Saturday, August 27, 2005

Micro Persuasion on Flat Blogosphere

Steve Rubel, in his recently re-designed blog, Micro Persuasion, has an interesting post:

"The blogosphere is flat"

In this post, Rubel discusses how the blog authors used to be mainly "geeks" or computer technicians and internet pros. This has gradually changed and now there are far more blogs on movies, celebrities, automobiles, and other non-computer topics. He even mentions that Hillary Clinton blogs, which I was not aware of.

He says that the "A List" blogs will continue to be valued by their hardcore fans, but each segment of the blogosphere will have its own top tier, super high traffic blogs. The geeky "A List" blogs (EvHead, Boing Boing, PhotoMatt, etc.) will be overtaken by blogs on less technical issues.

Rubel seems to think this, what he calls the "flattening" of the blogosphere, is a good thing.

However, I think this popularization is largely a "dumbing down" and a "trivialization" of the blogosphere.

My comment that I posted there today:


Each blogger has their own "A List".
It's called a blogroll.

Or "Daily Reads" for the cream of the crop of blogs rolled.

However the bloating of the blogosphere is not necessarily a good thing.

Seth Godin has pointed out that as mundane trivia, personal drivel, link farm, ghosted, and pseudo blogs increase, the overall value of the blogosphere decreases.

It's perhaps similar to FM radio.

At first, it was the domain of underground, college, classical music, album tracks, and other high value, non-top 40 radio.

But eventually, FM radio became loaded with most of the repetitious boring garbage that was on the AM dial.

Free television has become cluttered with commercials, infomercials, dope operas, etc.

Mailboxes stuffed with junk mail.

Telephone lines clogged with unwanted telemarketing.

Email besieged with spam.

...and so it goes.

I, for one, do not relish the growing popularity of blogs. While I champion the rising of individual voice, of the masses having their say, instead of MSM and governments, still, the blogosphere is being diluted and polluted.

That's sad, but inevitable I suppose.


So, how do you see it?

Is the "flattening" of the blogosphere, the "de-geekifying", a good thing?

Or do you think this is the "trivialization" of a formerly highly relevant sphere of info?

Let me know your opinion by posting a comment.


[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate



Paul Woodhouse said...

I banged on about this over three weeks ago - that every niche has its own a-list etc.

I fear it's the blog-watchers who are struggling to keep on top of their game.

With more people talking, there's every chance somebody might be saying similar things earlier than you. Subsequently, your a-list kudos could take a bit of a dent.

However, this is a problem only if you believe in thought leadership and hiearchies.

If you believe that blogging is truly flat - that whatever a certain blogger says can be expanded upon by anyone then it's all irrelevant.

Blogging has always been flat. Only when some knob starts believing their own press and thinks they're the conversation shepherds with a throng of happy blogging sheep do things go a little awry.

You may start a conversation and you may very well finish it, but there's alot that goes on inbetween.

steven edward streight said...

Paul: great insights well expressed.

I observed the "A Listers" reaction to Blog Day 2005, where we were all encourgaged, by an obscure blogger in Israel, to just list 5 good blogs, hopefully from other cultures or industries, to recommend to your own blog readers.

This went over like a lead balloon. Hugh Macleod even did a little cartoon poking fun of the concept, calling it organized "link whoring".

Of course, I deposited a comment correcting this notion. Clinking, ghost blogging, and buzz agenting are blogstitution, not Blog Day.

So it requires a bit of old fashioned humbleness to stop your own grandiose posting and linking to consider lending a boost to some little blogs, not "below" your exalted position in some silly hierarchy, but below the threshhold of your readers awareness.

How many participated? A few. Some perhaps grudgingly or perfunctorily.

I sent out a stroke of midnight last call email to about 30 or 40 "top tier" bloggers. Only about 6 emailed me back to say thanks for the heads up, and whether or not they'd participate in Blog Day 2005.

Robert Scoble, Hugh Macleod, Karen Ruby, Carrie Snell, Robert May, David Weinberger, Paul Chaney, John C. Dvorak, Gregg Hoffman, and Neville Hobson...

...either did a Blog Day 2005 post on their blog, or emailed me to tell me it was too short notice to do it justice, or promised via email to comply with it.

That little event of my email reminder of the Blog Day 2005 has resulted in a "A List" of my own: bloggers who can get their heads out of their own butts and see the struggling "underlings" who are their brother and sister bloggers, and try to lend them a hand, a boost, a promo.