What does this mean for content writers? At best, it may mean some instability in the ranking of our articles; at worst, it could mean serious ranking drops, with perhaps more tweaking by Google as the new SERPs settle into place. The sites on which we write may suffer the stigma of bad-quality content farms and be penalized by this algorithm update. Writers, in short, may do better publishing on our own rather than on the big sites. Writing on your own site, short-term earnings might decrease, but long-term earnings could match or even exceed the old.
Although my articles on HubPages and Suite101 have taken a pretty noticeable hit, on a tiny site I have that is not monetized by Google AdSense, views have increased, while on a slightly larger but still small site that IS monetized by AdSense, visits have stayed the same.
We'll see how this pans out. As I've said before, the Web is always changing. This is about as rough as it gets. But it's not the end of opportunity for the little guy - just the beginning, in fact.