Stereotypes and the Blogosphere

March 31, 2008

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.

10 responses to Stereotypes and the Blogosphere

  1. Good post, Duncan. 100% agree.

  2. I gave up on techmeme a few months ago for lack of time. I have not enough time to keep up with my friends who blog, and found that they talk about haircuts, kids etc. Actually more interesting stuff than reading 100 people give their same opinion on why the Apple iPhone SDK is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

  3. Amen and amen.

    I could go on and on with my opinions on this, but that would get me into trouble, most likely, and you’ve said it better here already.

  4. Is it just me, or can anyone else see spooky similarities between this and the current round of reality TV shows and the Cult of celebrities?

  5. Sigh. This is missing the point, which is bluntly:


    What this means is that the aggregating and echoing and amplification selection systems of the bogosphere promote an echo-chamber of a few BigHeads. And if you’re not one of them:


    It doesn’t refute this to point out that off in an obscure corner is some amazing insight thand that go-bogosphere, because you then want to claim that post nobody read as a victory.

    [Disclaimer: This post is not written with a half-dozen hedges and qualifiers in order to be pedantic. Deal with information English, it’s supposed to be a “conversation”].

  6. I am trying to write a mixture of opinion, sports news and observations at to what is happening in Beijing and the Olympics. It is interesting reading Chinese news sites, western news and personal blogs. They all have their place, except for Chinese news perhaps, but even reading between the lines in their propaganda can be revealing.

  7. The irony of all this will be watching the A-list go off, use a new technology/space to re-assemble its nichey conversation, and watching it get invaded again by the great unwashed and following that, business in due time.

    Human nature is human nature. It doesn’t change based upon the technology it is using.

    My hope is that the A-listers stick around for once. That folks start to take to heart Clay Shirky’s A Group is Its Own Worst Enemy, and we learn to have a ‘real’ conversation for once. That we try and solve the very difficult issues that supra-large-scale online communities present.

    But I know I’m pissing in the wind.

  8. “bitchmeming?” google it…Mr. Coiner in action…

  9. I agree that many bloggers/blogs forget that authoring is just as important as participation, true participation – or the generation of unique content. Additionally I feel dry commentary is NOT typically helpful or acceptable. Greatpost!

    BTW what did you mean “is that Leah Culver… roll out the Fail Train?”

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Wow talk about not getting it | TechWag - March 31, 2008

    […] So what happens? The exact same thing that people were talking about, one post on how blogs are all rip from A List blogs, let the blogger feeding frenzy […]