Don’t Confuse Blogging With The Echo Chamber

    November 27, 2006

Now and then I see people write about “blogging” when they’re really talking about the less than 1% of blogs that find themselves writing about each other in an almost herd-like and insular fashion sometimes. Often they’ll all devote many bits and bytes to some trivial topic of the moment related to Google, blogging, Microsoft, patents, or government.

I like to think of this small subset as the “echo chamber” that is occasionally written about in regards to blogging. They’re the ones who often appear on echo chamber amplifiers like the Technorati popular blogs, Techmeme, and similar services.

So when someone as bright as Jeff Sandquist says something like this, I have to pause and think about what he really means: has become a critical part of the blogging plumbing and is a site I visit many times throughout the day to keep up with what is happening in the tech industry.

I think that “critical part of the blogging” is a bit of an overstatement, given how few blogs ever appear on TechMeme. But at the same time, I know what he means. In context it’s clear that TechMeme is critical to people, like Jeff, who want to keep up with what’s happening in the tech industry (or at least what people think about what is apparently happening).

Don’t get me wrong. TechMeme is a useful service for many people. I used to be one of them. But I lost interest a while ago when it became far less useful for discovering stuff on that long tail of blogging. Anymore, a small subset of blogs (and increasingly non-blogs) hog much of the attention. That happens to be exactly what I’m not looking for most of the time.

Disclaimer: This blog tends to participate in the echo chamber more than I’d like. I’ve been trying to fix that in recent months, but it’s hard to go cold turkey.



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Jeremy Zawodny is the author of the popular Jeremy Zawodny’s blog. Jeremy is part of the Yahoo search team and frequently posts in the Yahoo! Search blog as well.

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