No difference between MSM and Blogs.

 I think the success of blog like Techcrunch.com can easily be explained.   When reading blogs today, we are constantly bombarded by information and we don’t even know where to start reading or what is important.   Sites  like techcrunch are written in a way that it is opinionated  where the author isn’t afraid to say this product sucks,  or this one is great etc.   As readers most of us are interested in Technology and when reading a blog like techcrunch what we want to know is What is New,  What is important, and what is making it big and how does it effect me.  

Michael Arrington is like a personal secretary,  he shifts through a LOT of companies and at the end of the day he summarizes the 5% that are the most interesting and sends you a report.   The readers rely on him and trust him to show them what is important, and even more then that the readers are interested in the opinion expressed in the posts.  

So what is the reason for the rise of all these blogs?    I think at the end of the day if a user is passionate about a subject they want news delivered with opinion.   If a user isn’t passionate about a subject they just want to see the facts quickly and then move on. 

I think all this talk about the blogoshpere is about conversation and openness etc is all just a bunch of BS.   99% of the audience is passive and never participates and the only reason they read your blog over 100 others is because your posts are opinionated and they hope to learn something from it.

So what is next then?    When I look at techmeme, netscape, digg and reddit I see the same thing.   Its just a big aggregator  of blog feeds but nearly all of them lack one critical element.   What the public really wants is to be able to go to a page like techmeme.com  but instead of just links  they want to see 10 -20 blog posts about what happened in the techworld today, mixed with opinion  from the aggregator  and then linking off the individual blogs to see the different slants on the same story.

I think at the end of the day, main stream media and the blogosphere are the exact same thing,  the only difference is that news is always delivered with an opinion.  Unlike the main stream media,  we form a connection with the blog writer and feel like they are looking out for us and telling us what we need to know.  

16 Responses to “No difference between MSM and Blogs.”

  1. Dr Nic Says:

    I think at the end of the day if a user is passionate about a subject they want news delivered with opinion. If a user isn’t passionate about a subject they just want to see the facts quickly and then move on.

    Great summary.

  2. Marc Says:

    I think you’re right Markus. Now, I’d like to see your take on social networking. I think it’s something much more basal and selfish. That’s about all I’ll say as I want the monied players to remain with the current paradigm as long as possible.

  3. Rush Says:

    good observation

  4. Eric Dewhirst Says:

    Why is everything old now new again? It baffles me that something as simple as a Blogg seems so revolutionary. O.K. so I understand that in the past it was challenging to get your voice out there but the idea of someone summarizing important events and separating the wheat from the chaff is not new.

    On another note – Markus – I come to this blog to have a distant rambling chat – albeit one way – but I look to see what you see. I am very impressed with POF and how you have gone about making it number one in Canada. In a way I am also picking your brains to see where you are going with things – I guess so that I can see the path you are seeing and perhaps a new business idea will pop into my head as well. I think what the really valuable blog’s are doing are acting more like a great university professor and making you stop and think and view the world or an industry from an alternate perspective.

    I have six blogs I visit each day and yours is one of them – thanks for sharing.

    Cheers,

    Eric

  5. Nick Says:

    A) “Blogs” have existed since the very beginning of the mainstream internet (1994 or so)

    B) “Blogs” are just publications with a niche focus updated frequently. The Internet makes this possible and cost-effective when it never would have been before. End of story.

  6. Mayo Says:

    Well, it’s all in pick their brains, and read between the lines….

    You need to know what other people are thinking. Especially on the internet…
    Blogs are more like one way forums, there are not so many churns, and of course blogger has to input much more thinking of how to enterntain his public, i.e. he can’t just input a link and say: gee i found cool topic – href:click here…

    Basically blog is nothing more than highly niched moderated forum.

  7. mgj Says:

    Ha Ha

    Michael Arrington is a personal secretary!

  8. M. Says:

    Hi Eric:

    I’m sorry, but in the past, where did you get “someone summarizing important events and separating the wheat from the chaff” – every day, several times a day, where you didn’t have to pay for it? In highly niched areas? Yes, that basic idea has been around for a long time, but its the context, audience, and deliver which are the revolutionary parts.

    It’s the difference between a traditional lube job at a mechanic, and Jiffy Lube. Essentially you could say there’s nothing “revolutionary” about Jiffy Lube, but their rapid growth would tell you otherwise. Context is everything. Context can equal the difference between success and failure. Read Seth Godin’s “Free Prize Inside” for more insight into this, how going to the edges can make your product or service standout and become a success.

    I do agree a blog like this one is like having access to a University Professor – better in many ways, because the opinion and advice here is Real World. And it speaks to a very small audience of people mostly in the know, or learning. This blog wouldn’t work as a column in a tech magazine. Almost none of the good ones would. Because it’s the context and audience which change things.

    Mayo, no, I disagree that a blog is a modified forum. Again, a large majority of people don’t participate. Look at Scott Adam’s Dilbert Blog – he gets maybe 150-200 comments (a lot for most) but I think his daily readership is something like 20,000 readers a day. Actually blogs suck as a forum because there’s no threading, no voting comments up and down, and so on. Anytime we try to pigeonhole a service as something else we risk missing the most vital parts of why it works.

    Markus: My question to you, is that in your example, do you feel that the credentials of the “Opinionator” in your tech blog commenting on article are important? In other words, could you hire a sharp writer to make comments, or do you need some kind of “expert” in the field to make valid blog comments?

    I think your idea is workable and interesting – especially since people like Arrington are mired in their own interests, literally owning shares in some companies they cover but not others!

  9. ituloy angsulong Says:

    that is funny🙂

  10. Markus Says:

    M. I don’t think it matters as long as the commenter summerizes information and the reader trusts them. The commenter should have strong opinions one way or another.

  11. David Evans Says:

    Blogs are part of the evolution of online communication. They differ very little from forums except in syndication and layout but do offer a sense of community that traditional media lacks. Sure most people lurk, that’s human nature. Tools won’t change that, at least today.

    I wish the aggregators would improve faster, the whole “river of news” concept is exhausting and I want the hour a day I spend reading blogs back (from a business perspective, personal blog reading is a different matter altogether.)

  12. Eric Dewhirst Says:

    Hi M.

    Well I see your point – I was more referring to the aggregation of newsworthy or thought provoking ideas – like a pastor or shaman or a storyteller or even the nightly news etc. which are fairly free services. As for Jiffy Lube – is it context that’s the issue – I think it is speed, quality and price point that has been the key to their success. You don’t hire mechanics because mechanics cost more you hire high school students and you make margin on volume – you buy oil in bulk and use no-name oil filters and price it at OEM.

    As for Godin’s “Free Prize Inside” that was just “Purple Cow 2.0” and if you read Purple Cow you probably read “Free Prize Inside” because your head spun the first time and you wanted that feeling again. That feeling of original thought – your mind expanding – as the buzz words passed you by and you felt in the loop. Don’t get me wrong it is all good reading – but so is Nietzsche.

    I do agree with Markus and the fact that if the source is credible / trustworthy and passionate about a topic their will be a strong following.

    Cheers,

    Eric

  13. Alex Pooley Says:

    I completely agree that most readers are passive. It’s a very strange thing to me. The Internet is often cited as being an “interactive” medium when compared to TV. But it’s like people still treat the Internet with a TV mentality. I feel this will change over time. Who really prefers a one way conversation? For those people who are trying to learn by reading everything… IMHO you learn much more by engaging in the content over sitting back and watching quietly. Still, people are not rational, so who knows.

  14. jake the dating guy Says:

    I think you’re talking about a specific and relatively small slice of the blogosphere which revolves around perceived authority figures such as yourself, Matt Cutts, Mike Arrington etc divulging your wisdom to a wider audience. Naturally this is going to take on the form of a MSM broadcast as most readers won’t feel ‘qualified’ to comment on the same level as established intdustry professionals such as the above mentioned, or won’t feel that they’re part of that inner coterie of respondents whose opinion will be respected – noone wants to throw their opinion out there only to have it shot down and it’s easy to feel excluded from a blog even if it’s a public thread. What your assessment doesn’t recognise, though, is the huge quantity of grass roots blogs out there which aren’t specific to a given subject or industry and don’t have a figurehead such as your self writing them. Although you may choose to dismiss these a ‘social networking’ and not true blogs, they are undoubtedly part of the blogosphere (such an ugly word by the way, can we not think of something better?) and I think, if you applied the same level of analysis to these roots of the blog movement you’d find they behave rather differently.

  15. M. Says:

    This is an interesting and timely topic. It got me thinking that The Drudge Report is still in many ways the ultimate blog. Even though its nothing more than headlines, its full of opinion just by the way he and his very small staff choose the articles, and write the headlines. There’s no discussion, of course. But discussion threads also eat up more time and don’t always add to the conversation – like this one is trying to.

    Markus, probably the best example of the connection between blogs and mainstream media is the adoption of blogs by various newspapers around the USA. A blog or a columnist… you’re right in that there’s no difference in the type of material or writing, just mostly in the context and delivery.

    Maybe the next question to ask is, what will replace blogs? Video Logs seem to show some promise as a “hot market” right now…

  16. Nick Says:

    Why would something need to “replace” “blogs”? There will always be a demand for the written word, just as there is a demand for video. They are used for different things. People fail to understand that blogs are just a form of journalism that happens to be on the internet instead of on paper. Makes sense, since the web is far better than paper, and it’s where everything is headed.

    “Video logs” (do you mean videos posted on the web?) will clearly have an important role. But video is not the best way to scan news on a variety of topics. Video has its place, and it too will move from TV to the internet. It will be interesting to see where this all goes, but nothing is going to be replaced by video or vice versa.

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