Growing Up

Reminiscence has been the coin of the realm around the neighborhood lately. People have remembered UBlog fondly (I’d still like to consolidate all that with a dedicated web page, downloadable diploma, and so on); people have recalled the old conversations we used to have, batting ideas around like party balloons; people have reminded everyone how silly and how profound we could be, back then. “Those who didn’t blog during the years before the revolution, don’t know the pleasure of blogging” (thank you so much, Jonathon).

This morning, Margaret and I were talking (in the immediate, occupy-the-same-geographic-space sense of the word, which I must say will never be replaced by digitally-mediated interaction) about getting paid for blogging. We look around and see Chris writing as Highbeam’s Chief Blogging Officer; Jeneane’s hot new firm, the Content Factor, has a blog for which she writes, and Mitch just started a web-services company; Halley and David blog for Worthwhile; several boatloads of bloggers have written for Corante, another assortment received subsidies from Marcqui (Liz worked with both of them). How would you separate Joi, Joey, Elliott and Ross as “bloggers” from their business interests (and who would want to)? And about three years ago, Ben and Mena actually visited Seabury as a couple of code-writers with a cool blogging program — rather than as multinational blogopreneurs.

(I don’t make a red cent from blogging, and although I always check with my tech-business friends, it doesn’t seem likely that anyone’s hiring a digital theologian.) (But if you change your mind, you know where to find me.)

And things have changed — no question about that. I miss a lot of what we used to do. I miss some of the conversations that used to flow wild and free. I miss the days when I just didn’t know so many people whose blogs I can’t possibly keep up with any more. It’s all changed, and I miss it.

But y’all didn’t start blogging just for my entertainment. If blogging is putting bread on a few tables, buying toys for a few kids, putting together the down payment for a newlywed’s house, then I’m the last one in line to bemoan times past. It’s all changed, but do you know what? It was going to change anyway. It was going to change anyway, and while it’s changing, there are no people I would rather have those changes benefit than the wonderful friends I met back when none of us was making a cent off blogging.

This afternoon, first thing after I turned my attention from the Duke game, I read that Yahoo! has bought Flickr. Two reactions battled to win my disposition: first, that the community-building, image-sharing fountain of wit and snappiness would surely be transformed into another pop-up-spewing, LOL!!ing wading pool of used band-aids and adolescents chicken-fighting; and second, Caterina and Stewart and Eric and the whole Ludicorp team made a decision informed by the same sensibilities that I so admire in their construction of Flickr (and especially GNE — remember GNE?) in the first place. And if Yahoo offered to buy out the Disseminary, I’d be all over it.

Congratulations, everyone who’s made another dime from blogging. Bless you, everyone who’s in it for love of words and images and links. And peace be with us all.

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