Linkbaiting is a tactic, not a strategy

Will blogging eat itself?

While taking into the account the existential question of what a blog actually is, and the gamut of prose that it encapsulates, the trend for ever-increasing noise does seem apparent (this blog being but one example). From microblogging to reblogging via splogs and linkrolls, are we reducing ourselves to inanity repeated endlessly? And does this degrade the wider media environment? Two excellent posts have brought these questions to my attention

Warren Ellis argues that we have come through to the end of the age of blogging he calls “The patchwork years”. Does this mean original content will make a comeback?

Possibly, but Jason Calacanis points to a wider, potentially damaging, effect of this era. Jason may have quit blogging for private mail-outs, but his presence is still felt (well, perhaps reblogging isn’t always so bad). I recommend that you read the entire entry, but this quote grabbed my attention (spotted via A VC).

The life of a startup CEO dealing with the rabid but sometime naive blogosphere is one of extremes. You’re killing or you’re killed, you’re the shinny new object or yesterday’s news. You can couple the link-bait based blogosphere with main-stream media journalists who, instead of acting like the voice of reason and “sticking to what got them there,” have taken the link-baiting bait. The MSM has had to incorporate the flame warring, rumor mongering and link-baiting ethos in order to keep up in the page-view cold war.

This is either the shot in the arm MSM needs to compete, or they’re chasing the blogosphere Thelma and Louise-style off a cliff. Time will tell I suppose

This harks back to my earlier post on the problems with auditing online metrics. Page views and unique users are not the complete answer and we risk cheap stunts overpowering quality content. Trivia may be hugely popular on the Internet, but MSM risks damaging their brands if they try to compete.

Perhaps I am being Utopian but if a work of genius like The Wire can survive on 38,000 viewers then surely websites can survive on a commercially orientated but BBC-inspired mindset. By providing us with a useful service. Content should remain King.

sk

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/leecullivan/

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