Blogs and Bucks
Scott Johnson is skeptical that people will pay Technorati to find links to their weblogs, because "Right now it's damn hard to get people to spend additional $$$ on something that they aren't making $$$ from. (For 99.9934367% of us, blogging is a labor of love)."
I think that almost everyone underestimates the weblog economy. It's true that few people write their weblogs for a salary. But almost nobody makes real money from writing books, and obviously all sorts of important, busy people write them. Weblogs are an important professional tool.
The indirect rewards of weblogs are substantial, and many of the people who write successful weblogs have a fairly evident professional stake. Software developers -- Dave Winer, Dan Bricklin, Mitch Kapor, me -- rely on weblogs to explain new product ideas and to learn what people really need. Journalists and political operatives -- Gillmor, Steve Johnson, Joshua Micah Mitchell -- use them to raise awareness, promote discussion, and recruit support. Consultants write weblogs to demonstrate their expertise and their judgment: Scott Johnson's weblog generates lots of attention, as do Jakob Nielsen's, Peter Merholz's, and Jeff Zeldman's. Scholars and researchers like Mortensen, Miles, Fagerjord, and Lester use weblogs to do their work -- the dissemination of knowledge and the instruction of the young -- and to enhance their reputation and promote their field.
What often misleads people into thinking that weblogs are games is the preponderance of webloggers who take seriously Robert Frost's invocation (from Two Tramps In Mudtime):
But yield who will to their separation,
My object in living is to unite
My avocation and my vocation
As my two eyes make one in sight.
Only where love and need are one,
And the work is play for mortal stakes,
Is the deed ever really done