I do not recall anyone having ever informed me that they disagree with me on some issue and that they therefore will unsubscribe from my blog(*). Yet, it is something I see from time to time on large blogs.

(*) Perhaps my blog is too small.

It seems that there is a common sentiment or perhaps a confusion between bloggers and journalists. Some readers expect bloggers to be valuefree and restrict their writings to facts, that is, act like modern journalists. Now, there is a natural or at least observed progression for bloggers to become more journalistic in their writings as they attract a larger audience and even to advance to editors and “magazine”-owners as they start hiring guest authors or even staff writers either for money or for access to their readership.

However, I think it is sad when a blog turns into a magazine or when a blogger becomes too afraid to state opinions which may results in a 10% loss in advertising revenue, fears which I think are overblown anyway. There is indeed a conflict of interest for any blogger that relies on ad-income rather than say being directly paid for opinions. Unfortunately, the latter approach is fairly uncommon as readers expect material to be free. Hiding the cost in the fraction that clicks on ads or worse paying for it by restraining bloggers to their perception of the emotional fragility of a part of their readers—part of which supposedly click on ads—is more acceptable even though the latter could be thought of as a sell-out.

I read blogs because I am interested in opinions and ideas. I do not want to read clinically clean, politically correct articles devoid of opinion and full of disclaimers.

Originally posted 2009-11-03 05:46:14.