Discuss the claim that Clay Shirky makes in ‘Weblogs and the Mass Amateurization of Publishing’ that the Web and Weblogs have made publishing a “financially worthless activity”? What do you think?
Technically, I agree with the notion that blogging can be a financially worthless activity. I also concur with Shirky’s (2002) statement that “…weblogs ensure that the few people who earn anything from their weblogs will make their money indirectly” (para. 1).
In order to make such activity viable, some of Kelly’s (2008) and Anderson’s (2004) notions also come into play here. If one can ensure their blog has “generative value” (Kelly, 2008, para. 11), or takes advantage of as many parts of “the long tail” (Anderson, 2004, para. 27) as possible, such indirect monetary profit can be made.
But, I would also argue that while blogging can be considered financially worthless, there are those who are of the opinion that money is not of great import – that in a monetised world, some find the act of blogging worth much more than money. Despite Shirky’s correct observations, he ends on a positive note and asserts that the mass amateurisation to be found in weblogs also “…points to a world where participating in the conversation is its own reward” (2002, para. 14).
Anderson, C. (2004, October). The Long Tail. Wired. Retrieved from http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/12.10/tail.html
Kelly, K. (2008, May 25). Better Than Free [Blog message]. Retrieved from Edge website: http://edge.org/conversation/better-than-free
Shirky, C. (2002, October 3). Weblogs and the Mass Amateurization of Publishing [Blog message]. Retrieved from the Clay Shirky’s Writings About the Internet website: http://shirky.com/writings/weblogs_publishing.html