...is not to generalize about the blogosphere. I am reminded of this every time I read a hand-wringing article about what blogs are or aren't, such as this one by Adam Cohen in today's NYT.
Jeff Jarvis unloads on Cohen at length, but this to me is the key point:
He is, again, trying to turn blogs into an institution, like journalism. But they are not. Blogs are all individual.
You can find responsible and irresponsible blogs, journalistic and non-journalistic ones, male-dominated clusters and female-dominated clusters, snarky blogs and serious blogs, and superficial, derivative, navel-gazing ones alongside ones of such depth and scholarship that they put even the serious press to shame.
In short, blogs are a Long Tail, and it is always a mistake to generalize about the quality or nature of content in the Long Tail--it is, by definition, variable and diverse.
The presumption that things that are less popular are less good is a classic fallacy; indeed,tail content is often of higher quality than head content, simply because it is uncompromising. Content that is perfectly targeted for some people will be, by definition, wrong for other people--and that's okay.
Head content satisfies us in areas where we are similar (watching beautiful, talented people interact amusingly); Tail content satisfies us in areas where we are different (watching geeks talk about remotely programming DVRs). Me, I'd rather watch the latter than the former, but the beauty of the Long Tail is that you don't have to agree with me to make that geek show worth making. Vive la difference!