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A Golden Era of Blogging

Matt has an interesting post titled: “Today’s YouTubers are repeating the mistakes of yesterday’s bloggers”. While I’m not super into the YouTube scene, his observations sound right from where I sit.

He points out how some of the YouTube creators he loves and follows are beginning to squander the craft of their work, the very thing that brought them followers in the first place, in order to chase percentage points of revenue doled about by the mysterious mechanisms of the YouTube payroll. It’s a scenario, he suggests, we’ve seen play out before:

It reminds me a lot of how blogging changed around 2005-2009, when ad money came pouring in, and while it was great for bloggers that previously were just publishing for the heck of it (myself included), eventually the money tainted the process as many people rushed to improve their bottom line, often at the expense of whole reason they created their sites.

And what was the outcome of this shift?

Eventually, the blogging ad market changed so much that if you were consistently making money with blogging your site had to morph and change drastically to fit the needs of advertisers, not your readers. And you tend to lose lots of readers in the process, as your site strays so far from its original intentions.

Platforms are like Rumpelstiltskin: they promise to spin you some gold, but in the end demand your first-born child.

One thing I love about the blogging world right now — and by “world” I mean the “webdev tech blogging world” that I live in — is that there are very few, if any, substantial monetary incentives. All the incentives to make a living producing content are over on other platforms, which means those who are blogging are doing it out of love, passion, or some other reason that’s (yet) to be tainted by substantial outside influence. As Matt says:

obsessing over how to eeek out every last cent from your work will make your work suffer.

On one hand, I’d love to see people get paid for their writing. On the other hand, it’s awfully hard to not let money change motivations — and I love seeing what people write about when monetary influence is negligible.

Love, passion, and curiosity — more than money — fuel the majority of posts that show up in my RSS feed every day and I love it.

Forget the days of Google Reader, now is a golden era of blogging.