NAVEL LINT

Julie Neidlinger ponders the nature of the blogosphere:

I’ve noticed that the posts of mine that are my original content (i.e. what’s happening here, local news covered only by moi, etc.) get less linkage/comment than the posts where I do a rant on some newspaper article, or some political topic, or maybe a movie critique…you get the idea. Universal appeal, those subjects must have.

So here’s a question: Is the Blogosphere populated mainly by naval gazers?

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The thing about blogs that really makes me get worked up is that everyone is a news source. Their life is a topic. Events in their location are stories. The whole nine-yards. That seems to be more the strength than same-linking same-articles, I think. Or merely commenting/critiquing something that someone else wrote all of the time.

This is an interesting observation, although I’m not sure it’s really true.

Almost by definition, topics that interest a lot of blog readers are going to be the topics that everyone is writing about. After all, most bloggers are blog readers.

The flip side of this rule is that things that are written and not of wide interest won’t get linked very much and thus won’t get noticed. The exception to this rule are things that interest Glenn Reynolds or a handful of other really high-traffic blogs. Because they are the Grand Central Stations of the blogosphere, where virtually everyone stops at some point, almost everyone who could possibly be interested in anything they link will read it.

A corollary to this is that there are indeed a lot of bloggers, arguably the vast majority of bloggers, who just write about whatever interests them–their families, their lives, their friends, their hometowns, their own navels. That stuff is out there in spades. But, because they are writing for a very specific audience–themselves, sometimes–they are unlikely to be widely linked and are thus hard to stumble upon.

(Hat tip: Craig Henry)

FILED UNDER: Blogosphere
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. bryan says:

    Maybe it’s a big circle jerk.

    In business, you might call it “cross-promotional marketing” 🙂

  2. joy says:

    Naval gazing? I engage in some of that too!

    ;-P

  3. I may have come off a little differently than I intended to in my post. I don’t enjoy reading blogs that list the day’s shopping activities, or what someone’s cat is doing now. But I do like reading blogs where the author is “reporting” on events/news and the like from where they are living – unofficial newspapers of sorts.

    While it’s true that these local posts maybe aren’t as universal, they serve a purpose in commenting on America (if they are from here), culture, humanity, etc etc.

    I guess what I was thinking is that it’s a shame everyone is so excited about blogs and all we end up doing is linking to a traditional news source and commenting on that news. We should be reporting our own news fairly regularly, from where we are. That is the strenth of blogging.

  4. James Joyner says:

    Julie,

    That makes some sense. And there are blogs doing that to some degree, notably Political State Report. But the market is apparently not great for that sort of thing in general. Indeed, most people only watch local news for sports and weather updates. I’m generally not very interested in what happens in Topeka, Kansas.

  5. Damn, now I am Glenn Reynolds
    I really didn’t have anything interesting to say other than telling you I thought this was something you would like to read. James of Outside the Beltway analyzes how some posts get more comments and links than others, especially the…

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