Bloggers are either: a) foolish amateurs who abandon their blogs, or b) professsional writers who con the former.
So says John Dvorak (link), who, if I remember correctly, once praised blogging as “the next thing.”
I did remember correctly. (More or less….) Here’s the link.
Well that was then, and this is now:

Writing is tiresome. Why anyone would do it voluntarily on a blog mystifies a lot of professional writers. This is compounded by a lack of feedback, positive or otherwise. Perseus thinks that most blogs have an audience of about 12 readers. Leaflets posted on the corkboard at Albertsons attract a larger readership than many blogs. Some people must feel the futility.
The problem is further compounded by professional writers who promote blogging, with the thought that they are increasing their own readership. It’s no coincidence that the most-read blogs are created by professional writers. They have essentially suckered thousands of newbies, mavens, and just plain folk into blogging, solely to get return links in the form of the blogrolls and citations. This is, in fact, a remarkably slick grassroots marketing scheme that is in many ways awesome, albeit insincere.
Unfortunately, at some point, people will realize they’ve been used. This will happen sooner rather than later, since many mainstream publishers now see the opportunity for exploitation. Thus you find professionally written and edited faux blogs appearing on MSNBC’s site, the Washington Post site, and elsewhere. This seems to be where blogging is headed?Big Media. So much for the independent thinking and reporting that are supposed to earmark blog journalism.

OK, folks, which is it? Am I a “professional writer” or am I “being used”?
That’s a pretty tough question, but I’ll do my best to answer it.
I am a licensed attorney, but because I dislike litigation and live in a state where I am not licensed, I don’t practice much law. I suppose that when I did practice law, because that included lots of writing and because I was paid, I was in that sense a “paid” writer. But I have never been published, and I have never been paid just for writing.
I guess that means I am being used by a bunch of sneaky professional writers out there. I’ll be ground up and thrown overboard any time now. Meanwhile, the covert professionals will sign deals with (gulp) “Big Media.”

To them, it’s some sort of affirmation. In fact, it’s a death sentence. The onerous Big Media incursion marks the beginning of the end for blogging. Can you spell co-opted?

Maybe Dvorak means, can I smell it? Sure, I’d be afraid to smell co-opted. That’s why I’d be scared to death if someone hired me. I’d be afraid of my fellow bloggers, because I’d like to think they’d call me on it if I “sold out.” If they did, and if I were unable to overcome my stench, that would be the “death sentence” of my credibility. But I could still blog. As long as this remains a free country with an intact First Amendment, any asshole can say anything he wants. Including Dvorak, whose sentences are indeed deathening.
Dvorak forgets something about this type of writing — and that something is one of my favorite aspects of blogging. It’s called linking.
These analysts of the blogosphere think that linking is little more than mutual masturbation — something along the lines of “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours!” While there is a certain aspect of that, that is only part of linking.
For me, linking is the most liberating form of writing I have ever discovered, because it is three dimensional writing. The old flat style — books, essays, manuscripts — simply would never allow me to express complex thoughts, thoughts reflecting each other, underlying assumptions, twists on words, historical backgrounds and definitions of concepts in such a precise and exciting manner. In the old days, I would have had to use parentheses, brackets, and footnotes. Today, a link serves all these purposes and more.
Let me give an example. I might want to mention Nathan Bedford Forrest. The man was a brilliant general, slave dealer and breeder, founder of the Ku Klux Klan, and genuine political statesman of real courage. I can link to each one of those aspects of the man’s personality and accomplishments — good or bad — by supplying links to the relevant words, and then leave it up to you readers to decide whether to bother reading about the details. (I could slant my writing accordingly, depending on what links I select.)
I can link to whatever aspect of the text happens to strike my fancy, and depending on the knowledge levels or interest of my readers, they can click or not click. Most readers would know, for example, who Nathan Bedford Forrest was, but not as many know about the Ft. Pillow Massacre. Fewer still would know that there are a number of competing historical views of this man.
In case any readers were upset by the Ramsey Clark portrayal, read this!
Bear in mind that Nathan Bedford Forrest was just an example, plucked at random. (Well, almost at random.)
Three dimensional writing is marvelous. There really isn’t any other place I can do this. No books can do it, either.
Dvorak (whose name has become a noun meaning cyber-bigotry) must live in two dimensions.
Why does this remind me of conventional politics?