You might have noticed a couple of recent posts that consisted only of introductions, followed by a "read more" link.
If you've followed any of those you'll have found yourself on My London Your London, my new website. I'm not calling it a blog, because it is designed to appeal to readers who wouldn't necessarily read a blog.
Anyone who does read blogs, however, will instantly recognise the general format. (It is Wordpress - which I'm still learning but I have generally found to be excellent.)
It is designed to develop, I hope, into a significant cultural guide to London, with an average of two posts a day reviewing plays, museums and galleries, books and other "cultural" events in London. (That's from me - there might be other contributors as well.) It is, you might guess, something I hope to make some money from, by means of advertising - both pay per click and paid-up adverts.
The recent article asking "what happens if the old media dies too soon" has helped to crystalise my thinking about what I'm doing. Tom Foremski asks:
... what happens if we lose much of the old media before the new media business models are formed?
It is Silicon Valley's top companies, such as Google, Yahoo and Ebay, that are devastating the old media business models. But the new media business models have not yet "grown up" to support the quality journalism that we need as a society.
The New York Times, for example, pays about $1.25m a year to have a Baghdad bureau, not to mention the rest of its huge editorial infrastructure. In contrast, online publishing relies heavily on revenues from Google text ads--but Google ads won't pay enough to fund a global network of journalists."
The fact is, up until now, the blogosphere has provided very little original journalistic content. Look at the most successful blogs - in hits and revenue - and they consist mainly of links to the "old" media. But if the "old" media is dying, and I think it is, or at least being forced into massive, rapid change that it is ill-equipped to handle, there must be an opportunity for providing original quality content, while retaining some of the personal aspects of the blogosphere.
I can't set up a bureau in Baghdad. But I can use my skills as a professional journalist, and my reasonably coherent areas of interest, to offer something that is a quality, original product.
The key will be getting search engine hits. As the Guardian's online editor wrote recently
, half of its hits are now coming via Google and other search engines, and I've found already with this blog that it is possible in fairly specialised areas to get pretty high on them. (There just aren't that many reviews of fringe plays, for example.)
There will also be - soon! - another, books website, featuring books by and about women. There's probably not so much advertising revenue there, but it does cover one of my main areas of interest. And there I'm hoping to encourage even more contributions. (Full announcement by the end of the week, I hope.)
What does this mean for Philobiblon? I hope it will become more coherent, because the reviews on this site will only be a couple of paragraphs, with the "read more" button, so the site will not be swamped by one long book or exhibition review. Everything else will continue much as it is now, including Femmes Fatales.
I might be starting this plan of becoming at least a semi-professional blogger too soon; I might be starting too late. The bank balance will tell. But I feel there is an opportunity, and I'm going to give it a shot.
Feedback, suggestions, and complaints welcome. And if you feel an overwhelming urge to tell me "you're mad", by all means feel free to do so.
(And should you feel like putting a link to My London Your London
on your site, I'll be extremely grateful!)