I just read John Dehlin's assignment for the week and wanted to post a comment, but alas, was unable to. So I'll just post my thoughts here. John poses the following thought,
"To me, the miracle of the blogging movement lies within the notion of "aggregate and share"--the fact that really smart and motivated people are willing to spend time accumulating all of the most interesting and relevant articles/writings for a given topic/issue, and then are generous enough to share these findings with the rest of the world"
I think he has hit upon a key aspect of the usefulness of blogs, which leads to the question: why are people so willing to share? In our capitalist society, why are these people trying to do so much for so little? Do we need to start referring to anybody who blogs as "comrade blogger"? ;)
I think the answer goes back to the notion that we are dealing with such an amazing amount of people, each of them with their own value structure (going back to my thoughts on cost/benefits). Let's assume there are 50 people who have useful information; information that others would like to have. 49 of them try to think of a way to get money for that information. But the other one decides that the costs involved with trying to make money from the information (publishing, developing, marketing, managing, etc. etc. etc.), isn't worth the potential benifit. He/she decides that the cost of giving the information away for free (posting it to a blog), is outweighed by the payoff (the potential that thousands will use and benefit from the information, and that the poster may receive some attention).
My cousin keeps a tech blog. He says for him it's just as easy to keep track of how he did something on a blog as it is in a notebook. If he forgets how he did something, he can search his blog to remind himself of the procedure. The fact that others can also search it is just another benefit. Sure, he could try to publish his knowledge and make some money, but for him the cost is too high. And by doing this, he is keeping anybody else from making money from such information. Why pay for information if it is available for free?
Anyway, just a few more thoughts on the cost/benefit model...