But if you over-strategize, you soon stop treating your readers like human beings, and start treating them like "consumers", there to be manipulated like labratory animals.
I don't think Gia's paymasters are stupid or evil people. It's just that what works in Hollywood and Madison Avenue doesn't work in the blogosphere, and it's taking them a while to accept the fact.
One thing you notice when you start attending the blog conferences and hanging around the more well-known and respected bloggers on the planet: None of them seem to take it very seriously. They just get on with it. If what they do works for them, it's because it all comes naturally ...
Maybe Big Media is all about being fake and getting away with it.
Well maybe they are. And maybe they always have been. And maybe we should get over it.
Perhaps it's because I'm still a new-jack, but I don't think the "blogosphere" per se is rewriting the rules for how you market and go about the business of commodifying a product. I don't think Hugh is necessarily wrong. But I think the more correct sentiment is "what doesn't work in hollywood and madison ave. also doesn't work in the blogosphere." It's not blogs that have created new rules, it's everything. It's the digital media era - with file sharing, and blogs, and 800 channels, and the internet, and digi-cams, and everything else. Information overload has been the impetus for a different approach, and blogs are a byproduct of the information overload.
I'm sure suits were firing off tons of seemingly inane questions when they were first trying to get a handle on how to commodify television. It's the nature of the business. You ask every question in the book, even the stupid ones - what happens if someone leaves a bad comment?, what if you don't have trackbacks?, can a blog have children?, if you kill someone and repent on your blog are you no longer guilty of murder?
Some of these questions may be silly now, just suits trying to figure out how to make $, but if Harriet Miers is on the Supreme Court and blogging, who knows ... maybe you will be able to get away with murder (of a baby) if you write well enough .... or blogroll her.
And ultimately this Q&A is the same game that's played anywhere in capitalist america. People trying to tap into the "hip-hoposphere" do the same thing - What does the hip mean? what does the hop mean? When is the best time to get shot? etc. etc.
There's suits and artists. And like the actors, authors, and rock stars before them the nu-blartists want to make money, but also want to complain about how the money is made.
But this is what we do. And treating readers like humans or consumers is purely based on your ability to form many and varied personal relationships. The mob is the mob. Just because the mob comes to read a blog instead of sitting in front of a tv, doesn't make them any more human. If you get 150K hits a day, you're not going to be able to keep up. Some people will become *gasp* nameless faceless "readers" ... and they will *gasp* fit into certain demographics ... and if your goal is to maintain that traffic you will likely *sigh* tailor your content to the faceless consumer. Because that is what we do.
In general I just think we should be more comfortable with our roles.
Artists/bloggers/creatives shouldn't roll their eyes when suits come asking questions. they shouldn't sermonize about the big bad marketing meeting. And suits shouldn't roll their eyes when artists/bloggers/creatives start acting like self-righteous arrogant assholes who happened to stumble on a formula but are too blind and full of their own shit to really use it to empower themselves (and others).
there's no more art. there's no more marketing. they're becoming one and the same. mARTketing.
mARTketing is the new new ... and if you want to make some money, go ahead and ask any silly question you want.
thus spach TANathustra