Why You Should Always Remember That Most People Have No Taste

by anna on February 21, 2011

Everybody wonders why some popular blogs are popular, when there are smaller blogs that are more interesting that stay unsuccessful. Though this is not always the case, it’s often very difficult to discern why one blog makes it and another blog doesn’t, particularly if you are prone to forgetting the reality that most people have no ability to sort quality from crap on their own. Most people do not have a highly developed sense of taste, and they rely on other people to tell them what is good and what isn’t.

There are a bunch of factors that lead to a blog being successful. Only one of these things is quality and talent — there is also longevity, the connections of the blogger to other popular bloggers, the phenomenon of the EVENT View definition in a new window, the ability of the blogger to market themselves, and the blog’s story all feed into how popular a blog is. It might seem intuitive that the best blogs seem like the best when you visit them — and sometimes this is absolutely the case — but often this is not true. Something is considered good, much of the time, because somebody influential said that it was good — people who visit the blog are operating on a recommendation from somebody else.

Here’s the thing: back in the day when there weren’t that many blogs to choose from, maybe you checked out each one carefully and decided whether you liked the blog before moving on. There were like ten blogs back then so, you know, why not?

But today, I’m not in the market for any more blogs. I already have too many to read. So when I see your blog, you need to grab me right away and tell me why I need to read you. You simply cannot rely on me to go through and figure out what makes you interesting, because I’m probably not going to do it. And if I’m not going to do it, then you can bet even fewer of the Justin Bieber adoring public is going to bother with it.

If you want to be successful as a blogger, give me a story that I cannot get anywhere else, and make it really easy to find. You have to tell me what it is, don’t count on me figuring it out. There are tons of LOLCats I could be spending my time chuckling over, after all.

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{ 12 comments }

1
Lynn MacDonald (All Fooked Up) February 21, 2011 at 2:15 pm

That was so well put…the plain and simple fact is that people are lemmings and they’ll follow their leader, even if the leader writes crap. Interesting and funny often gets overlooked.

You go girl!!

2
Veronica February 21, 2011 at 2:35 pm

THANKYOU! Finally, someone says it and agrees with me. Blogs have 3 posts to get me interested in their story (I’m a patient person) before I decide not worth my time. I like good writing. I like snark. I like humour and I like honesty.

I see loads of terribly written blogs that make me cringe and they’re wildly popular. I mean, WTF?

Some of my favourite blogs have tiny readerships, but the writing is brilliant. I’m not a fan of follow the leader anymore and I’m sick of bad writing.

So there.

3
Laura February 21, 2011 at 4:31 pm

I get really tired of hearing about the business of blogging. I choose to read the blogs I do because I enjoy them. I don’t care who their friends are, what their brand is, or what stupid events they are part of (do you guys really think we care if you attend blogher, mighty summitt, sxsw, etc???? really???). Just write well and we will read. I may click over to a blog because I saw a link from a popular blogger that I read, but I don’t subscribe to their blog unless I like it (after reading through quite a bit of their historical posts). There are a few blogs that I hung onto for a while thinking that they must get better because they are such big names (MightyGirl, Fussypants…sorry to name names, but it is true) but after a while I realized they they just don’t write a lot and it isn’t entertaining when they do.

Why do you guys think we care about that stuff?

4
Kerry February 21, 2011 at 5:56 pm

Well, on this particular spot, I think the reason it’s assumed that you care is that the entire focus of this particular blog is the business end of blogging. So that’s kind of the whole point.

5
Laura February 21, 2011 at 6:24 pm

You’re right about that, and I should have mentioned that it doesn’t bother me to read about it on this blog because it IS about the business side. I guess I expressed the frustration because I’ve seen this topic talked about in several different ways on a few different blogs that I read lately.

6
Fiona February 21, 2011 at 5:08 pm

I often do that , add a blog to my reader because it’s popular with people I thought I respected, but lose interest waaay to quick.

7
Meredith February 21, 2011 at 6:38 pm

I definitely went through blog overload a few months ago and I could not figure out why so many popular blogs are boring. I got sick of reading some of the big blogs with mundane content and sifting through the smaller blogs, many of which are great, but many of which are not. Finally, I decided to only subscribe to a blog that really really interests me and focus the rest of my energy on making my own blog and podcast better. So much more fun to do that.

8
J. February 21, 2011 at 7:30 pm

This TOTALLY explains why there’s a “Big Momma’s House 3″!! Truly, I understand Bieber fever better than how Martin Lawrence keeps making these pieces of crap.

9
Carrie February 22, 2011 at 1:30 am

I’ve felt the same about ‘big’ bloggers. I’ve added a few to my reader and tried to like them but ended up getting rid of them quickly. I think part of it might be timing. If you’ve been reading a blog for a long time, and before it was popular, you’re pretty invested and happy to keep reading. If you’re coming into it at its height, it’s hard to see what all the fuss is about. That’s been my experience anyway.

I’m on the lookout for some new blogs as a lot of my old ones seem to have disappeared or I’ve become bored with them. I find that finding good ones I like is hard.

10
Megan at SortaCrunchy February 23, 2011 at 12:44 pm

I’m a few years past blog saturation, so there is very, VERY little chance I’m adding a new blog to my reader now – regardless of which Big Timer links to it.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time puzzling over why some blogs are So Big, and it has remained a mystery. Until today. Thanks for helping me make the connection here. Movies, music, TV – it all testifies to a lack of taste, really, doesn’t it? Why should blogs be the exception.

Excellent insight.

11
margalit February 23, 2011 at 2:43 pm

Great post, Anna. I’ve been blogging for years now, and one of my huge pet peeves are the “popular” bloggers that push friend’s blogs not because they are good or have original content, but because they are friends. If MY friends suck at blogging, I’ll never have my readers be disappointed with my recommendation friend’s blogs to read just because they are my friend. Niope, I keep my mouth shut because I have integrity and I believe in good content more than popularity.

I’ve recently cleaned out my blog reader and I’m down from over 350 blogs to less than 50. I’ve unsubbed from blogs that have cocktail recipes instead of content. I NEVER understood Maggie Mason’s popularity, but she is an irl friend of Dooce so I guess people think that she must be cool. Ditto for HBM, Finslippy and Fussy. Alice seems to dislike her kid and Fussy hasn’t been interesting in years. Her Bad Mother… oh, I just do not understand why anyone wants to read “woe is me” daily posts. The blogs that I love always keep me on my toes, posting spellbinding stories, showing art and films and beautiful clothing design coupled with funny commentary.

And people, stop putting things on your pet’s heads. It has been done to death!

12
K February 28, 2011 at 2:45 pm

This post is right on.

I’ve been thinking about this stuff lately, and I’ve also come to suspect that the general personal/life blog will lose popularity soon, in favor of blogs with a really specific and defined focus.

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