May 6, 2008

msm vs blogs

I know there's supposed to be this revolution going on - main stream media (MSM) being replaced by many long tail, niche blogs but my Bloglines RSS feeds suggest otherwise. I'm going the other way. I'm guessing 80% of my feeds are now MSM versus something like 50% a year ago.

I sense there are a few issues that have driven this.

1. MSM sites generally stay on topic. Bloggers are whimsical. At some point they stray onto a topic that either I don't care about or they don't have any credentials that let me know they are worth reading. Pretty much everything I've read on the Yahoo-Microsoft failed merger has been painfully wrong. Most of it written by people who have never been involved in a merger. Unsubscribe.

2. Blogs are generally snarky by nature. You have a bad day or you have a beef with something or a bad hangover and it usually shows up on the blog. MSM institutions have editors that tell you to go home. I can only take so much snarkiness because it generally means 'unobjective'. Unsubscribe.

3. Bloggers are probably more narcissistic than journalists on average. They have, in effect, their own newspaper. This can lead to bloated egos or, worse, attention whoring. With financial blogs in particular you can see this evolution over time. Let's say someone is bearish on the economy. The readers who naturally congregate are bearish too. Then the author starts posting more bearish commentary to the exclusion of anything positive because that's what the readers want to hear. The readers cheer from the comments section. Then the author starts to bash and belittle individuals or companies who they see as being the cause of this weak economy. The readers turn into a mob. At the end the blog just keeps moving farther and farther away from any objectivity. Unsubscribe.

4. Finally, while the subscription numbers for newspapers and TV are pretty bad, the halflife for a blog seems to be 1 year. 50% of bloggers just can't keep it up for that long. I'm certainly slowing down. In the MSM you fire that guy and hire someone new. Blogs just end up being frozen in time except for the occasional comment asking if they are still alive. Unsubscribe.

I'm not sure if this is just me or a global event. I probably don't know what I'm talking about or perhaps I'm just in a bad mood. You might consider unsubscribing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your theory about the inability for a sole author to sustain things for a long time is a good one. Some group blogs can fare better, but similar fades can happen.

Maybe it all comes down to incentive. Bloggers are incentivized by their readership, by money from advertising, by the standing they gain in some community, or some combiantion of the above. Not a lot of bloggers make enough money at it to sustain, which leaves the other non-monetary incentives. Maybe those just aren't enough to keep things going over time.

Also, as I said in a post about storytelling, other channels have arrived that support the motivations for bloggers, and so they switch channels to minimize effort. I am a case in point. :-)