“Lazysphere.” Do you “get it” or do you not?

Steve Rubel

Over the last 3+ years of my blogging, I’ve struggled between continuing my attempt to add value for my readers in each-n-every post vs. grabbing attention. On those occasions when I have enjoyed a Digg or Techmeme front page link — or had some other post go viral with the typical 60k-100k pageviews that have ensued — no question that I’ve stopped to think “Hmmm….what if I whored myself out and just posted attention-grabbing stuff?

If no one pays attention, a blogger is the philosophical tree falling in the forest when no one is around to hear it. Does she or he make a sound? I argue that yes…it just takes time and consistency to build readership if you have the right ingredients.

Today’s MicroPersuasion post by Steve Rubel puts a different spin on the “whoring oneself out” thought stream but by calling it the “Lazysphere” (a take on a lazy blogosphere) since he’s calling out the lack of value being inserted into posts in lieu of just grabbing attention.

While I absolutely love Techmeme, Blogrunner, Wikia and, quite frankly, the memetracker category as a whole, I also realize that this category — as the primary method many of us have to get an instant ‘read’ on blogosphere conversations — is THE primary catalyst for the blog echo chamber, naval gazing or whatever you’d care to term it.

But are memetrackers, bloggers chasing thought leader posts to get attention, or people actually lazily placing value into posts the problem? Yes and no.

<shameless plug>
I’ve been at this blogging game for over three years. In that time my goal has been to invest value in each-n-every post (with the occasional rant) and have often felt that I should simply accept the positive feedback I receive from readers, from clients who’ve hired me because of my blog, and for the doors it has opened (and still opens) rather than be dismayed about the lack of “A-List blogger-like” attention. In addition, I’ve often been peeved that the so-called “A-List” bloggers who get attention have opinions or perspectives I’d go toe-to-toe with any day.
</shameless plug>

One thing I think Rubel missed and one he got:

1) The memetracked blogosphere conversation itself — a leading post that others comment on and the memetrackers then track — is a HUGELY POSITIVE thing. Why? For example, on any important technology topic I can read the thought leaders post and then 5, 10, 20 or more blogger perspectives. By the time a mainstream tech publication gets around to writing about the same topic, I’ve exhausted it and usually don’t care anymore (maybe that’s one reason why CNet is in trouble?). Rubel isn’t taking this into account nor has suggestions on how to improve the gaming of Techmeme and it’s results

2) Here’s where he was spot-on: Blogging is about value. If you consistently deliver it regardless of what you’re writing about, people will slowly-but-surely find you and read your blog since you’re in the game, investing value in the blogosphere and will simply be in the online conversation.

a) Ascertaining meaning (connecting the dots, if you will) is the only reason why I blog. This was the essence of Rubel’s post: don’t just report….tell me WHY and put it in some context. If you’re so smart, so well connected, and such a muckity-muck connected to other A-Lister’s, then you should be in the best position of any of us to do so

b) Finding ways of adding value to the world — and having the experience, knowledge and desire to act in the role of a thought leader — is why I read people willing to give value: examples are Rubel, think:lab, Conversation Agent, GigaOM, most of the O’Reilly Radar authors and more.

I don’t think most bloggers are lazy. It’s just that too many bloggers are self-serving and focus on scoops, insider information, lauding their connections and access to movers-n-shakers as well as the sensational. I see very, very few ask themselves this fundamental question BEFORE they post or add something to the world: What value will this add for my readers, to move the technology forward or to better the world?

I’ve got a new take on the old adage, “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach” and say this: “Add value and meaning in your blog shows you get it. No value and meaning in your blog proves you don’t”.

Here’s a great analogy between what’s happening in the blogosphere and Rubel’s point about the Lazysphere, regardless of what you think the social or cultural outcomes have been from any daytime talk show fare.

You may recall several years ago that daytime talk show pioneers, Oprah Winfrey and Jenny Jones (and even the the later evening show by Jerry Springer) were vying for audience and status. I remember many, many pundits talking about the boring Oprah show and the excitement , vitality and ratings that Jones and Springer were driving. “Where the hell is Winfrey in all this” many cried.

The problem was that Jenny Jones (in my and many people’s opinions) was offering up lowest common denominator fare like outing a gay man’s love for his mentally disturbed friend who subsequently killed the gay man, teen pregnancies with paternity revelations on stage, sending teens to boot camps, family issues and more.

Then things changed  (in no small part as Jone’s ratings began to fall). I distinctly remember seeing a news clip about Winfrey, who was standing in front of the camera, pronouncing that she was going to eschew the base, low-class “low road” that the likes of Jones, Springer (and later Ricki Lake) were taking in talk shows and instead was going to focus on value and the “high road.”

Again, argue the point in the comments but you can’t argue with the effect of Winfrey’s decision: she’s more successful and more powerful than ever and her audience is loyal and huge. I, for one, have incredible respect for the courage to change the paradigm, to focus on putting value into the world, and that she is delivering it so well the audience has followed.


MY intention is to continue to build and insert whatever value I can in my blog. No…I don’t receive a direct return on my blogging investment but will state this strongly: my consulting practice, speaking engagements, the new people I’ve met, the things I’ve learned, the satisfaction of being “in the game” as the greatest communications revolution in human history unfolds (Internet as a platform for human connection) is all worth it and I’m going to keep doing it.

By the way, could you tell a few hundred thousand of your friends?  😉

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2 Comments

  1. Adam Carson on January 8, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    Steve,

    Thank you for the insightful post!!

    I think that you are one of the true bloggers out there who adds value without getting caught up in the hype.

    I applaud you!

    Keep it up!

    Adam



  2. Jeff Crites on January 8, 2008 at 11:16 pm

    Nice post. You obviously put some quality time and thought into crafting it. I found you via Techmeme, which is a good thing. And no … you didn’t just slap up some shallow echo comment.

    Looks like I’ll be stopping by again. Nice to discover you …



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About Steve Borsch

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