blogs versus mainstream media

I've been reading Whiskey Bar's recent “Davos Discovers the Blogs” post and I realized a couple of things.

First, that I have hardly looked at mainstream media sites for a couple of months. If I am reading online, I am usually reading a blog. I have quite a few subscriptions to sites like Salon that I might have to cancel, because I am simply not using them often enough.

Second, that I must be missing something important about blogs. Billmon writes, “I can't shake the suspicion that the golden age of blogging is almost over -- that the corporate machine is about to swallow it, digest it, and regurgitate it as bland, non-threatening pablum. Our brief Summer of Love may be nearing an end.“

I wonder what the goal of most bloggers is. Personally, I mostly hope one day to use my blog to communicate with a fairly small audience - the same people I talk to in the course of my usual business life. Let's say in the course of a year I communicate face-to-face or over the phone with a couple of hundred people. They will mostly be customers, partners, and colleagues (and a few competitors). Rather than only communicate with these people sporadically, a blog allows me to have an ongoing conversation with them throughout the year. I can share with them things I find intereting, new developments in my field of expertise, and invite them to discuss these subjects with me online. As Buzz Bruggeman always says, “Markets are conversations”.

Do I feel the need to post every day? No. With the advent of RSS aggregators, it's easy enough for someone who has subscribed to my feed to know when I have posted something.

Do I feel compelled to take a course in professional journalism? No. I write the same way that I talk (for better or worse).

Do I want to become a media baron a la Scoble and have tens of thousands of people reading my blog every day? No. Hey, I'll be the first person to admit my ego could use the boost, and I'd love to feel important to the masses, but that's not the goal of my blog (at the moment anyway). You can't be intelligent, good looking AND popular - I'm sure that's a law of physics.

And most of the blogs that I read aren't threatening any media empires either. They are specific. They are passionate. They are informed. They are opinionated. They are written by people who I admire for the way they think. And I can't see them stopping.