Stereotypes and the Blogosphere

March 31, 2008 — 10 Comments

This weekends A-list navel gazing exercise is a subject (ironically) that has been debated before: that the blogosphere provides little original content and that most blogs don’t provide a value add in terms of analysis.

It’s true…and it’s not true.

It’s true if you only follow techmeme and a specific number of blogs, for example the space blogs like TechCrunch and Engaget (presuming both are leaders in each space) cover. There are a growing number of blogs covering this space; gadget blogs are a dime a dozen and there’s a growing number of people covering Web 2.0 as well. That they will sound like an echo chamber at times is a given, considering that there is always only going to be X amount of news to cover. This is no different to the MSM either.

But look outside the very small selection of blogs (as an overall percentage of all blogs) that people seem to be bitchmeming about and you’ll find an amazing variety of choice and opinion, with more original thought than any one could ever consume in a life time.

It comes back to stereotypes.

I thought we’d moved passed many of them. In the early days it was that blogs were nothing more than personal dairies, written by amateurs that provided no value outside of entertainment. Things changed over time, and then we had debates about whether bloggers could be or are journalists. Given that most MSM sites now have blogs that’s a debate that is mostly dead and burried. That the blogosphere lacks original thought should be another one of those stereotypes that should pass, because it’s simply not true. It’s no more true than saying all black people commit crimes just because some of them do.

Dave Winer talks about the early days of blogging, and how we were watching them, and not watching each other, and yet he links to Techmeme and mentions it as proof of the problem.; he’s doing exactly what he’s rallying against. It’s not Techmeme’s fault: what you consume is ultimately up to you. Dave, if you have an issue with the content on Techmeme: stop reading Techmeme, go out and find some new blogs. Start from scratch with your reading list. The problem isn’t the blogosphere, the problem is your personal consumption list. Change doesn’t deliver itself, change comes to those who seek it out, who act to make the change. If you feel that what you read isn’t original or doesn’t value add, go find other sites that meet your personal needs; they’re there, there’s hundreds of millions to choose from.