State of the Blogosphere: Not for You, But for Google

Michael Robinson thinks the Web is a mess. I don’t disagree with him:

Go back to that favorite blog you abandoned when you realized you couldn’t keep up. You’ll find that it posts between 40 and 100 things a day. It’s no coincidence. Let’s face it: no person can keep up with that kind of volume on more than one blog and stay sane. You might be able to follow one or two, but not much more than that if you have anything else to do during the day.

These blogs don’t do it for you.  They do it for Google. They flood every keyword you might put into a search engine to deny that traffic to any blog that dares to compete with a low volume of high quality content.

I’m going to let you in on the dirty little secret: digital publishing lost its mind. The mind that kept the quality high and the volume low. The mind that cared about your time, and only shared the best with you. That mind is gone, lost in the mad dash for advertising dollars, trampled under diminishing CPMs and acquisitions that ripped editorial control away from the people who built your favorite sites.

Most top blogs don’t deserve the top slot anymore. All they do is generate a flood of shallow writing, hoping to collect all the traffic from people searching for news. I’ve seen this effect on a smaller scale when I write posts on events in the news. I’ll instantly get 20-100 hits on the topic, and enjoy a small spike in traffic over the following few days as the story runs its course. Now imagine you’re running a huge website with plenty of poorly or unpaid writers to flood every news topic with content.

I’ve once tried using an RSS reader but quit after a few days because my stream was flooded with hundreds of new posts. How do I sift through all that content?

The answer was simple for me: compile a list of twenty to thirty blogs/sites I consistently rely upon and check in on them every so often by loading them in my browser. But the best sifter of quality content over the past year has been via my curated Twitter feed.

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Question for the reader: How do you deal with information overload these days?

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