Following up on Rayne’s previous post and filchyboy’s addendum, my sense is that while Billmon is clearly thoughtful and a great writer, he makes the same mistake Klam made in the Times magazine cover story, which is to view the A-list, top-of-the-power-law bloggers for the whole shmear.
Of course some will cross over and sell out. Of course the “golden age” will end and blogging will be assimilated (although I’ve long been amused by the way Internet denizens can wax nostalgic for, say, six months ago). I remember when it happened to the web in the mid ’90s. Everyone said the independent, funky, arts sites would disappear because they couldn’t compete with Yahoo, et al.
Well, maybe they were eclipsed, harder to find for newcomers etc., but generally it’s just as easy now to host a funky cool website as it was a decade ago.
There is too much emphasis on mass success and not enough on the culture of collaborative media filtering and blogs that David Weinberger calls the tail of the power curve:
Thus, the tail of the power curve – which is probably at least 5 million blogs long – gets erased. In fact, the tail is where blog are having their most important effects. That’s where self and community, public and private, owned and shared are re-drawing their boundaries.