this space for rant
I've just finished reading an excellent piece by Jen over at MUBAR about the business of blogging. And what a business it has become, indeed. I've had my own thoughts stewing about this issue for awhile.
We all know about the increasing presence of ads in blogs, and we all also might know about the debate around certain bigger bloggers posting ads on their sites. I don't even want to get into a long discussion of that here, because actually for the most part I take no issue with those bloggers for making that choice. I recognize how wonderful it could be for some bloggers to make a business out of blogging. In fact, I can appreciate the ways in which those ads are shown: up front and very obviously. There's no pretending those blogs are not receiving ad dollars, (wheras the looming presence of advertorials makes my stomach turn).
What I take issue with is not necessarily the intent of the ad world, but rather the intent of blogging for fame. It seems like it's become a slippery slope from blog popularity to narcissism. And this state of constant need for popularity is rooted on by companies like Technorati and Sitemeter and Blog Shares. It's a world in which links and comments become ads themselves. It's the same world of obsessing about how many links you have, who links to you (and who doesn't), how many hits you get, and on and bloody on. What is problematic, of course, is when there is more focus put on linkage and less on content. I'm no stranger to this obsession myself, and I need to let it go.
The new economics of blogging means you hold up your words as product and look for the best buyer. And we continue to push for bigger and better buyers, damnit.
Before I get a bunch of comments saying "but hey, what's wrong with being a popular blogger?" I'm not saying that popular blogs are bad. I'm not even saying that we should do away with advertising on blogs, per se. What I am saying, rather, is that the blogging world (and the "mommy blogging" world in particular, I think) could do with some reality checks in this regard. We need to shine a very strong light on the fact that these popularity contests take the focus away from the actual "product" of a blog and more towards pleasing a "buyer", or "buyers". The whole idea of blogging to please or blogging for links is disturbing at the very least.