Way back in 2006, just after we moved back to the USA from Britain, I started a blog. Blogging was new and basic, and I started the blog to publish stuff that I couldn’t get published elsewhere. I couldn’t get it published elsewhere either because it wasn’t good writing, but also because it was too personal, too controversial or on subjects that did not really appeal to a wide public.
To my surprise, people began reading the blog. I nice fellowship of like minded people gathered around. The comments box was open and we had a nice time. It turned out that blogging opened doors for a huge amount of opinion and comment from ordinary folks to ordinary folks. Suddenly the media masters–the gatekeepers–the editors and commissioning editors and publishers were not in charge. I’m not blaming them, but their decisions were based on market forces. They were all broadcasters–throwing content out to as wide an audience as possible in order to make sales and sell advertising and make money. That’s okay. I’m not opposed to that, but the money motive does skew the editorial process. You have to make choices according to what the mass audience wants in order to sell enough books and magazines to pay your bills and make some profit.
However, the new technology changed all that. Suddenly it was super cheap to publish content. You didn’t need printing presses and employees and huge overheads to run newspapers, magazines and book publishing houses. You didn’t need to buy paper and bind books and store books and run warehouses and shipping companies. You didn’t need all the middlemen who took their cut–the distributors and advertisers, the marketers and local bookstores. The content could be delivered through the internet.