Thursday, September 07, 2006

Weeding the garden and fighting boredom

Kent Newsome is bored with the blogosphere and puts it a lot of it down to the self-aggrandizing echo chamber that it's seemingly become (in the areas he frequents anyway). For the most part I agree. In fact if you take a broader look at my blog posts you'll likely see that my focus has been on learning, providing interesting info, and exploring the avenues that interest me. High-horse conversations about web 2.0 and the latest goings on in the blogo-podo-sphere bored me quite a while ago. I still post about them if something piques my interest, but by and large I have been in a more selfish learning/sharing mode for the last little while.

I've thought about whether or not my current interests and posting habits have lost me any readers and I've decided that's not the key thing for me. I'd rather be interested about what I post and read by two people than be bored and read by ten. In any case, checking my simplistic site stats it appears my readership has remained the same but the portion of visitors on Linux has increased (not surprised) and overtaken the Mac contingent which has correspondingly decreased. But it's the 'not being bored' part that's important.

Just to contribute a couple of complaints to go along with Kent's:

- I'm tired of reading blogposts that constantly self-reference and promote. I'm not talking about sites that reference past useful articles. I mean things like re-linking to past quotes that the writer thinks were so wonderful and insightful. I'm never sure if they honestly think these things are useful to the reader or if they really have no humility whatsoever.

- I (like Kent) am on the verge of unsubscribing from a few blogs. I've been mulling it over for a while. I'm thinking of keeping blogs that provide useful information, blogs that provide interesting, funny, and personal content, and one or two current event blogs.  Self-promoting, humility-free, 'Look at me I'm f*&!$# great' blogs will fall by the wayside shortly.

- I usually try to see the angle that a blogger is coming from with his posts so that I can better interpret what I'm reading. It's pretty easy to see when posts are coming out truly out of interest or with goals of self-promotion in mind. I'm getting tired of reading about 'what wonderful things I did today'. Is the post trying to share some truly useful information with me, or is it just letting me know how great it is to be them? Doc Searls for instance has a magical way of providing interesting and thoughtful information about things he's finding out. He meets a ton of great people, but his posts are about the things he's learned and wants to share, not about how great it is that he met them. It's so funny to listen to him on the Gilmor Gang, because he sometimes seems like a smart, friendly goldfish swimming with a school of sharks.

Interestingly, my recent interest in Linux and open-source  has put me in a place largely (not completely) free of the aforementioned nitpicks. It is almost all about helping others, learning and sharing information, creativity and tech. It seems to be very little about making money and self-promotion.

I'm always truly surprised when I see the depth of conversation going on in other, completely different areas of the web. The Web 2.0/Tech/Valley scene is really so tiny when you venture out and see how many other, less shiny, but more interesting things are going on.


Kate said...

Hear hear. I pop into techno blogs now & then, but, interestingly enough, not the Big Name ones. I go to the ones who will give me information I am specifically looking for (via google), and often put them into a little list of "this is a good place to get answers or good discussion". But there are entirely different spheres of blogging than the technoblogs which seem to be thriving quite happily and provide interesting info or amusement or personal stories. Those are my blogs of choice, generally.