Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Building a New Blog and A-Listers Redux

Kent Newsome writes an interesting article about Why It's Impossible to Build a New Blog in 2006 . In it he writes:
"First, to have a successful blog, just like any other web site, you need readers."

Perhaps this sounds overly-idealistic, however 'success' is in the eye of the beholder. The blog I post to for family photos and family info is successful to me with only maybe 5 readers (click here to be the 6th! ;)). Indeed people may write to a blog to document things for posterity only; a kind of place to make an 'I was here' record for future generations to see. I have read many blogs which were not necessarily addressed to the general public or which did not have any intent of building readership. And many of them were interesting. I'm not sure success can be so neatly described by readership numbers or the intent to build and grow readership numbers.

But as I discussed with Kent and others back in July , I'm one of those who would sure appreciate more readers, but doesn't depend on it. I still feel the same way. However the really interesting point made by Kent this time is:
"...So you get the haves linking to one another (and largely only to one another) and ignoring (or at best tolerating) the have nots, in an effort to boost their status and, perhaps more importantly, protect their shares of the readership pie. Anyone who argues this isn't true hasn't spent much time surfing around the blogosphere."

So maybe in the same way that blogging zealots (and I don't mean that in a derogatory way) talk about 'routing around the mainstream media', the have-nots should be routing around the so-called A-listers. More and more, I find myself avoiding many of the mainstream top level blogs and using search feeds from IceRocket and the like to find more non-mainstream info. This is NOT a subconscious thing, I do it on purpose. I want to find out what the B and C-list bloggers are saying about topics that interest me and I search them out specifically. Sure there's chaff in amongst the wheat, but the wheat is damn good when you find it. I find myself getting tired of (maybe bored is the better word) reading the same people day in day out.

Although the big promise of opml-ized 'reading lists' will undoubtedly mean that not only can you read the same people every day, but you can read the same people that they're reading... every day. That doesn't sound like something that will interest me.

With the proliferation of blogs I agree that dreams of creating the next Instapundit or BoingBoing are misplaced for sure, but they can still be very worthwhile and rewarding. Anything that gets people to read, write and use their brains is rewarding. Being read by hundreds or thousands is a side benefit I think.