Why Is the Blogosphere So Lame?

The blog — once full of affinity, originality, and creativity — is now filled to the brim with animosity, mediocrity, and futility. So what happened? What has become of the blogosphere that I once knew and thoroughly enjoyed?

Going back a few years ago, it was not uncommon for yours truly to read hundreds of different blogs in a single day. It was amazing to have the opportunity to read a myriad of unique perspectives that I never had been exposed to before. Everyone had something to say, and everything they said was interesting. As such, clicking that “subscribe” button was incredibly addictive — at one point, I had thousands of RSS subscriptions. Unfortunately, though, something changed.

No longer am I excited by what I see. The novelty of the blogosphere fell through. In fact, I haven’t felt compelled to subscribe to a blog for what seems to be an eternity. With much sadness, the “subscribe” button no longer exists in my mind. The “unsubscribe” button has become my best friend.

How can this be? There must be some sort of explanation, right?

 

One and the Same

Well one of the reasons is fairly simple and obvious: it’s all the same.

If we read it on one blog, we can be sure that we will read the same thing on another blog. If it’s technology related, from CNET it will eventually end up on Engadget, Gizmodo, Ars Technica, TechCrunch, TechDirt, Techmeme, and so on. If it’s political, from CNN it’ll eventually end up on Politico, DailyKos, ThingProgress, and who knows where else. The same rings true for most other subject matters. In some sense, it is different. In another sense, it is all very much the same.

This makes me feel that all these blogs I once used to know and love are now becoming an epic waste of time. It makes me question if I should remove everything and subscribe to only one or two reliable sources of news. Why couldn’t I be satisfied with less (like newspapers; back when there was no Internet)? After all, it’s clearly obvious that I wouldn’t be missing out.

 

Quality (or lack thereof)

We all know that page views are what make the Web go ‘round. Unfortunately, though, the desire for page views has resulted in bloggers finding ways to exploit attention. More page views equals more potential profits and subscriptions. Sure, it’s good in theory — we would be getting more of the same great quality that we all know and love — but it doesn’t seem to work that way in reality.

So damn the quality! Quantity wins this race. Multiply post counts, and eventually enough eyeballs will view this content — good or bad — to squeeze out a few pennies from AdSense or click on that subscription button. No wonder why quality has suffered over the years.

But the sad thing is that there is a gem or two hidden throughout this vast complex of endless junk. The problem is that it’s damn near impossible to find them.

Yet some argue that we all must become curators: that people will solve the problem at hand while helping others find new and interesting content. Unfortunately, real-time curation could be a full-time job — just ask Digg, Reddit, Twitter, and others — and that is a job that I don’t necessarily want. After all, I thought that the Internet was supposed to help reduce the amount of mindless work that we were required to do, not add to it.

In the end, however, it doesn’t matter.

 

An Era of Unoriginality

Not only has quality suffered throughout the blogosphere, originality has been swept under the rug too.

The Web is full of content, sure, but much of it isn’t original. For example: take a look at a few of the largest blogs on the Web — they rarely produce original content. They repackage and distribute someone else’s content as their own. And here we thought that the Web was supposed to promote creativity and originality! Yet what we are left with is rehash after rehash of content.

That is bad enough, but what is even more sad is when these bloggers fail to voice a unique opinion on said repackaged content. Instead of relating it to their own life or experiences — thus showing how it could relate to our own lives — they tend to pick a side that is already prevalent and roll with that. So the whole idea of a blog’s existence (i.e. acting as a media to express one’s own thoughts) is, in fact, nullified.

And then there is the heartbreaking reality that it is so difficult to discover a blogger who produces original content these days. It is these bloggers, however, that need to be discovered to keep the blogosphere moving forward.

Sure, this is the harsh reality that has become of the blogosphere, which is something many bloggers won’t like to hear, but it is this trend that will continue for a long time.

It’s too late for me. The blogosphere, at least in my mind, is dying. Sure, there will always be blogs and big-time bloggers, but the appeal that the blogosphere once had over me (and perhaps others) is gone. My confidence in bloggers being able to restore this appeal is fading. How others will handle this degradation of the blogosphere is also up for question.

Regardless, I will still write, read, and comment on blogs. I will still keep in mind that there are great bloggers out there who are worth reading. I will still leave a little room in my heart and soul that there will be a blogging revolution in the future. But at this time and for the unforeseen future, I am disappointed with what the blogosphere has become.

Written by James Mowery

James Mowery is a passionate technology journalist and entrepreneur who has written for various top-tier publications like Mashable and CMSWire. Follow him on Twitter: @JMowery.
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5 Comments »

 
#1
deb dulal dey
September 23rd, 2010 at 4:18 am

It is nice to dear but I am sorry that I cannot agree with your point of view. Blogsphere is churning out content that is compelling, interesting, engaging and worth of reading. Obviously, you should not confine it to some popular free blogging platforms, in fact, I fear you are also a part of this emerging trend. Let me know what you are thinking about it.

 
 
#2
James Mowery
September 23rd, 2010 at 10:39 am

@deb

There is quality out there in the blogosphere. No one is arguing against that. But finding it is the problem. It’s a hassle to sift through all the crap we are subjected to in order to find a single golden nugget. Many of the bloggers I have followed for years are now resorting to publishing more content at the cost of quality.

Of course, there is quality content out there. But on the grand scale of things, the quality has been suffering. It’s why we rely on sites like TechMeme, Digg, Reddit, and others to help us find the good stuff, because so much of it is just horrible.

This is why the majority of blogs are getting paid pennies per click for their content.

But I am well aware that there are great bloggers out there. There are bloggers who deserve books to be published for them and about them. But finding them is so difficult, and I don’t have the time nor energy to seek them out. I have a feeling that many people are of the same opinion.

Even Robert Scoble has forgone dedicated RSS subscriptions and utilizes Twitter instead. He has said that he primarily relies on other people’s recommendations for content and the occasional Twitter feeds. And it is getting to the point where I am doing that too.

 
 
#3
Ben
September 25th, 2010 at 11:29 am

That’s what I love about Techi… “Always Fresh and Never Boring”:) Unlike TechCrunch, Engadget, etc.

 
 
#4
alex
September 29th, 2010 at 6:42 pm

Where is the pie chart from, or the numbers? I assume there is a credible source behind it.

 
 
#5
John Farrier
October 25th, 2010 at 2:08 pm

The blogosphere, at least in my mind, is dying. Sure, there will always be blogs and big-time bloggers, but the appeal that the blogosphere once had over me (and perhaps others) is gone. My confidence in bloggers being able to restore this appeal is fading. How others will handle this degradation of the blogosphere is also up for question.

I recall encountering predictions like this, and for the exact same reasons, in 2003, then again in 2006.

 

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