In stark contrast to the Business 2.0 article on the popularity of blogs (and the related ad dollars flowing into them) is a post called The Great Unread, which gives in my opinion a MUCH more realistic view of the blogosphere.
In it, the author Nicholas Carr speaks the truth ... that every blogger struggles to be heard, to have been read, and most fail to reach others relevantly and meaningfully. It simply reinforces my theory that the 50% abandonment rate for blogs is simply due to "nobody reads it". It's really really hard to get lots of people reading your blog. This is not a problem for just bloggers, but rather anyone with something to say on the Web. There is way too much content on the Web, and it continues to grow exponentially. Not so much, people.
Notable comments include:
- "What we tell ourselves about the blogosphere - that it's open and democratic and egalitarian, that it stands in contrast and in opposition to the controlled and controlling mass media - is an innocent fraud (a lie that makes most everyone happy)." (Carr)
- "The powerful have a greater stake in the perpetuation of an innocent fraud than do the powerless. Long after the powerless have suspended their suspension of disbelief, the powerful will continue to hold tightly to the fraud, repeating it endlessly amongst themselves in an echo chamber that provides a false ring of truth. "(Carr)
- "I had delusions of influence. The random-payoff of attention makes it seem far more effective than it actually is. It's painful to admit you've wasted so much time and effort and pretty much nobody is listening." (Seth Finkelstein)
- "As the blogophere has become more rigidly hierarchical, not by design but as a natural consequence of hyperlinking patterns, filtering algorithms, aggregation engines, and subscription and syndication technologies, not to mention human nature, it has turned into a grand system of patronage operated - with the best of intentions, mind you - by a tiny, self-perpetuating elite." (Carr)
I love that "echo chamber" comment. It's so true, and I think today's consumer-generated news sites are also complete echo chambers.