Scott Adams, the multimillionaire creator of the Dilbert comic strip, doesn’t
like doing anything which doesn’t make him money. This conflicted with his blogging,
the income from which was very small. Yes, we’ve
been here before. But this time it’s not about Adams’s book, it’s about
Adams’s blogging. He has decided to blog
less, and also blog less controversially. Why? Because blogging in general
doesn’t make him much money, and controversial blogging in particular loses
him Dilbert readers and therefore – he thinks – actually loses him
money. He writes:
It’s hard to tell the family I can’t spend time with them because
I need to create free content on the Internet that will lower our income.
The phrase "disingenuous douchebag" comes to mind. If Scott Adams
wants to spend more time with his family and less time blogging, that’s entirely
up to him. But that’s not a financial decision. The fact is that for someone
with Adams’s wealth and income, the marginal dollars made or lost from blogging
are never going to be particularly important.
A successful blog makes the same amount of money whether its author is rich
or poor, and whether he lives in New York or Bangalore. If Scott Adams really
thought his blog would make a significant difference to the income of an internationally-syndicated
cartoonist, he was surely disabused of that notion a very long time ago. But
still he uses it as some kind of crutch, first to justify the removal of old
blog entries (and their comments) so that he can monetize them in book form,
and now to justify his decision to stop saying controversial things and to publish
only truncated RSS feeds.
Normally, I’m the kind of person who celebrates the diversity of the blogosphere:
I don’t see much sense in generalizing about "bloggers" as a group.
But I’m pretty sure that most of us consider it quite wonderful that we can
"create free content on the Internet" whenever we like; we don’t do
it grudgingly, as though every blog entry were some kind of act of charity directed
at our readers. Scott Adams, it seems, is the exception to that rule.