Phil Sim

Web, media, PR and… footy

The Blogosphere needs a bigger tail

I’ve written more than a couple of unkind, some would say uneducated things, about the blogosphere in my time, which I’m sure I’ll write about all over again, now that I’m “outside of the firewall” as Mark Jones puts it.

I tend to equate the blogosphere to the coffee houses of past decades, where the intelligentsia would sit about philosophising about all things great and small. While a lot of great ideas, movements, etc came out of that culture for the most part it was insular and so is the blogosphere. Collective intellectual masturbation, might be another way of describing it.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing (you know you do it). In fact I think the “conversation” (which I personally think would be a much better collective noun than the awful blogosphere phrase) is an amazing things. But few of my peers in the mainstream media are really shaking in their boots over the likely impact that all this blogging, in its current iteration is going to have on their businesses.

I read an interesting article today on VentureBlog called Where’s the Money in The Long Tail? which posits that content aggregation and filtering is where the money is at. The thing that is inherent to the long tail, though, is the value of the content. Amazon, Netflix, etc have great long tail prospects because even when you get down to niche tastes/interests the content (ie music, films, books) is still of high quality.

When it comes to web content, a lot of your niche content is still shithouse. If it wasn’t big media houses would be packing themselves. If every journalist got up and packed up their desk and went and started professionally blogging on their particular niche’s of interest, you’d instanty transform the blogosphere into a thriving, dynamic organism that would have the mainstream media companies washing out the collective brown stain in their underpants.
The problem, of course, is journalists get paid a lot more money working for the man and writing about the things that the man thinks are important (ie what will generate revenue). Consequently, most quality content on the Internet is focused around mainstream media hot buttons and not disparate, niche topics of interest.

And the blogosphere isn’t all that different – the tech blogosphere is dynamic, interesting, vibrant, but once you start veering off to other niche areas, the ‘conversation’ is far less compelling. Sure, there are random, quality blogs on all matters of subjects, but you don’t get that quality of conversation that you do in the tech or politics space. Is it little wonder that memeorandum hasn’t branched off into other areas?

What the blogosphere/internet needs is a much bigger, wagging, long-tail. Because there’s little point in aggregating or filtering dull, non-credible content. For that to happen, there needs to be a better revenue model behind blogs, so that more journalists/content experts/enthusiasts will devote more of their time to blogging and creating quality content. I’ll make that the subject of tomorrow’s blog.


Filed under: Blogs, Long Tail

10 Responses

  1. Gabe says:

    Well said. I agree. And I think I may be able to squeeze out a few more memeorandum sections, but the tail will indeed need to grow for dozens or hundreds to work. (And I pity anyone sinking resources into a true long tail blog aggregator. Sorry, it’s 2005, too early!)

    Hmm…aggregators raping and pilaging blog communities? Guess I’ll have to check back here to find it that includes me!

  2. Phil Sim says:

    Gabe, very impressed with memeorandum as a service. Have no idea how you’re going to make any money out of it, so I guess that makes you a true Web 2.0 company!!

    You don’t rape, because your bloggers want you. Boy, do they want you bad. And you don’t pillage, because as far as I can see your not profitting yet. So I guess that counts you out on both front. Sorry.

  3. […] But then things started to go awry. Mark Jones kindly welcomed me to the blogosphere and a bunch of my journo pals subsequently pop in to say hello. Monty adds me to his blogroll. Then memeorandum’s Gabe drops by. Wow, that’s cool. Then as noted in a prior post I get “scobleized” or “scobled” (who the hell has a verb, no make that two verbs, named after then) and next thing I know Squash gets a guernsey on memeorandum.   […]

  4. Phil Sim says:

    Wow, I pinged myself.

  5. I think all that the non-tech/pol niches need is a “front page” to define them as a coherent community. I am sure bloggers who are in Memeorandum’s whitelist link more to each other these days simply because that gives them more chance of being linked on Memeorandum.

    It’s a virtuous/vicious circle, depending on your POV. Or a cyclotron, in Larry Page’s terminology. Build it, and the cyclotron will come.

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