In a world where publishing is effortless, the decision to publish something isn’t terribly momentous. Just as movable type raised the value of being able to read and write even as it destroyed the scribal tradition, globally free publishing is making public speech and action more valuable, even as its absolute abundance diminishes the specialness of professional publishing. For a generation that is growing up without the scarcity that made publishing such a serious-minded pursuit, the written word has no special value in and of itself.
Note: Why there is diminished reason to stigmatize those who self publish except elitism
there is no obvious point where a blog (or indeed any user-created material) stops functioning like a diary for friends and starts functioning like a media outlet. Alisara Chirapongse (aka gnarlykitty) wrote about things of interest to her and her fellow Thai fashionistas, and then, during the coup, she briefly became a global voice. Community now shades into audience; it’s as if your phone could turn into a radio station at the turn of a knob.
Someone blogging alongside a handful of friends can read everything those friends write and can respond to any comments their friends make—the scale is small enough to allow for a real conversation. Someone writing for thousands of people, though, or millions, has to start choosing who to respond to and who to ignore, and over time, ignore becomes the default choice. They have, in a word, become famous.
Whatever the technology, our social constraints will mean that the famous of the world will always be with us. The people with too much inbound attention live in a different environment from everyone else; to paraphrase F. Scott Fitzgerald, the attention-rich are different from you and me, in ways that are not encapsulated by the media they use, and in ways that won’t go away even when new media arrive.
Note: What this means: there will always be bestselling authors. Tech does not eliminate high fame writers and publishing.