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Rock and URL

Lezlie Lowe goes on a $580 million-dollar rant.


You're a rock star.

Well, you could be, anyway, if you'd just find the time to launch that blog you've been talking about.

Bloggers, the blahtastically dubbed purveyors of online diaries, are the new rock stars, according to the hype for PostieCon '07, a blogger conference coming up in June in Orlando, Florida

Go ahead, admit it. You want to be a blogger. You want be a rock star. But just remember, when you're blogging the way most people do, you're really working for the man.

PostieCon promises "networking opportunities," "speakers representing the diversity of the blogging world" and "a variety of interactive events that embrace the concept of self expression and social networking."

Did someone say social networking?

Hello MySpace. is a massively popular online social networking web site. If that comes as news, it's likely you're not one of MySpace's more than 100 million registered users (that's 10 million more people than the entire population of the Philippines). All those users have blog spaces on their personalized sites. Their mere presence on MySpace is, in itself, a blog—it's a personal, narcissistic compendium of information. Largely unfocused, often misspelled.

MySpace uses the folksy tag "a place for friends." It's anything but. Unless Rupert Murdoch shows up as a top friend on your MySpace page.

Murdoch, the much-maligned US-based media magnate and overlord of Fox News, is the owner of Intermix Media, MySpace's parent. Murdoch's News Corporation last year bought Intermix for a cool $580 million. (And that number is certainly cool—if you take it to mean chilly—to MySpace founder Brad Greenspan, who alleges shady dealings at Intermix undervalued MySpace's worth. What Rupert Murdoch paid $580 million for, Greenspan says, he ought to have shelled out something in the range of $20 billion for.)

Yes, friends, MySpace is a monster-sized corporate machine. (And one that its bloggers provide content to absolutely free of charge.) But no one really thinks of the media structure they're supporting when they blog about the bad meal their band had on the road at that Saskatoon diner; no one considers posting a MySpace photo essay of their house reno as an act to line the pockets of Rupert Murdoch.

Of course, if you feel unsettled about supporting Fox News or just don't want to give your intellectual content (such as it is) to Rupert Murdoch, then there's always open source blogging software. But one by one, those spaces are getting bought up. MySpace was started by a small company in 2003. Murdoch scooped it in 2006. Tiny, capable used to be an independent. Now it's owned by Google. On and on it goes...

The minute you start blogging on MySpace or, you've already sold out to a soulless machine. Rage against it all you want, you're just major label-backed Kurt Cobain in a "Corporate Rock Still Sucks" t-shirt.

There is one refreshing moment in this story of the once-deliciously rag-tag media landscape being bought up by major conglomerates. It's the out-and-out honesty of PostieCon's pitch for attending the 2007 conference.

"We are here to educate bloggers on how to build traffic and readership, and use your notoriety and unique brand to create value and monetize your voice."

That's right: monetize your voice.

There's the ah-ha moment. When PostieCon says any old blogger can be a rock star, they're not thinking about the model of the old-school I've-come-by-my-art-honestly rock musician. They're not talking about the White Stripes. Not Arcade Fire. They're talking about Jessica Simpson.

What they mean is you could be a "rock star," not a rock star.

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