Bloggers as Paparazzi
The comparison is closer than you might think; after all, as a pioneer in online media, Cuban knows a thing or two about cyberspace. His advice to those threatened by bloggers provides insight into a possible future scenario for the blogosphere:
There is... a way for the gatekeepers [mainstream media] to deal with the bloggers. A simple way.
Recognize them. Give them respect. Celebrities can’t keep photographers out of their bushes no matter how hard they try. The gatekeepers won’t be able to keep the bloggers out either. Instead they should invite them in.
Not 1. Not 2. But several from both sides. Bring in the more popular blogs that like you, and the same number of those that don’t. Give them as much access as you give the NY Times, Wash Post. Don’t muzzle them, let them write
I will tell you exactly what will happen next. The blogs you invite in will still try to trip you up, but they will quickly morph and act like traditional media. When you screw up , they will tell you when it happens and give you a chance to comment and respond. They will like being on the inside and adjust to try to stay there.
Cuban's prediction that a few big blogs will dominate the blogosphere is a logical if cynical assumption. It's only a matter of time before we see "celebrity bloggers" start showing up at movie premieres and partying at the hottest clubs -- the Barbara Walters of bloggers, whose power comes from their rich and famous connections. However, such domination will only last until the next new disruptive medium emerges. Also, the blogosphere is not like traditional media in that the big players can easily shut out the little guys. Bloggers don't need to spend millions on printing presses, distribution channels or transmitters. As long as blogging tools remain affordable or even free (thank you, Blogger!), there will always be some tenacious little guy with a big scoop or a new angle.