Sarah Lacy is an award winning journalist and author of the just-released book, “Once You’re Lucky, Twice You’re Good: The Rebirth of Silicon Valley and the Rise of Web 2.0” (Gotham Books, May 2008). Lacy has been a reporter in Silicon Valley for nearly a decade, covering everything from the tiniest startups to the largest public companies. She writes a biweekly column for BusinessWeek called “Valley Girl” and is co-host of Yahoo! Finance’s Tech Ticker. She lives in San Francisco and blogs. Sarah’s discussion sparked much controversy amongst attendees. Many feel this is a good thing. I always think it’s great when audience members are engaged, giving feedback, debating the issues. In Sarah’s own words:
In the early days of the blogging revolution it was all about aggregating a mass niche into a powerful force that could rival the world’s biggest entertainment, news, and technology brands. We did it. Maybe not each one of us, but collectively. Look at Huffington Post or DailyKos or Drudge Report and the force they wield on politics. Look at how TechCrunch has out-new-economied cNet. And of course there’s Perez Hilton and the Gawker Empire– forces that have knocked tabloids back on their heels.
Of course, we all know it’s community and content that’s made this happen more than it is the code. But what happens when you get too much of a big thing? Does community scale? Or does it break down? Having proven they can grab as large of a megaphone as they want, some of the Internet famous are choosing to step back – burned out from the work, pressure and scrutiny. Making matters worse, many bloggers have been manipulated into being tools of the very powerbrokers they were trying to disrupt.
Is there a way to value sites off more than just size? Can new business models bring our priorities back in line and can tools like video commenting bring humanity to the anonymous snarky world of blog commenters?
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