Michael Eriksson's Blog

A Swede in Germany

Posts Tagged ‘Me

The repetitiveness of the Blogosphere

leave a comment »

For a little more than a year, I have been very active in the Blogosphere, not only keeping my own blog, but spending hours reading or commenting on other peoples blogs. Indeed, I spent much more time reading than writing. Or at least that is how it used to be…

As time has passed, I have found myself reading less and less, and even needing to remind myself to write. To some degree, this goes back to the general satiety that comes with any activity done for long enough. However, there is another issue: Repetitiveness.

When I first started reading, I truly appreciated the many different views on various topics, the new angles and perspectives, other ways of thinking, being exposed to entirely new topics, … By now, the amount of “newness” has shrunk considerably. Not only because I have covered a lot of ground already, but because the various blogs tend to say more or less the same things about more or less the same issues (even if divided into several camps). Reading the same thing for the fifth time is more of a chore than a pleasure and writing the same comment for the fifth time is even worse.

Without the drive/hope for new insights, my reading has switched from following interesting tags to using the top-100 lists for blog entries. This with the dual idea of these having a higher on-average quality and being more suitable for driving traffic to my own blog through comments. The former is a two-edged sword for the German and Swedish listings, because the blogs found are more-or-less the same on every visit, leading to even greater repetitiveness. Further, the choice is made by popularity, not quality, which means both that there are a number of duds to be found and that true originality of thought is further reduced by the selective pressure of the masses. The English version is near useless: After subtracting all the lol cats, online magazines, hyper-commercial low-quality entries, and similar, there is but a handful out of the hundred worth bothering with. (Lest there be any misunderstanding: I am a great fan of various humour sources on the Internet, lol cats included. However, when I want humour, I visit the sites directly—their presence with multiple entries each on the top-100 list amounts to pollution.)

Lately, being unusually short on time due to work, I have tried to at least visit the “Freshly Pressed” blogs—but the amount of worth-while reading there is close to nil: Photos, recipes, re-hashings of trite ideas, … For that matter, it can be disputed whether there is any benefit in leaving one additional comment to the dozens or hundreds already present. The value added link-wise is likely larger on a “regular” post—and the probability of new insight through a productive discussion is far higher.


Written by michaeleriksson

May 1, 2011 at 5:08 pm

How I and others comment

with 6 comments

I do my fair share of blog reading, and naturally drop off a comment here and there. (Increasingly so after registering my own WordPress account, which gives me this ability on more blogs than previously.)

An interesting difference between how I and many (most?) others comment, is that they tend express agreement on posts they concur with, while I tend to comment on those posts I find fault with (be it overall or in detail). This arises from a wish to improve things: If I see something that is suboptimal (let alone wrong), I tend to comment. If I see a post which ask for opinions and I have a relevant opinion, I tend to comment. Etc. OTOH: If a post is already impeccable; if it expresses the opinion I, myself, happen to have; if it open my eyes to a new aspect of something; then I am less likely to comment—why should I, when the need for improvement is not there?

I try to deliberate make a few agreeing posts from time to time, having learned from professional life that my natural attitude comes across as overly and one-sidedly critical to most others. (This is an error on their part, but a very understandable error, and I would advise anyone with a similar natural attitude to bear this in mind. Also note the Tall Dancer issue.) Similarly, I sometimes refrain from commenting on a post where I wanted to comment. Still the bulk will likely remain in my usual style for the foreseeable future.

In particular, should I have commented negatively on one of your posts, it is rarely because I consider you an idiot (although this can happen on rare occasions), but because I try to, in my own way, help. Sometimes it is the poster that I try to help, sometimes it is the other readers; but the intention is almost always constructive.

Returning to how others comment, there are also others that tend to be critical in their opinions. A few are like me, others just like to comment (and are positive or negative according to whether they agree or disagree), some are trolls looking for a fight with anyone, others yet simply react strongly to people of the “wrong” opinion (often with the automatic conclusion that the latter are, ipso facto, idiots).

My advice to both posters and commenters: Apply Hanlon’s razor and never attribute to malice that which can be explained by incompetence. (At least not on a first offense.)

Written by michaeleriksson

March 4, 2010 at 11:20 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , ,

Me, blogging, OpenDiary, and WordPress

with one comment

When I first heard the term “blog” (possibly in the late nineties), it had distinctly negative connotations. In many ways, it was like Twitter today: Some people wanting to keep others abreast of their doings, others satisfying their vanity, others yet spreading junk content, and similar.

Naturally, I stayed away from the area—and, as it turned out, carried a prejudice long after the “blogosphere” had evolved from fish to reptile.

Came 2009, I started my own website. Not long thereafter, I decided to try out my own blog in order to increase traffic (in particular, to overcome the initial dry-spell before I was picked up by the search engines). Only having made minor experiences with the blogs of others, I landed at OpenDiary—without realizing how unsuitable it would be for my purposes (while perfectly valid for a diary), e.g. by having the wrong audience, providing only minimal functionality, deliberately blocking search engines, …

(I have a surprisingly hard-to-defeat tendency to assume too much about the minimum functionality provided in different areas—where even the market leaders often lack functionality that I would consider near-mandatory. For this reason, I failed to do the research I should have done.)

This was originally not a big deal: My main task was to build a website, blogging was just an incidental side-activity, and most of my entries were shortened versions of things I had written for my website. As time has gone by, however, several things have changed, notably that I have become much more aware of the advantages blogging can bring, of the many quality blogs that exist today, and that there are blog services with functionality that is actually useful. A particular benefit: I have many ideas and short texts with too little mass to make a good article for my website, but which fit reasonably in a blog.

Further, to my surprise, I am beginning to see some value in the occasional more personal entry (more akin to those found in other OD diaries). While I understand perfectly how others can benefit from “sharing”, I like to keep my private life private. Still, there are occasional events that I would like to write about, but that do not really fit with my other writings (e.g. my recent OD entries on Internet radio).

As a result, I have decided to move the conventional blogging part from OD to WordPress and use my existing OD account for more personal entries (likely with a reduced posting rate). Occasionally, entries may be posted on both, like this one.

My website: http://www.aSwedeInGermany.de

My OD diary: http://www.opendiary.com/entrylist.asp?authorcode=D794738e

My WordPress blog: https://michaeleriksson.wordpress.com/e

Written by michaeleriksson

February 18, 2010 at 7:49 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , ,