Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, Ph.D.

I study people, technology, and the worlds they make

More on amateurs and blogging

At the risk of starting an endless loop of mutual linking (and I thought people only did that with footnotes in articles!), Epistemographer adds to my thoughts on the notion of “amateurization” and blogging:

Alex’s point seems to tie in with something I wrote about a few days ago, the distinction between buying and tipping. One doesn’t tip a professional, because by definition they are producing a good or service for a fee. The Victorian amateur scientists Alex describes didn’t work for a fee – rather, their efforts were funded through the patronage of either wealthy family members or other sources.

The difference, of course, is that the patronage system of Victorian science relied on relatively consolidated sources of money – bloggers, on the other hand, seem best supported when they can draw support from widely distributed patrons, reducing the burden on any individual donor (and the risk that any one patron’s wealth might dry up). And though there aren’t many bloggers making a living from their “hobby” yet, I’d wager that this will change in the next few years (consider the Andrew Sullivan example)…


  1. ‘Tis pity that George Plimpton never had the chance to try his hand at using blogging as the conduit for his impressive dilettantism. RIP.

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