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Personal essays cry out for identification and connection; what their authors often got was distancing and shame.Bennett deemed the personal-essay economy a “dangerous force for the people who participate in it.”By that point, writers, editors, and readers had become suspicious of one another, and the factors that produced the personal-essay boom had started to give way.For the first two years that I edited personal essays, I received at least a hundred first-person pitches and pieces each week.
The commodification of personal experience was also women’s territory: the small budgets of popular women-focussed Web sites, and the rapidly changing conventions and constrictions surrounding women’s lives, insured it.
personal: the topics seemed insignificant, or else too important to be aired for an audience of strangers.
The essays that drew the most attention tended to fall within certain categories.
Some of the online publishers that survive have shifted to video and sponsored posts and Facebook partnerships to shore up revenue.
Aggregation and op-eds—the infamous, abundant takes—continue to thrive, although the takes have perhaps cooled a bit.