Blogs are businesses. Many of us support small business and local business, when compared to big corporations and online tycoons, but do we extend the same love to general internet sites? Generally, not. We simply go to Google and type in the search words that we want to find answers for and select a response on the first page that is offered up to us. Why is this important? Well, the 80/20 rule for one thing – that 20% of the people control 80% of the resources, leaving the other 80% to scramble around picking their share of the remaining 20%. According to mathematicians and economists, this situation almost always happens in any model that they try to create. This is actually a corollary of natural selection – those with the highest reproductive fitness leave more copies of themselves in the population and eventually come to dominate the landscape. This happens in business too, when highly successful businesses accumulate wealth that they can use for marketing to grab up even more of the market and the cycle turns over daily, resulting in more and more resources going to the firms that were most competitive in the previous round.
Why is any of this important?
Lots of reasons – some purely ethical and some bearing great practical importance.
In the near future – say 2024, or twenty five years from the writing of this post – roughly 50% of all jobs will have been lost to Artificial Intelligence and not replaced by other opportunities. If we don’t start thinking fast, we are going to face mass unemployment and a 50% unemployment rate. Many will argue that the blue-collar sector will remain salient, but what will the existing blue-collar workers do when the other 50% of the nation suddenly starts competing with them for their jobs? Most experts believe that the 40-hour work week will become extinct, in favor of many part-time workers sharing the load. Some argue for the implementation of a Universal Minimum Basic Income, taken from taxes on corporations (who, by then, will own almost ALL of the available resources). Another possibility is ‘cottage industry’, wherein many workers will make and market some product or service out of their homes. This is what I am most concerned with here.
When we search the internet using Google, we are entering an enormous Global Market where every seller on the planet tries to peddle their goods. Unfortunately, only a small handful can make it onto the front page. If bloggers and other internet publishers were to enter a physical address for their sites, then we could use the suffix ‘near me’ at the end of our searches to home in on results from workers in our area. Why would we do this? Internet publishing IS a job! Almost all of us support politicians who promote local job growth but do we ourselves exercise the same ethics when we are shopping (and all internet activity is shopping, because we are all trying to sell you on whatever product or service (if only an idea)).
What would be the cost/benefit? Would we still find high-quality results? Chances are, if you are searching for any of the things that people commonly search for, then there are likely to be tons of qualified local candidates who would love nothing more than to write on those subjects. They probably don’t because there are tons of large corporate outfits (and yes, many blogs are large corporate outfits), and the average individual simply cannot compete. They can’t rank highly on searches, because it takes a tremendous amount of time and money to do so, and they simply don’t have the resources to compete. For this reason, most small time publishers seek some obscure niche to write about and then try desperately to keep a steady flow of high-quality content coming, which can be extremely difficult in a small niche because research takes a lot more time.
If we want to promote our local economy in the future, we will need to find and use practices that promote the ‘little guy’ on the internet. I strongly doubt that we will ever go back to the formation of large public markets where individuals go to buy and sell their homemade goods. The cottage industry of the future will likely be bought and sold online. And well-trained personal opinion is a marketable skill. We consume it every time we do a search online and most of the sites that we respond to are getting paid handsomely for their efforts, but again, these are large corporate outfits with teams of writers and dedicated staff for social media, backlink acquisition and the myriad of other vital tasks that are essential for successful internet promotion.
So, the question is, are you the one who only responds to the highest level of corporate polish? Or do you support small business and the local economy.
Try adding the suffix ‘near me’ to every search on Google. See if you can drum up some business for the local publishers. If no local candidates are found, then it should default to the same global competition that you usually enjoy.
One way or another, we are going to have to find effective ways for most people to pick up a significant portion of their income through some kind of cottage industry. The jobs simply won’t exist. We have twenty-five years to figure it out. I’m starting my planning now.
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