Friday, October 31, 2008

Two internets

Superstar bloggers are ahead of their time - To paraphrase John Edwards, there are two Internets. First we have the mainstream, casual, prime-time Internet. These folks think of the Internet as a supplement to TV and radio. They get their news from CNN and the "Today" show and visit Web sites they see on TV.

They surf major news sites and circulate kitty pictures in e-mail. They use Google to check movie times and look up trivial pursuit answers, but they don't really belong to the Internet. Their tastes, their lifestyles and their media expectations froze in 1996.

The other group has adopted the Internet as a fundamental part of their lives. They host blogs, use RSS feeds and keep up with friends on Twitter. These people are connected 24/7. They send text messages while they sleep and check e-mail before they put their pants on.

They are young, smart and upwardly mobile, but there aren't enough of them yet. They're hyper-literate, hyper-critical and hyper-connected. These are true alpha consumers. They want to be first with a new gadget, first to review a great book, first to complain about a bad movie and the first to celebrate when an old brand does something new.

Do you think Michael Duff's right? The recent Radar shutdown was a major loss (though that magazine somehow always rises from the dead, no worse for the wear - if anything, more cynical) but I'm pleased all the writers are too stubborn to stop blogging. How does the publishing world adapt to Choire Sicha?

This article is a little strange, but I'm fond of it for managing to work pants into a sentence about compulsive email checking, and for finally giving Choire Sicha and Alex Balk some credit. Ask anyone in my household who they love most, and they will say (a) Michelle Obama, then (b) Choire Sicha. For good reason. Will someone please publish him now so I can give him my hard-earned money?*

*I have still not been paid. I am out of toothpaste. Thanks to one of my favorite kitcheny blogs, I now have a recipe for homemade toothpaste, which includes ingredients that are already in my house (peppermint extract and baking soda donated by my next-door neighbors when they moved). There are two kinds of broke: the kind where you are casually broke, and see being broke as a symptom of a failing economy. Then there is the kind where you accept you really want to write on the internet, maybe full-time as a career, but you end up doing it for free, because not even the internet superstars are paid these days, and you hit a point where you start making toothpaste out of ingredients left in your neighbors' cabinet, because the idea of not spending four dollars makes you giddy. Choire Sicha and I may have this in common. Ahh, the great equalizing power of electronic writing.

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