A vast and diffuse cocktail party

Clay Shirky raises an interesting discussion about weblogs and the mass amateurization of publishing. Personally, I think it’s about time people were able to express themselves so publicly and globally without having to publish in the traditional sense. Discussing the problem of making money from blogs, Shirky says, ‘we want a world where global publishing is effortless … However, when we get that world we face the paradox of oxygen and gold. Oxygen is more vital to human life than gold, but because air is abundant, oxygen is free. Weblogs make writing as abundant as air, with the same effect on price’.
He then goes on to talk about the vast majority of blogs which are amateur. As he says, people who use blogs to publish globally for no cost, do it for the love of the thing. This is the case with educators who have realised the limitless potential of sharing knowledge and ideas. These types of blogs, according to Shirky, ‘are becoming a vast and diffuse cocktail party, where most address not “the masses” but a small circle of readers, usually friends and colleagues. I agree with Shirky that these bloggers are not seeking monetary compensation, but participating in this social community of free and global expression is its own reward. Interesting image, the cocktail party.

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