I came across this article earlier today by some guy who I don’t know about some other guys I don’t know and how the other guys blogs no longer rule the Blogosphere or something.
I’m going to get this wrong, no doubt, because I’m not cool, but apparently this Duncan Riley guy is some sort of marketing dude, and he is cool. Per his above-linked blog entry, the techy guys who were the first bloggers are no longer the most popular bloggers in existence. According to Mr. Riley’s treatise, there have been three generations of bloggers/blogs: the geeks, the extroverts, and now everyone else. And now the geek bloggers are no longer the most important ones: the most important ones are the ones who appeal to “the common masses” whoever they are.
The first part of Mr. Riley’s thesis strikes me as somewhat self evident. Geeks write about stuff that interests geeks, and not everyone is a geek. Amazing- I’m glad someone took the time to explain that to me. But the latter part of his earth-shaking revelation is that marketing people know exactly what it is that people want, and so people will gravitate to blogs written by marketing people. Maybe that’s not exactly what he meant, but that’s the way I read his post. A couple of other rather obvious factors: in a technological medium, the first adopters are technologists, followed by people with something they feel is important enough that they hire technologists or become technically proficient so that they can say it, and finally, when the technology becomes pervasive enough and easy enough to use, the unwashed masses.
Mr. Riley’s blog entry title (“The demise of geek bloggers”) suggests either that geeks who blog are going to all die of some strange malady, or that geek-oriented blogs are going to go away. But the stats themselves don’t bear this out: more people read geek blogs now than read them 2 years ago. As Mr. Riley himself says, its only when looked at *as a percentage* of the overall blog views that geek-oriented blogs seem to be less important now.
Here’s my theory, which is equally obvious but apparently not very understandable to marketing people. Or more precisely, perhaps its that they fear what I am about to say. The entire wonder of the Internet in general, and Blogs in particular, is that people discover that no matter how odd their own personal tastes, they will find a “place” where they seem normal. If I’m a pin collecting cross dressing neo-Nazi, I’ll probably find a blog (and a news feed, and online videos, and music) that appeals to my preferences. I’ll book mark those places, and visit just those sites that appeal to me, and eventually come to think that the entire world is filled with pin collecting cross dressing neo-Nazis. The really key thing here is that “the whole world is filled with…” statement- a demographic can effectively turn off the entire rest of the Internet, everything that isn’t of primary interest to them and them alone. I imagine this is Hell itself come to earth for marketers…how do you position whatever it is you want to sell in a world with literally millions of demographic slices, with new ones popping up every day?
Now *that* would be an interesting question to write a blog entry about….