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October 18, 2005

My readers are disloyal and of little value

... or so bleats Jakob Nielsen, who is a prime example if ever there was one of a person with an ossified world view.

While categorizing the things bloggers do wrong - a couple of which he gets more or less right - Nielsen says the following:

8. Mixing Topics
If you publish on many different topics, you're less likely to attract a loyal audience of high-value users. Busy people might visit a blog to read an entry about a topic that interests them. They're unlikely to return, however, if their target topic appears only sporadically among a massive range of postings on other topics. The only people who read everything are those with too much time on their hands (a low-value demographic).
The more focused your content, the more focused your readers. That, again, makes you more influential within your niche. Specialized sites rule the Web, so aim tightly.
If you have the urge to speak out on, say, both American foreign policy and the business strategy of Internet telephony, establish two blogs. You can always interlink them when appropriate.

This is my favorite part:

The only people who read everything are those with too much time on their hands (a low-value demographic).

This, of course, is why the New York Review of Books is uniformly criticized as a worthless publication. Nielsen's saying that people who read for pleasure are of little value as readers.

Via PZ, who has a special talent for finding sites that irritate thinking, low-value types like myself.

Posted by Chris Clarke at October 18, 2005 11:42 AM TrackBack URL for this entry:

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I know that most people with "aviation related" blog rolls don't list me because I blog about other stuff as well as the aviation. I know one aviation blogger who has separate blogs for his personal life and his flying for that reason. Me, I'm a "you can take me or leave me" kind of guy. If you don't want to read geekery or kayaking stuff or photography in your aviation blog reading, then too bad for you.

Posted by: Paul Tomblin at October 18, 2005 12:47 PM
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"(a low-value demographic)"

It's not enough that I have to be devalued in almost every other venue of American culture because I'm not an 18-year-old gum-smacking, bare-midriffed, blonde-streaked consumer (male or female, take your pick). Now I'm insulted for not having the attention span of a gnat or having the capacity to be inspired, entertained, or informed by more than one thing! Hyper-specialization is the death of intellect.

Posted by: jg at October 18, 2005 01:10 PM
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Oooh! I'm a low-value reader AND a low-value blogger! I am the white trash of the blogosphere! BOW DOWN BEFORE ME.

I feel strongly that there should be some kind of tiara involved in recognition of this achievement. Perhaps something along the lines of the dual crown of ancient Egypt, signifying the union of the Low and the Lower kingdoms.

Posted by: CMD at October 18, 2005 01:29 PM
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who knew that well-rounded = low-value?? gosh

Posted by: leslie at October 18, 2005 01:47 PM
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i say good writing is good writing, no matter the topic(s). maybe i have too much time on my hands, and, well, good for me.

Posted by: Sean at October 18, 2005 06:12 PM
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I never have time on my hands at all. However, I do have plenty of time to do what interests me, unlike the average American working slave....

Posted by: donna at October 18, 2005 07:40 PM
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I already have a tiara, and a lovely one, thank you. I have precisely as much time as I want to have for reading low-value useless information such as that here on CRN and Pharyngula and I Blame the Patriarchy and my 100 or so other favorite sites. I guess I am a perfect example of a low-value user. Who the fuck is Jakob Nielsen anyway? Too much time on my hands? Well, maybe. I don't have a television, so that frees up a lot of time right there. Plus I'm interested in more than one thing.

Posted by: alphabitch at October 18, 2005 09:44 PM
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Maybe this is just my contrarian nature, but I find CRN to be tightly focussed. As is Pharyngula, and the NY Review of Books. And because of that focus, I know that I'm far more likely to find something worth reading here than at a blog on either "American foreign policy" or "Internet telephony". Isn't that what focus means for a reader? What's more, I'm likely to find something worthwhile on related sites too, whether related by links in or out or by keywords (environment, life, writing, sniping at Annie Dillard, etc.)

Posted by: TFox at October 19, 2005 08:57 AM
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i see i are in good company down here at the low-value demographic cafe.

Posted by: dread pirate roberts at October 19, 2005 09:49 AM
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If you're not rich, you should try to appear useful.


Posted by: doghouse riley at October 19, 2005 10:39 AM
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I throw stuff like poetry blogging in specifically to maintain my low-value status.

Posted by: Auguste at October 19, 2005 01:54 PM
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I always suspected the fact I have too much time on my hands was related to my low value status, rather than my lack of gainful full time employment.

Posted by: KathyF at October 19, 2005 03:18 PM
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Four quatloos for the redhead!

Posted by: Chris Clarke at October 19, 2005 03:25 PM
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Hey, if this is a "low-value" group, then I'm proud to be a part of it!

Posted by: Pepper at October 19, 2005 07:23 PM
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If your blogging goal is world domination or financial self-sufficiency, then no, unfocused appeal to a blob of unfocused readers isn't going to get you there. But if you're looking for some smart conversation, you're really going to have to talk about more than one thing. You know why? 'Cause smart people are able to focus on more than one thing at a time. We can hold, like, three different ideas in our heads and, like, make connections among them. It's exactly that sort of thing that lowers our value.

Jacob says: "Specialized sites rule the Web." Yes, Amazon is really specifically focused, isn't it? In fact, as time goes by, Amazon continues to hone its laser-beam-narrow focus to avoid losing value.

Posted by: Orange at October 20, 2005 08:57 AM
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