Monday, August 23, 2010

De-evolution of online content? Bloggers, put on your energy domes!

Don't tell Dave Winer, but I've been engaging in conversation in the comments section of a Louis Gray blog post on, of all things, a perceived decrease in online interaction.

Specifically, I've been trading comments with Steven Pickering. In the course of our conversation, he made the following assertion:

These systems that we are so proud of are devolving the quality of content. Book->Magazine->Blog->Tweet/FB Update->Check In seems like a de evolution in quality of content.

Expanding on this thought, Pickering stated:

Heck I just a few years ago we all though blog posts were a joke. And they were a joke compared to books and even long, well thought out magazine articles. Now our attention spans have shrunk so much, a blog post like this or Leo's comes along and we hail it as Moses coming down the Mountain.

Pickering's intent, incidentally, wasn't to criticize Gray or Laporte for their posts, but it was just an observation that such a blog post would have seemed ordinary a few short years ago.

At first glance, Pickering's assertion seems to coincide with the facts. Where is the excitement in the tech press these days? It sure isn't about a shiny new blogging platform, as the term "blogging" is commonly understood.

But if our online capabilities are devolving, why? In another comment, I made the following assertion:

Stephen, if your thesis is correct, perhaps this is because social media has moved past the early adopter stage, not because of the design of social media per se. Perhaps those who joined Twitter in its early stages were more likely to be content creators, while those who are joining Twitter now are more likely to be content consumers.

Or if not merely content consumers, perhaps clickers - people who check in and do little more.

But what of the people who decide, today, that they want to engage in long-form blogging? What are the wise pundits saying about present-day blogging? Jennifer Horowitz shared these statistics (among others):

All of the stats are courtesy of “2009 State of the Blogosphere by Technorati”

* More than 133,000,000 blogs have been indexed by Technorati since 2002
* 60% [of bloggers] are 18-44
* 75% have college degrees and 40% have graduate degrees
* One in four has an annual household income of $100K+
* Around half of Bloggers are working on at least their second blog
* 68% have been blogging for two years or more
* 86% have been blogging for at least a year
* 57% say that their future plans include blogging even more (including 74% of 18-24 year olds).
* Part-Timers, Pros, and Self-Employed Bloggers are blogging as much as or more than ever (73%, 76% and 80%, respectively), while Hobbyists are blogging somewhat less.
* 15% of Bloggers spend 10 or more hours each week blogging.
* One in five Bloggers report updating on a daily basis.
* The most common rate of updating is 2-3 times per week.

Meanwhile, gapingvoid made the following assertion:

No, it’s not too late to start blogging. “But the Blogosphere is so crowded now, it’s too late to get first-mover advantage”, I hear you say. Perhaps. But it’s only crowded in the middle and the bottom. There’s always plenty of room at the top. People’s need to be informed and inspired by the good stuff is insatiable. But, as I implied, it has to be good, it has to be more than good in order to get there. Nobody has time for mediocre drek. The world is just too interesting and competitive now.
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