Blogs are free enterprise capitalist expressions of communication

The day when the number of blogs equals the number of people in the US cannot be too far. Mainstream media, activist groups, corporations, and countless numbers of individuals and entities, are evaluating this medium trying to make the most out of it before (too) late. It's a blog-rush out there!

Following, let us take a look at some of the comparative-, and intrinsic-success factors for the blogs.

Arguably, the newsgroup is the predecessor of the blog. Newsgroups are still very popular forms of individual expression within the larger context of social-networks. So, everything we've come to know about social networks applies to newsgroups. On the advantages side, newsgroups enjoy the network effects/externality: the value of the newsgroup, to each one of its members, is the square of the number of members. On the costs side, newsgroups suffer from the tragedy of commons: rationally or not, each member of the newsgroup tries to maximize her own gain/utility function, which, at the limit, occurs when that member makes no contribution to the newsgroup. Things can get even worse when a newsgroup member's contribution is to flame the group--post a message that in essence destroys value for the other members of the group. Flaming has been addressed relatively well by introducing editorship/mediators. So, edited/moderated newsgroups tend to be of more value for their members. Also on the costs side, newsgroup membership comes usually on the cost of an email account, and requires the skills to handle email and a web browser.

Blogs could possibly be extended to embrace all characteristics of newsgroups while enjoying its own strengths as well. A blog could have more contributors besides its owner, and comes for about the same skill/fee prerequisites of newsgroups. Unlike a newsgroup, blogs are open to everybody to see, but not necessarily to comment. It is the intrinsic features/strengths blogs have that may address the costs associated with newsgroups. A blog's owner is the default editor of the blog, so blogs could become moderated fora. Then, a blog enables its owner(s) to build a mix of financial and moral capital, and it also allows its owner(s) to draw against the same capital. Let us examine the power of this statement: a blog allows you and me to build brand equity around our names/skill sets, monetize the equity we built, and it even provides the mechanics of using some of the capital we created. One can see how the blog solves a great deal of the tragedy of commons problem--through an old CATO Institute-like recipe, privatization. Thus, the title of my posting...


How do I know where to go for my questions? Possible solutions: emerging hierarchies, blog-aggregators, co-optation by newspapers, Darwinian selection, directories, word of mouth, search-engine rankings...

Growth Scenarios:

For most of us, blogs will be just another way to store digitally our trivia. For as long as key-word advertising is the major game in the advertising world,nothing targets an ad better than a text-search. This means I'll be able to save my daughter's graduation pictures as a service provided to me by, let us say, Google. As another category, we'll witness the emergence of independent online anchors--not all talented people (can) fit in the newsrooms of the world. And, a third category could well be the ad-hoc reporters in some sore spot on the planet.

Thank you for your comments, and happy blogging!

1 comment:

fCh said...

Blogs as preambles to conversation...

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