Mark Evans is asking "Why is there so little original content?" on blogs - and his main thrust, that writing original content is hard, is true - so far as it goes. However, what he's missing is that there's value in link blogging. He says this:
Given Techmeme's well-deserved reputation as being the place to quickly discover what's going on in the tech world, Bott's assessment is blunt, critical, perhaps unfair but not entirely without merit. He's right; there is an awful lot of blog posts offering little or no insight other than referring to another blog. Rather than adding to the conversation, many of these posts come across as simply noise and bandwagon jumping.
There's more to it though. Consider news reporting. Does every news outlet maintain a bureau in every nation, or do they rely heavily on Reuters, AP (etc)? Back when TV and newspapers were the main interfaces for news, there was a lot of value in that - I grew up in suburban NY, and it was a heck of a lot easier to read a wire story relayed by the Poughkeepsie Journal than it was to get the data directly from the wire service.
So it is with Techmeme (et. al.) today. There are trusted sources for information now, just as there have always been. Techmeme serves as an aggregator for those top level sources, which makes it easier for the rest of us to find out what's going on.
Take this blog, for instance. My last post linked to something I found on Planet Squeak, which is fairly widely read in the Smalltalk community (more so by Squeakers). Should I assume that the information is "out there", and not link to things like that? Or, should I instead assume that my readership is a partially overlapping circle with theirs, and let my readers know about it? I picked the latter.
Sure, a fair bit of the conversation on sites like Techmeme is just echo chamber stuff - but over time, if you follow it, you learn which bloggers tend to add insight and which ones don't. I subscribe directly to the ones I like, and ignore the rest. This is a huge step forward from the pre-web era, where doing that kind of filtering was impossible for the average person.
communities, link blogging