I hoped that people who loved the blog would spill over to people who read Dilbert, and make my flagship product stronger. Instead, I found that if I wrote nine highly popular posts, and one that a reader disagreed with, the reaction was inevitably “I can never read Dilbert again because of what you wrote in that one post.” Every blog post reduced my income, even if 90% of the readers loved it. And a startling number of readers couldn’t tell when I was serious or kidding, so most of the negative reactions were based on misperceptions.
Lastly, the blog has been a source of tremendous artistic satisfaction. I enjoyed being relatively uncensored, and interacting with the readers on fun topics. That’s why I will continue blogging, albeit less controversially. I’ll just do it less often, especially over the holidays. It’s hard to tell the family I can’t spend time with them because I need to create free content on the Internet that will lower our income.
I view this as a decidedly bad thing, but something that musicians have known about fan sites for years. Fan sites typically define the musician, and for better or worse narrow what it means to be a fan of X band.
This is why many musicians will ruthlessly seek out and destroy fan sites, especially when they make it big. Thus the victory of Expressive Choice Theory: People don’t do X to produce Y, they do X to claim status as X-doers.