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The Blogosphere is Dead, No, It’s Only Lame!

Posted by Bob Warfield on November 23, 2007

Another burst of handwringing about whether blogs matter has hit the web.  I’ve written about this before, but some of what’s being said makes more sense than the last round.  Some doesn’t. 

Umair Haque says the blogosphere lost its Mojo and to be more precise that pro-blogs have lost their Mojo.  This is not unlike the writings of Fred Wilson who felt that when Uber Bloggers like Om Malik and Michael Arrington succombed to using big teams instead of doing all the writing themselves a lot was lost.

What this is really all about is the intrusion into the blogosphere of folks who are perhaps overly mercenary in their desire to use it as a total tool for their business interests.  Never mind that the older school could be accused of using it as a tool for self-interest, this is a low down baser more subtle and at the same time stupider approach.  It’s bipolar.  Stupider are the linkbaiting pay per view black hat SEO tactics some will use.  Subtle is just the practice of copying mass media.  It’s ambulance chasing boiled down to meme chasing.  Doesn’t matter what the meme is, if it rises quickly we have to write about it.  I do it myself sometimes, but I try to stick to memes where I think I can actually add something to the conversation.

That’s the other problem conventional media has.  It doesn’t want to offend, because that might cut it off from some interest group.  So it doesn’t add anything to the conversation.  This comes up over and over again because people who troll the blogosphere for real insights find the rest to be spam.  And because it is a natural evolutionary process that as soon as you provide a way to keep score at any game ranging from NASCAR to blogging, people will try to cheat in order to win over others.  In this case, we’re talking about the Internet, so cheating is done with computer tactics, much like the SEO’s use.

Personally, I don’t think it’s too bad yet.  It’s under control.  How do I know?  Because I still come out way ahead by searching the blogosphere before turning to Google when I want to learn something new.  That only works because the blogosphere isn’t so polluted with spam as the mainstream web search space.  However, for those who give up their RSS feeds and just stick to reading Techmeme or even something like Robert Scoble’s excellent link feed, you’re giving up a lot of juice.

I like to get the juice.  That’s why I keep looking beyond the Techmeme’s.  At his suggestion, I’ve started taking Scoble’s Link Feed.  I like it, but I’ve decided that what I really need is some combinatorial capabilities in Google Blog Reader.  I want to be able to take aggregator feeds like Techmeme, Scoble’s Link Feed, Y Combinator’s Hacker News, and similar sources, and set it up so I only see articles on those feeds that aren’t already on my other feeds.  That’s probably going to be pretty hard to do, so right now I just read those kind of feeds last and do a quick scan deleting everything I already heard about and then going back to see what I missed.

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