Consuming my friends

The other day, someone asked on the nextNY list who my "must read" blogs where.

I went to my feedreader and noticed something interesting.  By almost a 2:1 margin, the people whose blogs I read are people I know.  By and large, they were either blogs of friends, or blogs of professional contacts I had interacted with extensively either online or offline.

So my blog list is really just a list of people I know.  I read very few people just because I feel like I have to read them, and those that used to be in that category I've since tried to meet, if nothing more than just saying hi at a conference and e-mailing.

To me, that makes a lot more sense, because blogs, at their heart, are really made out of people.  They're a social technology, and if you're not socializing as part of your blog reading, as the lolcats say, "ur doin it wrong."   When you read a blog and never comment, never e-mail the author on the side, don't show up to the same meetups and conferences, you're basically treating blogs a passive, non-interactive mainstream media--and really missing out on a lot of potential. 

If you're reading this blog and not commenting, I can't see how you're really getting that much value, to be honest.  You could read about social media and tech stuff anywhere--but you can't get ME anywhere, and I'm just a comment, e-mail, or Plugoo message away.  (Can't say enough about that widget... my mom messages me almost everyday through it.)

The desire to consume and publish content to and from a small group of closely connected people is something tech types always underestimate.  Web 2.0 fanboys often know very little about the dynamics of places like LiveJournal, where an intensely loyal and close-knit community often shared with just 3 or 4 people on average--and there are a lot more LJers than there are Scobles of the world.  I've said it before, but most people don't want to broadcast to the world and be the most popular, nor do they want more content from people they don't know--they want relevance, and a sense of authentic community, which tends to be smaller.   That's also why Tumblr is taking off.  If you think it's just another blogging tool, you're not seeing the people connections in between. 

At the end of the day, I just don't have the time to hear about everything in the world...   but I need to make time to hear about what's going on in my friends' lives, and also to use them as a filter for content.  They are a filter not because we like the same stuff, but because their content meets the most important criteria of them all:

"Stuff someone I care about is likely to talk to me about soon..."