Regurgitation of content is a fact of life within the tech blogosphere.
Steven Hodson wrote about how being doomed to see the same content on site after site it is simply a fact of life especially within the tech blogosphere, as there simply isn’t enough news to go around.
We might think that there is an incredible amount of news and information that is flowing through our lives on a daily bases what with blogs, 24 hour news channels and Twitter news flashes; however the reality is much different. For all the apparent flood we actually have very little news – especially in the tech sector – truly happening in any given day or week – it just seems like we do.
It’s a numbers game. Too little news and far to many people reporting on it. Such is life. It affects bloggers and it affects main stream media in much the same way.
We don’t complain when we see the same story reported on 4 different news channels because we have an expectation that their purpose is to report the news. If there is a breaking story or a major event it is their job to report it. We don’t complain about it, in fact, I’ve been guilty of hopping between news channels in order to see different sides of the story as it is being reported.
Each stations has it’s own style, it’s own values and, lets be honest, it’s own agenda and we accept that these things are part and parcel of their reporting of the news. It’s why different news networks appeal to different demographics.
Yet, in the blogosphere, specifically the tech blogosphere, this multiplicity of reporting is often looked upon as a bad thing. Why is that?
I think it has got nothing to do with the news itself, or the repetition, but to do with the effort (or more accurately, the lack thereof) applied by bloggers when they report a story.
I’ve said it time and time again, bloggers are not journalists. We like to play at being journalists but 99.99% of us lack the tenacity, drive, research skills, motivation and pay check to get off our asses and ever do one tenth of the work that it requires to be a journalist.
Aspiration is a good thing. Bettering ourselves is a good thing. Trying to improve and provide quality and service is a good thing.
You know what else is a good thing? A boss or an editor.
Having someone over you who will tell you to your face that you are a talentless hack without the skills to write descent coverage of a story, is a good thing.
Having someone who will tell you that your approach is nothing more than copy & paste and if that’s what you want to do, then he has a crap load of data entry that needs finishing, is a good thing.
Having someone who tell you that you are unable to string a coherent sentence together and handing you a McDonalds application form, is a good thing.
Having someone who is qualified to make the call, tell you that you write with all the personality of concrete block, is a good thing.
You won’t find these things in the blogosphere. Well, not unless one of the trolls has a coherent and compassionate moment.
Starting out as a blogger you’re likely only to be read by friends and family. Lets be honest, even if you ask them, they’re not likely to critique your properly.
Most bloggers will never get beyond the friends and family stage and those that do stick it out long enough are likely those that become part of the circle-jerk association.
Sorry, I meant “mutual appreciation society”. You know, the social media crowd, who speak no evil and wouldn’t dare criticize you to your face if it was the only thing that could save your life. The people who drive traffic to each other and never unsubscribe from obviously crap blogs because it would be rude. They don’t want to hurt each others feelings. The hippies of web two point, whatever the heck we’re at now? 2.0, 4.0?
Then we have the few talented people who do put in the effort. That tiny percentile. Mostly it is their reports that are being regurgitated.
Their content is regurgitated by legions of clones aspiring fan-boys writers with heads full of dreams of becoming the next rich a-list blogger (which is akin to believing in Santa Claus), but without the talent, or even the determination to put their own spin on things.
Post are pumped out relentlessly by the copy & paste merchants who are actually self absorbed, or delusional (or both) enough, that they believe they are “creating content” rather than aggregating and devaluing content which was created or reported by those who have put in the effort.
It is the effort that adds value. It is the opinion that adds value. The editorial content that adds value.
That is what still sells newspapers. Not the news reported. If you wanted the news, you’d be online and have it hours, sometimes days, before it can create ink stains on your fingers.
It is the effort that a blogger puts in to formulate their own opinion coupled with their ability to articulate that opinion in a cohesive and passionate way that sets them apart from the crowd.
I hate the regurgitation and until we can find a way to stop talentless or lazy bloggers from every hitting the publish button, I will continue to hate the regurgitation.
If we can figure that out, we may still have more bloggers than news, but at least those that remain will be expressing an opinion worth reading, even if the news they are reporting is the same.