1.) The weblog comes out of the gift economy, whereas most (not all) of today’s journalism comes out of the market economy.
4.) In the weblog world every reader is actually a writer, and you write not so much for “the reader” but for other writers. So every reader is a writer, yes, but every writer is also a reader of other weblog writers—or better be.
The “gift economy” thing is something I often find myself explaining to my old-media colleagues. While I do wonder, sometimes, why I spend so much time blogging, the truth is, I enjoy it immensely.
Still, here I am, giving away my thoughts “for free,” instead of carefully hoarding them and compressing them into a conference paper that I intend to read out loud to an audience of ten or twenty people, at a cost to my university of up to $1000 (for conference fees, airfare, hotel), and a cost to my family of two or three days of my absence.
I’m grading student blogging portfolios. The students were asked to include about four of their best blog entries, and samples of comments that they made on other students’ weblogs. Some students reported feeling disappointed that their best blog entries didn’t generate a lot of comments from readers. They can “gift” each other by posting comments on each others blogs, of course. But since it’s probably fair to say that even the most enthusiastic bloggers are blogging more than they really want to (since I do give “forced blogging” topics), their experience as student bloggers doesn’t really mesh too well with the gift economy.