Is Tech Blogging Broken?
Ah the A List under question again, and the importance of Techmeme in relationship to where people find news, and then blog about what is happening in the news. While techmeme is not the only source, it is quickly becoming the authoritative source of information for people who read and write techblogs. So there is no surprise that clever marketing people have figured out how to game the system.
As an example, a recent post on TechCrunch.com achieved a top listing on TechMeme.com only after 3 other sites had linked in to the story. While I watched that story grow to have nearly 25 sites linking to it, giving it the long tail effect, which is a Public Relations Manager’s dream. You have an “A” list site like TechCrunch that rarely writes a negative review, you then have a auxiliary base of 25–100 blogs that link to the same review as their sourced material. Then Google comes around and indexes all the sites. Source: Geek News Central
There are a lot of things that techmeme misses though, they miss a wealth of material at community blogging sites, they miss a lot of the smaller blogs as well. While it is great to be on techmeme, they also do not drive a lot of traffic to a web site. There are also doubts about the viability of web 2.0 tools to drive traffic, but they do make great fodder for Google and its page ranking system.
There are some great independent technical blogs out there that do not rely on techmeme as their primary source of new material. There are also people who are not afraid to write a negative review of technology. While they may not make it to the top of the A list, nor very high in Google’s search rankings, they do provide an important counterpoint to the popular blogs that in many ways have the appearance of being a mouth piece. Being critical of technology is just as important as being supportive of technology.
While we are years into web 2.0, there is still a heavy reliance on web 1.0 technologies because outside of some social networks, there is a dearth of adoption of web 2.0 technologies. Which means that they are not meeting the needs of people, meaning that the folks who are working on prototype Web 3.0 technologies need to stop and pay attention to what is happening in the world of Web 2.0, and its inability to deliver solid results to web masters who use social book marking sites.
While it is easy to say that tech blogging has become compromised by the A list, there are some hard and fast realities about the whole thing as well. Being part of the PR tree is just one of the many aspects about blogging, and getting the scoop. When the scoop becomes more important than the actual story, tech bloggers can look like they are the machine.
People after a while get smart to this and go to find places where they can get an honest review to make an honest decision about the technology that they want to purchase for their company. We are used to marketing and sales, after a while, it all starts looking the same, technology decision makers are smart to this one already.