Blockhead, bloghead, whatever

What a week! One of my New Years’ resolutions was to create a blog and populate it daily with something useful. After week one, all I can say is TGIF!

As I dragged myself out of bed this morning to make good my vow, I recalled the quote by famed writer Samuel Johnson : “No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.”

Apparently, blockheads are running rampant these days, given the popularity of blogging. The New York Times Magazine inflamed the situation by making bloggers the darlings of the 2004 presidential election campaign. To show how out-of-control blogamania has gotten, my sister, Tina Nocera, just started a blog around her Parental Wisdom website. I am the oldest of six in my family. Tina is second in birth order. Two blockheads down. Four to go?

Meanwhile, in the business realm, blog-platform companies are consolidating. This week San Francisco-based Six Apart (home of Moveable Type) said it would buy the competing LiveJournal. Six Apart already owns TypePad. From a commercial view, such moves are probably necessary to create companies powerful enough become more than blockhead playgrounds in search of a business model.

Because the sad fact, for bloggers who have no desire to remain blockheads indefinitely, is that despite the media interest in blogging, the advertising industry, which supports most professional media activity, has been leery of supporting the community.

That’s the upshot of a recent Pew Internet memo on the state of blogging. A delicious writeup on the memo by MediaPost author Gavin O’Malley explained why advertisers are reluctant to funnel ads to blogs even when they generate a swell of interest, as occurred in the wake of the tsunami. “A company has to seriously ask themselves: ‘Do we really want to associate ourselves with the greatest natural disaster of the last quarter century?'”

But I think there are reasons blogs should find support. At least I certainly hope so. I’ll pick up that thread next week. For the time being, however, my blockhead could use time off from, as Samuel Johnson might say, such pecuniary ruminations.

Tom Abate
January 7, 2004