Category Archives: Bloggy Mountain High

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).

TechMeme list heralds death of blogging?

I was just looking at the TechMeme Top 100 List and noticed that it has very few bloggers on it — I can only see about 12 real blogs on that list. Blogging being defined as “single voice of a person.” Most of the things on the list are now done by teams of journalists — that isn’t blogging anymore in my book. TechCrunch just hired a professional journalist which is sort of funny cause when I started blogging I never expected blogging to become a business, just a way to share what was going on in my life.

But there’s a bigger trend I’m seeing: people who used to enjoy blogging their lives are now moving to Twitter. Andrew Parker punctuates that trend with a post “Twitter is ruining my blogging.” I find that to be the case too and when I talked about this on Twitter a raft of people chimed in and agreed that they are blogging a lot less now that Twitter is here.

Personally the list business is just lame anyway. When I consult with companies I tell them to forget about the “A list” and go for people who are passionate about their products. Word gets around when you’re talking with your customers in a new way anyway. It’s one reason why I am watching 5,900 Twitterers. That’s MY “A list.” Why don’t you join? I automatically follow anyone following me now.

UPDATED: Gabe Rivera just released the TechMeme Top 100 list and explains it.

Apple releases new stuff, new blog search engine opens

Some guy named Steve Jobs was on stage this morning announcing stuff for some computer company in Cupertino. Didn’t ya hear? I know none of the blogs were covering it, right? ;-)

Anyway,  I was just talking with Greg Hartnett, president of Best of the Web. He’s an Apple fan, by the way. But that’s not why we’re talking here. They just turned on a new blog search engine and directory. Now, how does this differ from Technorati?

It has far fewer blogs in it. Huh? All the blogs were hand picked by 69 editors.

So, let’s go to Technorati and do a search for “Steve Jobs”. 65,168 posts. Pretty good, but there is some spam there on the first page. Particularly one post named “Bill Gates Wants to Be Steve Jobs” is repeated several times.

Do the same “Steve Jobs” search on Best of the Web and it only finds 174 results. Now, that might sound like a mismatch, but the Best of the Web searches are often higher signal.

Anyway, I need to try it more to see if it’ll be a significant competitor for my blog search time with Technorati/Feedster/IceRocket/and all the other blog search engines.

So far I think this one needs more work, but it shows some promise. What do you think? The engine is here: http://blogs.botw.org/.

Update: I’ve done a few more searches and early returns on my comments show that this isn’t ready for prime time. It shows that blog search is hard to do.

$300 for blog

Last night, when I got home from the radio interview, Maryam had left the TV on and right when I got in the door (seriously, I wish I could make this stuff up) Who Wants To Be a Millionaire was asking some guy the $300 question: “what is the word “blog” a name for?” The guy had to ask the audience cause he wasn’t sure. 90% knew that blog was short for “weblog.” Wild. Five years ago no one knew what blog meant and now 90% of a general TV audience knows.

Along these lines, BusinessWeek has an interview with Mena Trott about the Future of the Blog. Heck, I remember when Mena came to one of my geek dinners back when she was unemployed and just playing around with this blog thing. That was less than five years ago. Now they have 120 or so employees and are off to the races trying to build a world-class company. Well done Mena! We all forget just how bad things were for geeks five years ago.