One reason we might see a resurgence of blogs is the novelty. Tell someone you’re starting a new newsletter and they might complain about how many newsletters (or podcasts) they already subscribe to. But tell them you’re launching a blog and see how that goes: Huh. Really, a blog? In 2020? Wow.
That’s a wrong incentive to “start a blog”. I’d say the real reason to start one is to have unfiltered opinion. Many virtual human interaction happens on mediums users don’t control. Those are funded by advertising or setting up misaligned incentive structures to the detriment of those creating content. If you have a sea of content, as a subscriber, how’d you know which one to follow? Hence, the real monetisation layer is “paid search” or “advertising” built on the back of many users churning out the content for free, with the hope of earning passive incomes.
Have a look at this:
Obviously the “sustainable” part is a joke. Newsletters are a bit of a pyramid scheme: A few successful people at the top make it seem like the system works for everyone, when in fact there is no way for most folks to make it up from the bottom. I am aware of my perch on this pyramid and have benefited from it directly: Over the past year, there’s been a huge uptick in how many of my classified ad buyers are people trying to grow their own newsletter audience. I’m not selling Avon or LuLaRoe, but there are enough structural similarities to make me uncomfortable.emphasis mine
It is when the VC money dries up (or refuses to pay), that’s when the reality will bite. I did try to build up (and sustain the habit of sending out curated content), but I quickly realised the business model is perverted with a subpar blogging interface.
But what I think you’re more likely to see, and soon, are more bundles. When writers can’t make it on their own, they’ll band together. When they want to share the responsibilities for figuring out insurance and health care and other benefits, they’ll join forces with others who want similar things. When they want to put out a weekly product but only be responsible for publishing once a month, they’ll find three friends. And it’ll be easier for potential subscribers to justify the expense of a bundle — not just more content, but a diversity of content, and voices, all for one price and under one subscription. It’ll probably look a lot like a magazine, but on the internet. Growing up, we used to call them blogs. (Unless you’re Slate, which has been calling itself a magazine for 24 years now, even though it only looks like one if you print it out at home and staple it together yourself.)
It can get complicated quickly, if there are no clear lines on monetisation. The “blog-space” on Niemann Lab is being used to shill out subscription spaces, but that’s moot. Conflicts of interest operate in grey areas, with lines drawn in sand and shifting moralities. Nevertheless, I have included something relevant here to the discussion.
Blog for the sake of writing. It gives an outlet to flow of ideas, and you can better visualise the extensive cross connects that will enrich you personally.