You're Missing the Bandwagon

by Ruud Hein May 25th, 2009 

Content consumption moves away from the original point of publication.

Many people rely on aggregators and filters to leisure in the information streams.

As up and coming as blogging was "back then", Twitter and others are now.

Ruud Hein asks: are you there? If not, does anyone care?

Non-participations Limits Audience

Ive always read a lot of news [by the way, do you notice how we start stories, posts and articles with I these days and remember how that annoyed the hell out of our teachers back then?]

When I was 16 or so, the thing to read if you were sort of socio-aware, "smarter than thou art"-style, was De Volkskrant and De Waarheid. And, not or. That would be slacking. You cant slack socio-awareness.

I read the newspaper front to back, and Im not talking about moving through the house with it either, you know.

It was utterly in and I was totally hooked up, clued in and every day brought the same project: read the thing front to back.

By the time Real Life began I had other things to do than be an utter and complete news geek. I became somewhat of an incomplete geek, so to say; I would (oh please forgive me!) skim the newspaper [gasping sounds, utter shock] Yup And well, you know how it goes; it was downhill from there. Smoking, alcohol No hang on " thats another story.

No, this one ends with me catching the news here and there. Not having CNN 24 on switched on on a separate monitor. Not even specifically tuning into the news anymore.

Most things sort of happen somewhere and then they sort of bubble up into my face. Or not.

It simply doesnt matter that much anymore in the same way seeing video from an event on the other side of the world isnt something that glues me to the screen the same way it did when I was 7 and someone flew the freaking tape in so I could see it on the news " 3 days later. Right?

And its of course the personal version of the story youve been hearing about from your bubble-up news filter, that traditional reporting is either changing or dying, but the reason I tell it here is because the same thing is happening to your blog.

I dont read your blog front to back anymore. I dont monitor your blog 24/7 anymore. The news used to be on your blog or at the very least your news used to be there.

Now its not. Not for me.

I subscribe to less blogs, unsubscribe from more but feel more informed than ever.

Thats because what some call Tweeple, twibe or whatever, and what I like to refer to as the people I know online " we talk. And I get a much better feel of what counts or matters or is happening than from your blog.

I noticed it the other day when I hit Mark Read while my eye fell on my Twitter client de jour where Lisa Barone said she just unsubscribed from yet another blog:


Lisa Barone: The New Feed User

Now in the famous words of relations gone bad everywhere; it's not you, it's me. But if you want to make sure it is you, you better listen up, I think.

The decline No, let's give that the capitalization it needs; The Decline has started. The Move has begun. And The Move is away from your site and onto other attention streams (that's what we cool kids call them; attention streams).

Let me try to put that another way that sounds less "ah, yeah, but that's all geeky you and you " you're really weird, Ruud".

If the New York Times -- the grand ol' lady, yes? -- with its army of brilliant, prize winning writers can barely make it, how the hell do you think you are going to keep people's attention?

Dedicated single source reading is out. There's just too much of you out there.

The RSS reader seemed to solve that; think of it as Aggregator 0.1 Alpha. Then sites doing the aggregating and filtering seemed to be it; Mashable, Lifehacker, TechCrunch. That was Aggregator 1.0 " as static and dumb as Web 1.0

But now it's Joe Cocker, freaking twist- shocking his body and scream-singing "aaaaah I get by with a little help from my friends": it's Aggregator 2.0 where we filter and we participate.

And you know what I noticed the other day?

You're not there. And I don't miss you.

When are you going to come out and play?

Participation Attention Cycle

Participation Creates Audience

Images repurposed from It's the participation economy, stupid! It is -- and I paying attention is the best investment you can make

Ruud Hein

My paid passion at Search Engine People sees me applying my passions and knowledge to a wide array of problems, ones I usually experience as challenges. People who know me know I love coffee.

Ruud Hein

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10 Responses to “You're Missing the Bandwagon”

  1. Right on, Ruud. It's happening to us all. More than ever it's the title that's got to get their attention, even if they know and like you. .. and it may well be the retweet version that counts.

    • Ruud Hein says:

      The title if it's a static stream, like a feed reader. Snippets, statements, facts from the post if it's dynamic, like Twitter.

      And you can't *push* this stuff either. It's like blogging; either it's genuine or you lose out with page filler.

      You can't "join Facebook, then publish all post links"

  2. Cool Gifts says:

    I agree Ruud. So many people have the mindset that if you build it they will come. I don't believe that really applies to social media. You have to give them a reason to come and a reason to keep coming back. Setting it and forgetting it is a no-go.

  3. It's that short attention span! Too many hours playing games and immediate fulfillment thing. We all like to get to the meat of what we read but I don't get the twitter thing.

    • Ruud Hein says:

      It's a lot like "back then" with blogs when we also wondering "well for crying out loud, who is going to listen to me ramble on about my cat?!" — and then we realized we don't need to talk about our cats; we can post about consumer products, give tips, share a private look into how we do stuff in our own lives.

      The same holds true for Twitter (or Facebook… or FriendFeed…. or MySpace… or….)

  4. Josh says:

    I think I missed the point on this. I can't see the problem with publication as being "passe". It's more the problem of content and consistency, isn't it?

    I re-read what you posted here, it feels like you're saying that blogging and individual publications similar to that will phase out in favor of social media, did I get that right?

    • Ruud Hein says:

      Publication is not "passe"; it's the place of "contact" with that publication and its consumption that's the problem.

      Recent data (Nielsen's, for example) shows that while people spend more time online, they browse less. More contact with less sites.

      Sites which receive a lot of attention are social networking ones; it is here that people share information, content, links. It's there that one should be found.

      In other words; browsing as a discovery engine is getting less popular, RSS never has caught on with the big public, but social networking (THE new discovery engine) did — how could one consciously opt NOT to be there?

  5. I rarely have time to read newspapers these days.. Online news seems to be the easiest form of doing it for me – I flick when I have time. I think content consistency is so important, but I think that interaction is also important. If people comment on your blog and you don't take any notice, soon they'll stop commenting and possibly stop reading.. you don't want that! If you want people to love coming to and reading your blog, it's important to give something back – like you do :-)

    • Ruud Hein says:

      [nods] You're so right.

      Without consistent content and consistent interaction, the Internet will forget you in the blink of an "I click"

  6. Yes, this is a great post. In my opinion – some times less is more. I find it hard to get involved enough with day to day activities, but there are definitely ways to streamline what you consume.