Wednesday, December 28, 2005
It's okay if most blogs suck
It's okay if most blogs suck, because most people are irrelevant to any one individual.
Since the vast majority of blogs are authored by a single person, the chances of very many of these unknown strangers having anything important or interesting to say to you: almost zero.
That's beautiful, see?
It must and it shall forever be this way, as long as we think independently. If we all thought the same, we'd all love everyone else's blogs, so we'd want to visit all 38 million of them every day, and consequently, die of acute exasperation.
Since we're so different, and have different interests, all you'll ever really connect with are about 6 to 20 blogs. I speculate that beyond that limit of blog interactability, your relationship to other blogs is slight, casual, infrequent.
Each person grows more different every day from everybody else. Did you know that? With the explosion in information, and easy access to extremely wide ranges of music, art, literature, clothing, individualization is increasing at high velocity.
Exposed to the seemingly infinite variety of things on the internet, each person, as they explore their proclivities, eccentricities, and specialized tastes, goes further out on a limb in multiple directions, thus becoming more extraordinary.
Some folks claim to monitor hundreds of blogs with an RSS feed reader. I don't read as many blogs as I wish I could. I spend far more time working on projects for clients, my personal music compositions, and messing around in and out of my blogs and blog deconstructions.
So why use a feed reader to monitor hundreds of blogs? "Reading a blog through a feed reader" just sounds eerie, creepy, hampered, unnatural to me. I know some of you reading this right now are using a feed reader, rather than a browser. Weird.
Still, I keep tabs on a list of blogs, and sometimes venture out to blogs I like, and know are great, but I don't have time to visit them very often. That is sort of sad, actually, to think about all the smart blog writing I'm missing.
But I do devote special allotments of time to visiting favorite blogs, and posting comments at them. I post lots of comments at lots of other blogs and online MSM venues. That's one of the best ways to become known in the blogosphere: post tons of smart, funny, on topic, enriching, insightful comments at as many good blogs as you possibly can.
Writing your own blog is hard enough.
But to be a Real Super Blogger, you have to interact with the blogosphere...by posting comments at other blogs.
So, I don't care if most blogs are vapid or stupid. I only need a few dozen to be worthwhile, plus a stray few here and there on topics of sudden, specialized, temporary interest to me.
If 99% of music is horrible, it's okay, as long as I can have the 1% that's great. Same with the blogosphere. When people think they're being real edgy or controversial, by declaring that most blogs suck, it makes me think they're an amateur.
What triggered this line of thought was a post by Matt Asay at InfoWorld, "What I Learned in 2005...Lesson #5: Most blogs are vapid."
If that deep link directly to the article doesn't work, you get an error message saying the article moved, just go to the home page of InfoWorld, and click on the "Cream of the Crop: Best Open Source Blogs" article.
Why is there two different titles for the article, introducing unnecessary disclarity?
He said that "most blogs are vapid".
"Vapid" means tasteless, unflavorful, bland, trite, jejune, droll, dejected, dismal, unnecessary, boring.
In the much-vaunted blogosphere, I find that people are either dull or too cowed to tell the truth undiluted. 2005 saw everyone and their dog starting a blog, but most are vapid and useless to a large audience. (That's not to say they're not important and useful to one's immediate peers.)
In open source, there are very few blogs I've found worth following. To be worth my time (and yours, I should think), the blogs need to impart real information - either objective news or, more likely, solid data gleaned from real-world experience. Most do neither. And of the two, I think the latter (i.e., experience) is more important than the news.
No one has figured out open source completely yet as a business, leaving all sorts of room for idea-sharing. That's why we started the Open Source Business Conference, and it's what any good open source blog should do.
A few people have asked me which blogs I follow. Here's a list. If you know of something worthwhile, please share, either directly (masay @ osbc . com) or in the comments. My primary objective in posting these is to elicit feedback on others I should be reading.
* InfoWorld's Open Resource by Dave Rosenberg...and me. [description deleted]
* AC/OS. [description deleted]
* Nick Carr's Rough Type. [description deleted]
* Jonathan Schwartz's blog. [description deleted]
* Infectious Greed by Paul Kedrosky. [description deleted]
* Zack Urlocker's Open Force. [description deleted]
* O'Reilly Radar. [description deleted]
* Stephen Walli's blog ("Once more into the breach.") [description deleted]
There are a few more that I've either just started to track (like Mark de Visser's blog focusing on open source marketing and Stephen O'Grady's Tecosystems), or only sporadically track (like ZDNet's Between the Lines, which is filled with a lot of stuff that I don't care about), but that's pretty much the core list.
As far as news feeds, I subscribe to Linux Today, The Register (Hilarious and cynical), BusinessWeek, eWeek Linux, and a few others. But I can get the news anywhere - I like the commentary-style RSS feeds the most.
[snip: he goes on to mention blogs he used to read.]
Posted by Matt Asay on December 28, 2005 02:42 PM
And now...my comment that I posted there a few minutes ago:
This is why I coined the term "bloatosphere", to describe the legit, valuable blogs, plus the blubbery wastelands of pseudo blogs, con blogs, link farms, character blogs, drivel blogs, and blogoid objects (sites that claim to be blogs, but have few genuine blog characteristics, like comments).
I don't use a feed reader, though I do have the Firefox extension, the Wizz RSS 2.0.4, just no need to use it yet.
"Blogrolls, the new feed reader," as Evan Williams recently said.
I only visit a handful of blogs with any regularity. I have many blogs in my blogroll, but just so it's easy to visit them when I might rarely need to.
That's okay. Most telephone numbers are worthless to me, too.
steven streight aka vaspers the grate
11:44 PM, Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Posted by steven edward streight at 12/28/2005 11:19:00 PM