1. The same as always...making compelling music and finding a gig in which to do so. Also, being able to do other things connected with making music besides playing bass does not hurt. Vocals, knowing how to operate sound and recording gear, knowledge on other instruments...it all helps. I wouldn't get half the gigs I get if I couldn't sing. Not the greatest singer but I'm good at backgrounds and can croak out a decent lead. Plus I can arrange for larger bands, play a few different instruments, and know how to record. It's gotten me work over others.
2. Seems to me it's an open playing field now, even more so with the internet. But there's always going to be judgment based on how successful and in demand you are, and that will naturally keep those kinds of hierarchies going that have always existed...A-list, B-list, etc.
3. There are many free ways to promote yourself, but getting out there and meeting people who can help you is always going to reign supreme.
4. A way to record yourself and/or a vid camera helps. Might want to buy an amp in case you get a gig
5. Probably none
But that's OK.
6. That all depends on how well you do in the situation you're in. As we're perceived on the whole as bass players by other subgroups of musicians, who cares? I only worry about being perceived well by those paying me, those I'm working with, and the audience.
7. To make music. Things haven't changed with the rise of the internet. All it's done is given you an easier way to showcase what you can do. Contact with the real world and building friendships and business relationships is still very necessary, and entertaining your audience is still job one.
8. I'd be a little worried about including al-Qaeda operatives. Other than that, why would you want to exclude anyone?