Signal-To-Noise Ratio On Community Blogging Sites

posted on 2005-05-18 at 22:51:49 by Joel Ross

It looks like Jason Olson caused a little bit of a stir over at GeeksWithBlogs the other day. He posted a couple of posts that he admitted probably didn't belong on the main feed, but they got there. And Jeff Julian, who runs GeeksWithBlogs, took him to task. This started the whole conversation about Signal-To-Noise, which I thought we'd gotten over a year ago.

It's odd. I was just thinking before this happened how I hadn't heard anyone talking about SNR in a long time. And lo and behold, a couple of days later, it's back.

Here's why SNR is important: If you run a community site, you are trying to focus the bloggers to stay on topic, so that your audience sticks around and can find what they want.

Here's why it isn't: Blogging isn't about the topics per se. Blogging is about the person or people you're reading. When you read someone's blog, you're (indirectly) building a relationship with them. You're getting to know them. If the blogger has to restrict what they can say, then you don't get to know where they are coming from, which is bad. As a reader, you lose perspective.

Having said both of those things, this is the precise reason I stopped my main blogging at the 'Dojo. It was too much of a pain to go in and add my posts and remember every time to not syndicate this one. Dave Burke says the same thing, but he takes it one step further, and he says SNR is more important on your own site. He says if you gain users based on technical content, then increasing the SNR is more likely to cause people to unsubscribe. Maybe I'm different, but I rarely unsubscribe from a blog, so it doesn't really affect me. If there's a topic I don't care about, I just delete the post. No big deal.

But for a community site, I think staying on topic is the way to go.

Categories: Blogging