Over the past day or so, there have been rumblings on the Interwebz of financial distress at certain websites. It appears that the Weekly Standard is on the chopping block and that sites such as BuzzFeed and Vice are struggling. TWS was doing OK until it devolved into the premier Never Trump outlet on the web, alienating a significant portion of its readers. BuzzFeed, Vice, Vox Media, Group Nine Media, Refinery29, and the like have failed to find a way to build viable business models which target SJWs who believe that they are entitled to stuff for free.
Wokeness may feel good. It may even have merit in some virtue signaling sense. But it doesn’t seem to have value in the marketplace, and … what’s the socially just newspeak word for the sexist oldspeak word attaboys? Goodfeels? I’ll try that … and goodfeels can’t be used to pay the rent. Meanwhile, sites that develop are relationship with readers and work to provide them with content worth paying for are making a living for their operators. (See, eg., The Other McCain.) And while many of these successful sites have some sort of presence on social media, their main emphasis is a stand-alone entities in the manner of the early-21st-century blogosphere. They may use Facebook or Twitter to opportunistically promote themselves, but their focus is on creating content for themselves to bring readers to their own sites rather than letting main stream social media have it for free. It’s hard to make a living when you give everything away for free.
15 years ago, an independent blogosphere seemed to the be the future of the Internet. As people begin to understand what “free” social media costs, we may find ourselves going back to that future..