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Wayne’s weekly wrap-up: the Echo Chamber

If you’re a ‘blogger, the title of this article means something to you. If you’re not a ‘blogger, you may be wondering what the hell I’m talking about. So you might want to read on…

If you’re in the mood for a little reading, then this Blogger For Hire article will give you a good run-down of what the Echo Chamber thing really is.

However, if you’re not in the mood for some extra reading, then here’s a summary:

“Blogs are real time. As fast as something can be typed and the publish button pushed, words can be transmitted to readers all over the world. When you have people that are gurus … everyone is excited to report what exciting thing they read today over at this popular blog. If they are excited to report it, and you are also excited, and both of you blog it and make me click to go read it, you can see where you get caught up in that echo chamber or the ‘blogging fissure.’”

So in a nutshell, the Echo Chamber is regurgitating what’s doing the rounds on the ‘net and not actually adding to it.

The reason I choose to comment on this thing is because it’s something I have views about.

For example, you have the big news sources who cover the news, and if the news is big, the echo begins.

But news agencies often cite other news agencies as the source of an item, such as Reuters. But do we refer to that as Echo Chamber stuff? Well, no.

But if a ‘blogger cites a news source, then they may well pick up the unfortunate title of being one of the many that add noise to the signal with an echo.

The point is, you either read an article, or you don’t. And you can’t argue that the search results are cluttered up with this stuff, because if these guys aren’t producing unique and compelling content, then the search engines will not view those ‘blogs as being contributory to the overall wealth of authoritative content.

Thus, repetitive content is self-regulated and removed from the first three pages of the search results.

Going back to the major news agencies, after they cover a news story, their army of commentators will then cover the story in detail, teasing out the story behind the story, adding in opinion and commentary.

Thus, adding to the overall wealth of authoritative content, assuming the aforementioned commentators know what they’re talking about.

More signal, less noise

I don’t consciously look to avoid being just another echo. I just look for the story behind the story hidden inside the news.

Sometimes, I’m wrong, but I like to think that I make for engaging reading. Engaging enough for my readership to be steadily rising week over week.

As an example, my wildly successful coverage on the Adobe Apollo platform has served me really, really well on two very separate occasions.

But the news of the recent alpha release of Adobe Apollo didn’t really inspire me to write that up.

The difference between the two articles is that the former was me digging out something that no one else had either seen or thought to do, while the latter is an inevitability, and is really the domain of the obligatory press release, requiring nothing from me.

In essence, if I can’t add something to the story by unearthing some salient, unseen detail hidden within the story, then I stay silent and look elsewhere.

I’m not a huge news agency, so I really don’t have first-mover rights on any breaking news. What I have is a keen eye for something not easily seen, and that’s what I try to bring to you guys and give you something worthy of your valuable reading time…

Recommended reading

By Wayne Smallman

Wayne is the man behind the Blah, Blah! Technology website, and the creator of the Under Cloud, a digital research assistant for journalists and academics.

2 replies on “Wayne’s weekly wrap-up: the Echo Chamber”

You’re just trying to get on my christmas card list, aren’t you? 😉

Thanks for that. As always, greatly appreciated…

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