Mark Cuban started an interesting discussion about blogging and following vs. leading in regard to content generation. The rules have changed and media as we know it is changing — vying for the ever elusive “repeat customer” and the income that they can bring [my reading between the lines]. Below is an excerpt of the article from Mark’s site. I encourage you to read it. Feel free to come back to WeirdGuy and let me know your thoughts.

If you blog, regardless of what software you use, you are a blogger and what you produce is a blog. If you want to call yourself a columnist, so be it. If you are a reporter in a 1 page internet only publication, yes you are.

From there, only one question comes up. Why. Why ? Why do you do what you do. Is it because:

You get paid to do it ?

Because you want to promote something or to promote yourself ?

Because you want to start a discussion ?

Because you want to communicate with customers, fans or ??

Because its a way to say whats on your mind ?

Because you want to make money from it ?

I’m sure there are other reasons to communicate on the web. What software you use, even whether you use video, text and/or pictures, really doesn’t matter.

What matters is why you do what you do.

For most of us, we start on the furthest reaches of the long tail of all content. To make money from whatever it is we produce is not only difficult, its near impossible. To get off the long tail is near impossible as well. Only a few will ever find their way to a point of generating enough consumers of our content to have any choice in whether we monetize or influence a material number of people. Others of us will still be in the long tail, but have influence in a small verticial segment important only to those who already know us, or come to know us. Its possible to be a big player in a small pool, and get paid for it, still reside on the long tail.

The hope by all on the longtail is that the “quality” of the publication will garner enough consumers to move them off. Like the artist whose art is better, the band or musician whose music is better, the producer, director or actor whose video is better. Everyone hopes that quality of content is the final arbiter of attraction and success.

The worst part of it all is that when you are on the long tail, it takes a lot of money or luck to get off and 99.99pct , never get off. Which is exactly the definition of the longtail.

Thats for individuals.

For corporations who publish on the web (as opposed to aggregate 3rd party content), again, regardless of what content management software they use, or what they call themselves, the longtail is death. If you are a blogger, and you work for a major media company, you are born with a silver spoon in your mouth. You are granted a platform with traffic. Thats the good news. The bad news is that you also have ratings. If you can’t hold your traffic or build upon it, you better hope you generate sufficient value in other places, or your days of publishing on the web may be numbered. For those of you who haven’t noticed, paid bloggers do come and go from media websites if they don’t produce. But wait, there is worse news.

Read more…