has an op-ed in today's Los Angeles Times that partly explains his absence.

In short, Billmon is worried about the commodification of blogging and the loss of grassroots passion:
Recently, however, I've watched the commercialization of this culture of dissent with growing unease. When I recently decided to take a long break from blogging, it was for a mix of personal and philosophical reasons. But the direction the blogosphere is going makes me wonder whether I'll ever go back.

Even as it collectively achieves celebrity status for its anti-establishment views, blogging is already being domesticated by its success. What began as a spontaneous eruption of populist creativity is on the verge of being absorbed by the media-industrial complex it claims to despise.

In the process, a charmed circle of bloggers — those glib enough and ideologically safe enough to fit within the conventional media punditocracy — is gaining larger audiences and greater influence. But the passion and energy that made blogging such a potent alternative to the corporate-owned media are in danger of being lost, or driven back to the outer fringes of the Internet.
It figures that I would see this just moments after asking readers whether I should try to turn the past year's blogging into a book.

Of course, I'm an academic, so I'm used to the idea that no one reads my publications. So I blog because about 90 internet users are showing up daily to read what I write in this space. My interest in writing a new book is in finding a few additional readers and producing something lasting that can rest on my Dad's bookshelf.

Plus, I promise to try to maintain my passion and do not anticipate turning this blog into a billboard for ads.

Now, would I show up for a book tour appearance on The Daily Show? Hmmm...

Update: The New York Times also had a lengthy piece on blogging today. Skippy isn't happy about being overlooked in these pieces...but is delighted about being the 39th most influential blogger.

By the blogstreet index, this blog is #13045 (out of 141,300). Hey, Mom, I'm in the top 10%!

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