I'm not just waxing nostalgic for Zines, there are many ways where blogging is far far superior to zines. These come in expense, audience, accessibility to news, searchability, and tools.
Blogspot and many other sites will give you a free blogging site. Free. You can go to a library or some coffee shops and get on line for free. Free. You can blog for free.
Sometimes, BVI-Central was free because I copied it at an office that made allowances for my "cool zine". But that was rare. Even with the free copying, I still had to shell out for stamps. At $150 a year, the cost to host this blog with premium services at TypePad is less than two BVI-Central issues.
So the fiscal barrier to entry for blogs is much lower for the blog author.
Audience and Searchability
BVI-Central was sold via world of mouth or through Factsheet Five. That viral distribution worked fairly well at the time, but would be a dismal failure now.
I have hundreds of subscribers to the RSS feeds on my blog and have a large number coming every day via a wide and growing array of audience intermediaries like del.icio.us, Techmeme, tailrank, Digg and others.
A non-insignificant number come through search engines either blog-specific (icerocket, blogs.google.com, Technorati) or general (Ask, Google, MSN). Very very few people randomly started to read BVI.
Viral means still drive most attentive readers to this blog. So I don't think the quality of readers is necessarily diminishing from zines to blogs.
Accessibility to News (Instant Relevance)
A zine could not link. Linking is very powerful and, as I've mentioned before, is the act that truly defines blogging. As Capote might say of linkless bloggers, "That's not blogging, that's typing."
The act of linking creates community when linked to other bloggers and relevance when linked to source material. Good linking gives substance to your rants and demonstrates your writing will withstand at least some self-referenced scrutiny.
People can read your blog entry and quickly search Technorati or Google News for other writing on the subject to check up on you.
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