Megan McArdle points out this interesting article over at 11D on where blogs have evolved to, that I think is largely correct.Â Here are some interesting points, but go read the whole thing:
1. The A-List Doesn’t Matter Anymore. I just read a really nice paper that came up with a new method for determining the top 20 bloggers.[…]
I think this is mostly correct, but I wouldn’t discount the fact that most of these blogs have traffic into the stratosphere compared to niche blogs like mine, or even SayUncle’s for that matter.Â The A-Listers still matter, but my understanding from Bitter, who was doing this long before me, is that the assertion that A-List blogs don’t drive the readers they used to is true.Â Many of their original blogs have also disappeared, and were subsumed by new media projects like Pajamas Media, or Hot Air.
2. It’s all about niche blogs. If you have a particular expertise and unique perspective, they you can quickly gain a following. Everyone else is out of luck.
This is absolutely true, and largely because there will never be another Instapundit.Â The nature of the ‘sphere has changed too much, and I don’t think anyone who’s not a niche blog is going to be able to rise to that level.Â When I “blogged” on LiveJournal, I covered generic political topics and guns occaistionally.Â Â When I launched into blogging two and a half years ago, I stuck strictly to gun blogging because I thought it was the only area I’d have a unique perspective to offer.
3. Norms and practices. Bloggers have undermined the blogosphere. Bloggers do not link to each other as much as they used to.
This is true, and it makes it a lot harder for someone to become successful in this medium.Â I would have not found success if it hadn’t been for SayUncle and Bitter, who linked to me heavily in the beginning.Â The problem is, finding things to link to is extremely time consuming.Â I have several dozen blogs on my RSS feed, and it’s been whittled down as of late because I couldn’t keep up with everything.Â I have 785 unread posts in total right now, even with a reduced number of blogs.Â There’s no way I can go through everything.
4. Blogger Burn Out. Many of the top bloggers have been absorbed into some other professional enterprise or are burnt. It’s a lot of work to blog. Most bloggers, and not just the A-listers, spend 3-5 hours every day blogging. That’s hard to maintain, especially since there is no money in this.
It’s true.Â It takes a tremendous amount of work to find things to blog about.Â Truth is, since Bitter is no longer blogging, she helps me with that a great deal.Â I probably couldn’t keep this up if she weren’t constantly scouring Al Gore’s Internets during the day looking for things.Â If she ends up getting a job, it will cut down my free time in the evenings and in the mornings greatly if I have to do this all myself.Â Having Bitter largely stop gun blogging, and having one of us unemployed, is good for the blogging, and taking the pressure off me.
9. Link Monitoring. In the past, I could easily figure out which blogs had linked to me and then send them a reciprocal link. For whatever reasons, Google Blog and Technorati aren’t picking up the smaller blogs, and I have no idea who’s linking to me.
This is a big pet peeve of mine.Â Technorati tracking is no longer worth squat, and Google picks up too many useless spam blogs, forcing me to have to pick through to find the real people who are linking.Â In the past, linking was a way to get noticed, and way to keep a conversation moving through the blogosphere.Â A great traffic driver was writing something everyone else wanted to talk about.Â Now I have little idea who’s linking to me.Â Trackbacks are pretty much dead too, thanks to trackback spammers.