I noted with appreciation some very popular bloggers posting about the echo chamber effect of the blogosphere. (And here I go, perpetuating the very concept by linking to them ...)
Jeremy points out that many people, when referring to blogging, are "really talking about the less than 1% of blogs that find themselves writing about each other in an almost herd-like and insular fashion". He goes on to say "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."
It seems that a number of the high-profile bloggers are purposely veering away from the "echo chamber" of the most popular sites and venturing out into the long tail. Chris even provides 10 ways to eliminate the echo chamber.
The echo chamber concept is consistent with the long tail concept, and it's all self-perpetuating. All us online users naturally congregate our attention to the most popular Web sites, not intentionally mind you. Today's search ranking algorithms focus users to the more popular sites on the Web. RSS perpetuates that effect, locking a "worthy" (and usually popular) source onto our guaranteed read/skim list.
Neither the long tail nor the echo chamber will ever go away until the following is disrupted:
- Participation inequality
- Search engine indexes that focus on popularity
- Content aggregation
Others Online is working on this problem, but you can't tell by looking at the site. Much more to come on this topic over the next several months ...