Content commodities

Steven Hodson is so bored with blogging that he wrote a blog all about it. Heh. I feel Steven’s pain. Instead of blogging about it I just hung out all weekend with my sons and a raft of great bloggers. You’d know that already if you read Twitter (the other way to spend time when you’re bored with blogging).

Which brings me to the title of this post. After reading feeds for the past few hours and doing my link blog I’ve come back to an observation I’ve made a few times over the past few months: great content is now a commodity.

We have too much great content. Heck, I’ve been slowing down my feed reading and blogging and I’m still awash in great content.

In just the past hour I’ve put up about 24 really good blog posts and I’m not even close to being through my feeds.

And much of what gets onto my link blog never shows up on TechMeme, Digg, Google News, Slashdot, or any of the other places that one can find aggregations of tech news and such.

So, now that we’re awash in great blogs and other news, what does that all mean?

Well, it’s getting harder to get noticed. I have seen this problem in companies. Where it used to be just fine to get one blogger to talk about you (remember how CoComment launched? I was the only blogger to do that and they got tens of thousands of people to sign up for their beta in the first day. Today, to get onto Techmeme you need to have dozens of bloggers writing about you. TechCrunch MIGHT get you that coverage, but you can’t count on that, so you need a group of blogs to write about you, all at one time.

What does it mean for bloggers themselves? Getting noticed is tougher. Which is why I am seeing more growth lately in Twitter. People want to be heard and what’s the most likely way that you’ll get heard? Join Twitter, where thousands of people are hanging out all day long? Or write a blog where you aren’t sure anyone even sees it? I see the answer, even though Twitter is causing its own commodification to happen.

One way I dealt with competing with commodity thinking? My link blog. I figure if everyone is going to write great content once in a while I might as well create a publication of my own. Turns out that has pretty good value. FastCompany is using it. It’s being reprinted over on Twitter, and on Facebook, and I’m finding some other venues to make even more value out of it.

Another way? Do a video interview every day. On Friday I put up a video with the CEO of MyQuire.com who was getting ready for Demo when he came over to Half Moon Bay for a conversation about his project-management tool. It’s amazing the people I’ve met in a year and had conversations with.

I wonder who’ll come into my life this week?

Anyway, that’s just a long way to tell Steven that if you’re getting bored with all the noise then get out there and find some way to separate out the wheat from the chaff and/or find a way to bring more smart people into my life (and, hence, yours).

36 thoughts on “Content commodities

  1. Pingback: SmoothSpan Blog
  2. BS as usual.

    The reason why you keep bringing Techmeme daily is because it serves you well, not because the content of your link blog (in reality, not a link blog, but theft of someone else’s content).

    Besides this, Techmeme has never linked to a non English post or article. That kind of speaks volume of what Techmeme really is.

  3. BS as usual.

    The reason why you keep bringing Techmeme daily is because it serves you well, not because the content of your link blog (in reality, not a link blog, but theft of someone else’s content).

    Besides this, Techmeme has never linked to a non English post or article. That kind of speaks volume of what Techmeme really is.

  4. Luke: I agree that sucks. It’s why I add everyone automatically to Twitter.

    Dawn: I’ve met a ton of normal (IE, non tech industry people) on Twitter. Heck, even the head of the Omaha Public Library is on there. My brother owns a bar and is on MySpace (Maryam/Milan’s nurse says she uses MySpace too).

    But I agree that all of this stuff is still lacking and is still too geeky.

    You should check out the video of Zude, which I’ll have up later this week, and see what you think of that.

  5. Luke: I agree that sucks. It’s why I add everyone automatically to Twitter.

    Dawn: I’ve met a ton of normal (IE, non tech industry people) on Twitter. Heck, even the head of the Omaha Public Library is on there. My brother owns a bar and is on MySpace (Maryam/Milan’s nurse says she uses MySpace too).

    But I agree that all of this stuff is still lacking and is still too geeky.

    You should check out the video of Zude, which I’ll have up later this week, and see what you think of that.

  6. Robert, I do understand you. But most people aren’t you. You do this as a living and your living is in the technology world, as are most of your friends, I’d wager. So blogging and twittering and having 3,000 friends on facebook is a natural part of your everyday personal and business life, and all these activities enhance and feed off of and support all of it.

    What about accountants? Or retail store managers? Or Firemen?

    It makes perfect sense that technical people can get the most out of technical things that they themselves built and are building. It makes sense that you guys are the ones who are most passionate about it. I just think that everyday social communication for the common person isn’t yet being provided for well. Blogging, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter…none of it is right for me.

  7. Robert, I do understand you. But most people aren’t you. You do this as a living and your living is in the technology world, as are most of your friends, I’d wager. So blogging and twittering and having 3,000 friends on facebook is a natural part of your everyday personal and business life, and all these activities enhance and feed off of and support all of it.

    What about accountants? Or retail store managers? Or Firemen?

    It makes perfect sense that technical people can get the most out of technical things that they themselves built and are building. It makes sense that you guys are the ones who are most passionate about it. I just think that everyday social communication for the common person isn’t yet being provided for well. Blogging, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter…none of it is right for me.

  8. I started following several people on twitter and then wanted to reply to something they said but since they do not follow me I could not reply. If other people are up against this same thing, I could see where they might get bored for the opposite reason.

    On my blog I talk and no one replies, on twitter everyone else talks and I cannot reply.

  9. I started following several people on twitter and then wanted to reply to something they said but since they do not follow me I could not reply. If other people are up against this same thing, I could see where they might get bored for the opposite reason.

    On my blog I talk and no one replies, on twitter everyone else talks and I cannot reply.

  10. Dawn: because we’ve learned it saves us time in our personal relationships. I had a bunch of my friends over this weekend and we didn’t need to cover the usual BS that friends need to cover: what’s happening in the family, at work, etc. Every one of them already KNEW all that stuff so we were able to get right to the high value bits that really make strong friendships and strong businesses.

    Not to mention that many of my best friends are there BECAUSE I share so much about my life: I’ve attracted people who like the same things I do, which GREATLY has improved my life and given me experiences I’d never have had if I just wrote press releases for a living, or something dreary and dreadful like that.

  11. Dawn: because we’ve learned it saves us time in our personal relationships. I had a bunch of my friends over this weekend and we didn’t need to cover the usual BS that friends need to cover: what’s happening in the family, at work, etc. Every one of them already KNEW all that stuff so we were able to get right to the high value bits that really make strong friendships and strong businesses.

    Not to mention that many of my best friends are there BECAUSE I share so much about my life: I’ve attracted people who like the same things I do, which GREATLY has improved my life and given me experiences I’d never have had if I just wrote press releases for a living, or something dreary and dreadful like that.

  12. I think people’s expectations are too high when it comes to blogging. What does it matter if 50 or 500 or 5000 people read your blog unless you’re wanting to turn it into a business? For the vast majority of people, that’s never going to happen.

    I write my blog mostly to keep a small circle of people up to date on SOME of the things I’m thinking and doing. I suppose I could do that with Facebook, but for me, Facebook is too “busy”…too much stuff I care absolutely zero about.

    I’m not an exhibitionist. And I don’t want thousands of people knowing my every move, my every thought. Frankly, I don’t understand why so many of you out there want that.

    If we open ourselves up to endless information, then there isn’t enough time to do anything productive with it. So what’s the point? It becomes just another ego-driven exercise in futility.

  13. I think people’s expectations are too high when it comes to blogging. What does it matter if 50 or 500 or 5000 people read your blog unless you’re wanting to turn it into a business? For the vast majority of people, that’s never going to happen.

    I write my blog mostly to keep a small circle of people up to date on SOME of the things I’m thinking and doing. I suppose I could do that with Facebook, but for me, Facebook is too “busy”…too much stuff I care absolutely zero about.

    I’m not an exhibitionist. And I don’t want thousands of people knowing my every move, my every thought. Frankly, I don’t understand why so many of you out there want that.

    If we open ourselves up to endless information, then there isn’t enough time to do anything productive with it. So what’s the point? It becomes just another ego-driven exercise in futility.

  14. Brent: it used to be a lot easier to get the attention of said blogger. I know I can’t answer more than about 10% of my email anymore. That didn’t used to be the case. And, leaving a comment is even less likely to get you specific attention than it used to be.

  15. Brent: it used to be a lot easier to get the attention of said blogger. I know I can’t answer more than about 10% of my email anymore. That didn’t used to be the case. And, leaving a comment is even less likely to get you specific attention than it used to be.

  16. If the entire focus for someone to blog is just to get noticed, then those blogs will eventually dry up and disappear. Yes, there is an enormous amount of great content out there. But what adds value is one’s personal experience in relation to what they’re writing about or referencing.

    If someone is bored blogging, either they’re not passionate about what they’re blogging about, or they’re simply recycling other people’s posts (of many who are already recycling other people’s posts, and so on, and so on).

    If you’re passionate about your topic, don’t worry about getting noticed. Eventually things will shake out, and the truly passionate voices will rise back to the top.

    Myself — I’m still trying to clarify my true passion, so many of my posts are more general than I’d like. But I’m going to keep plugging away, and eventually my voice will take shape. When I first started, I worried about being noticed, but I realized that even if I wrote for just myself, and continually plugged away at it, it would eventually shape out, and if and when I start getting traffic, I’d have a lot of content for people to catch up with.

  17. If the entire focus for someone to blog is just to get noticed, then those blogs will eventually dry up and disappear. Yes, there is an enormous amount of great content out there. But what adds value is one’s personal experience in relation to what they’re writing about or referencing.

    If someone is bored blogging, either they’re not passionate about what they’re blogging about, or they’re simply recycling other people’s posts (of many who are already recycling other people’s posts, and so on, and so on).

    If you’re passionate about your topic, don’t worry about getting noticed. Eventually things will shake out, and the truly passionate voices will rise back to the top.

    Myself — I’m still trying to clarify my true passion, so many of my posts are more general than I’d like. But I’m going to keep plugging away, and eventually my voice will take shape. When I first started, I worried about being noticed, but I realized that even if I wrote for just myself, and continually plugged away at it, it would eventually shape out, and if and when I start getting traffic, I’d have a lot of content for people to catch up with.

  18. Part of the problem is that we read a good blog, say to ourselves, “That’s something I should be doing!” and Wham! – another mental brick of a commitment to carry around. We need better tools – mostly philosophical – to survive in this suddenly changed information climate.

  19. Part of the problem is that we read a good blog, say to ourselves, “That’s something I should be doing!” and Wham! – another mental brick of a commitment to carry around. We need better tools – mostly philosophical – to survive in this suddenly changed information climate.

  20. Writing is writing is writing. It doesn’t matter the medium used, it’s difficult to do well. We keep relearning this simple fact.

    When word processors came out, we all thought we could write the next great American novel. Nope, writing well is hard.

    Blogs are like word processors — just another way to write. But this way, we get to display our incompetence to the world, if it would just listen.

    You’re right. There is a lot of good content, but even it gets scanned and skimmed. Who has time to read it all?

    I disagree that it’s hard to get noticed. After all, all I had to do was find a certain big-name blogger, leave a comment on his blog, and guess what — I get noticed. But how many of those who visit my blog will come back to read it again…

    As I said, writing well is hard.

  21. Writing is writing is writing. It doesn’t matter the medium used, it’s difficult to do well. We keep relearning this simple fact.

    When word processors came out, we all thought we could write the next great American novel. Nope, writing well is hard.

    Blogs are like word processors — just another way to write. But this way, we get to display our incompetence to the world, if it would just listen.

    You’re right. There is a lot of good content, but even it gets scanned and skimmed. Who has time to read it all?

    I disagree that it’s hard to get noticed. After all, all I had to do was find a certain big-name blogger, leave a comment on his blog, and guess what — I get noticed. But how many of those who visit my blog will come back to read it again…

    As I said, writing well is hard.

  22. Just signed up for the linkblog last week. I’m used to my GReader being “manageable” on the weekends, but no more. Still, I’m quite happy to let you do the searching! The reason it’s harder to get found is because most people, myself included, don’t have time to link through blogs and blogrolls and pingbacks etc. just to find new stuff (to fill up our already filled readers). Maybe I’m lazy, but I also have work to do and my own blogging to get done. So the linkblog has worked out great.
    Also, I’ve been thinking of starting my own linkblog, well two actually, one for the non web people in my office (i.e things you should read) and another one to help evangelize Micro-Fiction. I didn’t realize how easy it is, but I wish Google would give you more interface options.

  23. Just signed up for the linkblog last week. I’m used to my GReader being “manageable” on the weekends, but no more. Still, I’m quite happy to let you do the searching! The reason it’s harder to get found is because most people, myself included, don’t have time to link through blogs and blogrolls and pingbacks etc. just to find new stuff (to fill up our already filled readers). Maybe I’m lazy, but I also have work to do and my own blogging to get done. So the linkblog has worked out great.
    Also, I’ve been thinking of starting my own linkblog, well two actually, one for the non web people in my office (i.e things you should read) and another one to help evangelize Micro-Fiction. I didn’t realize how easy it is, but I wish Google would give you more interface options.

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