Thursday, September 09, 2004

Blogs go Legit, Again

The evidence continues to grow that blogging is evolving into more than a disconnected world of informal discussion. yesterday published Net Notes: Companies turn to blogs to track buzz, in which reporter Michael Bazeley explored how blogs are now being used by companies to more effectively tune into their respective markets.

It also touches on the whole pay-no-pay discussion that's made the rounds in recent weeks. I initially wrote about it here last month. To make a long story short, would you trust what you read in a blog if you knew the writer was being paid? Does commercial gain necessarily compromise editorial bias? Will any move toward increased commercialization of this medium fundamentally change the way it works?

Lots of food for thought here. As Linda Richman would say, "Discuss."

1 comment:

carmilevy said...

Very good point. I face that conundrum every time I write for a newspaper or other commercial medium, and I don't think the issue will ever move away from the varying shades of grey that exemplify its existence.

To the credit of the media outlets with which I've been associated, I've never been asked to slant my coverage one way or the other. The Chinese Wall has always been unbreached. Indeed, the only paper that ever had the temerity to have its reporters write so-called "advertorials" doesn't even appear on my resume any more. I refused outright, then quit before my journalistic integrity was dashed forever.

It's a fine balance, because something and/or someone has to pay the bills to keep free speech operating. And even then, it's not completely free. I have to watch what I say because I post under my own name, and anyone - a reader, an editor, a prospective purchaser of my work - can surf on in and determine that I'm either really good at this writing thing, or a total idiot.

I am, of course, banking on the fact that my blog is sufficiently entertaining and worthwhile to garner a positive opinion, but you never really know. Building that kind of trust relationship takes time, and forces us to toe a certain kind of line. This applies regardless of the site's degree of commercialization.

Decisions, decisions. Regardless of what we decide to do, it's wonderful to live in a part of the world where we still have the right to choose.