in Social Media

Mashable: A Model for Success or Selling Out?

Mashable | All That's New on the WebAn interesting conversation amongst some friends and acquaintances took place yesterday on Twitter in which we were discussing the value of the popular Social Media “news” site Mashable. Maybe you read Mashable, maybe you don’t, Maybe you love it, or maybe you can’t stand their intertwining of Social Media news, PR reports, and celebrity gossip. Maybe you think Mr. Cashmore is a sexy dude, or maybe you’d label him as a total d-bag.  To each his own.

Let’s face it, we all think we are or want to be “right” – even if we won’t admit it, even if we’re the most open minded person on earth, our own opinion still seems more “right” most of the time, because, well, it is our own. You can argue all day long that you love or hate Mashable – but ultimately there’s going to be some people who think it’s crap and some who think it’s the best thing since sliced bread. There is no right or wrong.

Evolution is inevitable – things change, topics shift, markets and demographics vary. Mashable may be on the decline for people who used to rely on it as a valuable source of online marketing information – but for the millions of other people who want to keep tabs on Ashton Kuther’s Twitter following, Mashable is happy to oblige. Somewhere along the way the Mashable crew saw an opportunity to reach new heights, and they have.

What else is Mashable doing? As David Spinks so aptly put during this conversation – Mashable is doing wonders at bridging the gap between our tight-knit community of bloggers and Social Media gurus and the rest of the general population. We’re quick to forget there is a whole world out there of people who could care less about blogging and Twitter, but may want to know about the latest Apple release or Google Announcement. A platform like Mashable gives “our” community and the rest of the online demographic a place to come together, for better or for worse.

I hope that’s what this blog becomes – a place for online gurus and  ‘everyday Internet users’ to come together and chat about life, careers, Social Media, whatever. I don’t want to segment myself too closely to one specific niche or group. My writing, and the writing of most of you out there, can and does apply to a much wider audience than you think. It’s just about catching the attention of those who would otherwise overlook your brilliance.

Mashable may be totally useless. You may never read a single post they publish again in you’re life. But when you don’t – someone else will. We’re not going to all find value in the same things. And that’s OK – that’s what makes reading and writing so much fun – because there’s SO much out there, and such a wide spectrum of information to consume and enjoy. At the heart of it all, you should be writing about what you love, about what interests you – and if someone else, even if it’s only one out of a hundred, finds value in what you write – isn’t that enough? Isn’t that what it’s all about?

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  1. Hey Matt,

    I needed to read this today. I forget often how my obsession with social media and it’s possible applications isn’t shared by everyone.

    I’ve watch Mashable closely this last year, and several other major blogs as well, trying to glean anything I can to help me guide my own efforts over at Careerealism.com. I’ve found the process of creating community challenging and fascinating. So , like you, I think you have to respect their ability to seize an opportunity and bridge a gap.

    Thanks for sharing!

    JT

    • Hi JT. It’s easy for us who are nose deep in this world of Social Media and blogging to forget that there are masses of people out there who see things through a completely different lens. I’ll agree with many of the critics that the value of Mashable, for me, has diminished – but only because I’m not interested in news on new gadgets and celebrities – there are a lot who are – and there are clearly many, many, people who still take away a lot from what Mashable is putting out. It truly is a “to each his own” situation.

      Building community is not easy by any means, so you have to give credit where credit is due – Mashable is at the top of the game, and they got their through a lot of hard work, and seizing opportunities when they passed before them.

  2. Hey Matt,

    I needed to read this today. I forget often how my obsession with social media and it’s possible applications isn’t shared by everyone.

    I’ve watch Mashable closely this last year, and several other major blogs as well, trying to glean anything I can to help me guide my own efforts over at Careerealism.com. I’ve found the process of creating community challenging and fascinating. So , like you, I think you have to respect their ability to seize an opportunity and bridge a gap.

    Thanks for sharing!

    JT

    • Hi JT. It’s easy for us who are nose deep in this world of Social Media and blogging to forget that there are masses of people out there who see things through a completely different lens. I’ll agree with many of the critics that the value of Mashable, for me, has diminished – but only because I’m not interested in news on new gadgets and celebrities – there are a lot who are – and there are clearly many, many, people who still take away a lot from what Mashable is putting out. It truly is a “to each his own” situation.

      Building community is not easy by any means, so you have to give credit where credit is due – Mashable is at the top of the game, and they got their through a lot of hard work, and seizing opportunities when they passed before them.

  3. Morning Matt,

    I love your honesty. Yesterday in the #blogvalue chat, I said something along the lines that if the community sees value in what you’re writing, their WOM will bring more readers/visits to your site. So above, when you say: “…if someone else, even if it’s only one out of a hundred, finds value in what you write – isn’t that enough? Isn’t that what it’s all about?”, I obviously agree. For me, that’s what it’s all about.

    @stina6001

    • Exactly Christina. While I would love for my words to spread far and wide, at the end of the day, the traffic and comments don’t mean anything – to me, it means there are more people who could potentially lend to the discussion, more people for me to learn from, more people for all of you to interact here on this “platform”. Numbers are nice to look at, they’re “sexier” to talk about – but I’d rather focus on writing things that matter to me – that in turn hopefully add value to others, even if it’s only one. Thanks for the comment!

  4. Morning Matt,

    I love your honesty. Yesterday in the #blogvalue chat, I said something along the lines that if the community sees value in what you’re writing, their WOM will bring more readers/visits to your site. So above, when you say: “…if someone else, even if it’s only one out of a hundred, finds value in what you write – isn’t that enough? Isn’t that what it’s all about?”, I obviously agree. For me, that’s what it’s all about.

    @stina6001

    • Exactly Christina. While I would love for my words to spread far and wide, at the end of the day, the traffic and comments don’t mean anything – to me, it means there are more people who could potentially lend to the discussion, more people for me to learn from, more people for all of you to interact here on this “platform”. Numbers are nice to look at, they’re “sexier” to talk about – but I’d rather focus on writing things that matter to me – that in turn hopefully add value to others, even if it’s only one. Thanks for the comment!

  5. Truth be told, Mashable had me and then lost me. There’s only so many times I can read pithy comparisons and quick ‘reviews’ of different services, products and new trends before I’m kind of depressed about the entire social media sphere.

    Then again, as you say, they definitely DO have an audience, and a prolific one at that, so I say more power to them. They found a niche and they’re refining themselves to fit into it more snugly. Doing this will always alienate a part of one’s readership.

    • Good point Colin – they have a huge audience, it just might not be you and I anymore. They’ve “lost me” a bit as well – I still visit from time to time when an interesting headline passes through my Twitter-stream, but for the most part, what they offer isn’t of interest to me anymore. To each his own.

  6. Truth be told, Mashable had me and then lost me. There’s only so many times I can read pithy comparisons and quick ‘reviews’ of different services, products and new trends before I’m kind of depressed about the entire social media sphere.

    Then again, as you say, they definitely DO have an audience, and a prolific one at that, so I say more power to them. They found a niche and they’re refining themselves to fit into it more snugly. Doing this will always alienate a part of one’s readership.

    • Good point Colin – they have a huge audience, it just might not be you and I anymore. They’ve “lost me” a bit as well – I still visit from time to time when an interesting headline passes through my Twitter-stream, but for the most part, what they offer isn’t of interest to me anymore. To each his own.

  7. Great post. Until recently, I had never even heard of mashable and now it’s all I hear about which would explain exactly what you’re talking about – how they’ve positioned themselves as a site that will appeal to bloggers, social media experts and everyone else. They do seem like they’re growing to become the Apple of Web-related “news” but as with most of these sites, the novelty will probably wear off. Or maybe it will have staying power but will distance itself from its original purpose (like Starbucks!)

    Overall, in terms of building community, I think it’s a very time consuming and laborious process and only a lucky few are able to grow and expand rapidly.

    • To expand rapidly you REALLY have to hit things at the right time, and maybe get a little lucky along the way. Building community and establishing relationships – both online, and off – takes time. You don’t hear stories of overnight successes very often, if ever. A lot of hard work has to go into not only BUILDING a community – but once you have it – maintaining and nurturing it over the long haul. Losing the interest of some and gaining the interest of others is a natural part of the cycle.

  8. Great post. Until recently, I had never even heard of mashable and now it’s all I hear about which would explain exactly what you’re talking about – how they’ve positioned themselves as a site that will appeal to bloggers, social media experts and everyone else. They do seem like they’re growing to become the Apple of Web-related “news” but as with most of these sites, the novelty will probably wear off. Or maybe it will have staying power but will distance itself from its original purpose (like Starbucks!)

    Overall, in terms of building community, I think it’s a very time consuming and laborious process and only a lucky few are able to grow and expand rapidly.

    • To expand rapidly you REALLY have to hit things at the right time, and maybe get a little lucky along the way. Building community and establishing relationships – both online, and off – takes time. You don’t hear stories of overnight successes very often, if ever. A lot of hard work has to go into not only BUILDING a community – but once you have it – maintaining and nurturing it over the long haul. Losing the interest of some and gaining the interest of others is a natural part of the cycle.

  9. For me, this conversation was never one about value, but rather one about settling. About being just “ok”.

    Mashable has the words “The Social Media Guide” under their logan (symbolizing that this is probably their main mission with the site). The words “Social Media News and Web Tips – Mashable – The Social Media Guide” appear in your browser’s title bar when visiting Mashable. This continues to suggest that this site is one of the top sources for “social media” news.

    As I (and others) have stated before, Tiger Woods and the associated TMZ content Mashable produces more frequently have nothing to do with “social media”. This is a case of Mashable simply settling for average content to reach a larger, more average audience. They’ve also dumbed down the remaining reviews, quick tips, and associated list content in order to reach a broader, more average audience.

    Sad to see, in my eyes.

    I could easily switch my BeyondThePedway.com show into a series of interviews with web startups about Twitter and how awesome it is. I would probably gain a crapload of viewers a lot quicker simply because people are obsessed with the shininess of Twitter.

    But I won’t do that. I’m not going to settle for average content to reach a broader audience. I’d rather create something of substance. Something great. Not just good.

    Just my two cents.

      • while I agree with you… there’s also the saying: “don’t let the great get in the way of the good.”

        it could also just be semantics. maybe “excellence” for Mashable IS appealing to a wider audience as a way to spread SM idea & ideals?

        I dunno. just thinking out loud.

        • I like what you’re saying here – and the point that Alicia restated is a good one – Something I try to align myself with every day. But as Seth says above – I think it’s all in semantics and perspective. What’s great to you could be crap to someone else, and vice versa. You might thing Mashable is a total sell out, and other people might eat up every word and love every minute of it. We don’t have to all agree on the same thing.

          Mashable may have taken the high road toward “selling out” – or maybe it is simply a business doing what it thought was best for the greater good of their community, and their in-house staff. If I set out to have this blog pay the bills, I might take a crack at posting about more “crowd pleasing” topics – and save the personal stuff for a “personal” blog.

          Everyone has different priorities and strategies to get where they want to be. Mashable is appealing to an EXTREMELY wide audience, and as I said in the post above, I think they ARE doing a good thing in bridging the gap between different “types” of Internet users.

    • Tim and I have discussed this before, but I’m with him on this. I’m fine with Mashable going mainstream and dumbing things down for the average, non-techy internet user. But where they lost me is when they started writing Apple product rumors and bullshit stories like the Tiger Woods one. I will say that I used to hate the lists they’d compile of ‘top this’ and ’10 best apps for that,’ but they can be valuable when you’re searching for a new tool or service. Yet, I get all my new product info from sites like Gizmodo, Engadget, etc. because they do a remarkably better job at it, are wittier and generally much better writers than Mashable’s crew.

      I think Mashable realizes that the tech savvy crowd is getting news so often from twitter streams and lists and other sources that they had to broaden their approach to get users back to their pages to get eyeballs in front of their insane ad scheme.

      It’s not for me anymore, but, that’s OK for them. People like Tim and I will go elsewhere.

      • Hey Brandon. I really don’t think this is a “taking sides” issue – I agree with you, Mashable lost me in translation as well – I think that we have to understand that EVERYTHING is not going to cater to you and me, or the people on this blog – that celebrity news and top 10 gadget lists have a place and community who wants that information. We can move on and read things that more relate to us – and I think Mashable is fine with that. They’ve clearly changed their focus a bit, which might be somewhat disappointing, but again – I’ve never really considered them a go-to resource for bettering my own life or walking away more fulfilled.

        Thanks for the comment!

  10. For me, this conversation was never one about value, but rather one about settling. About being just “ok”.

    Mashable has the words “The Social Media Guide” under their logan (symbolizing that this is probably their main mission with the site). The words “Social Media News and Web Tips – Mashable – The Social Media Guide” appear in your browser’s title bar when visiting Mashable. This continues to suggest that this site is one of the top sources for “social media” news.

    As I (and others) have stated before, Tiger Woods and the associated TMZ content Mashable produces more frequently have nothing to do with “social media”. This is a case of Mashable simply settling for average content to reach a larger, more average audience. They’ve also dumbed down the remaining reviews, quick tips, and associated list content in order to reach a broader, more average audience.

    Sad to see, in my eyes.

    I could easily switch my BeyondThePedway.com show into a series of interviews with web startups about Twitter and how awesome it is. I would probably gain a crapload of viewers a lot quicker simply because people are obsessed with the shininess of Twitter.

    But I won’t do that. I’m not going to settle for average content to reach a broader audience. I’d rather create something of substance. Something great. Not just good.

    Just my two cents.

      • while I agree with you… there’s also the saying: “don’t let the great get in the way of the good.”

        it could also just be semantics. maybe “excellence” for Mashable IS appealing to a wider audience as a way to spread SM idea & ideals?

        I dunno. just thinking out loud.

        • I like what you’re saying here – and the point that Alicia restated is a good one – Something I try to align myself with every day. But as Seth says above – I think it’s all in semantics and perspective. What’s great to you could be crap to someone else, and vice versa. You might thing Mashable is a total sell out, and other people might eat up every word and love every minute of it. We don’t have to all agree on the same thing.

          Mashable may have taken the high road toward “selling out” – or maybe it is simply a business doing what it thought was best for the greater good of their community, and their in-house staff. If I set out to have this blog pay the bills, I might take a crack at posting about more “crowd pleasing” topics – and save the personal stuff for a “personal” blog.

          Everyone has different priorities and strategies to get where they want to be. Mashable is appealing to an EXTREMELY wide audience, and as I said in the post above, I think they ARE doing a good thing in bridging the gap between different “types” of Internet users.

    • Tim and I have discussed this before, but I’m with him on this. I’m fine with Mashable going mainstream and dumbing things down for the average, non-techy internet user. But where they lost me is when they started writing Apple product rumors and bullshit stories like the Tiger Woods one. I will say that I used to hate the lists they’d compile of ‘top this’ and ’10 best apps for that,’ but they can be valuable when you’re searching for a new tool or service. Yet, I get all my new product info from sites like Gizmodo, Engadget, etc. because they do a remarkably better job at it, are wittier and generally much better writers than Mashable’s crew.

      I think Mashable realizes that the tech savvy crowd is getting news so often from twitter streams and lists and other sources that they had to broaden their approach to get users back to their pages to get eyeballs in front of their insane ad scheme.

      It’s not for me anymore, but, that’s OK for them. People like Tim and I will go elsewhere.

      • Hey Brandon. I really don’t think this is a “taking sides” issue – I agree with you, Mashable lost me in translation as well – I think that we have to understand that EVERYTHING is not going to cater to you and me, or the people on this blog – that celebrity news and top 10 gadget lists have a place and community who wants that information. We can move on and read things that more relate to us – and I think Mashable is fine with that. They’ve clearly changed their focus a bit, which might be somewhat disappointing, but again – I’ve never really considered them a go-to resource for bettering my own life or walking away more fulfilled.

        Thanks for the comment!

  11. I think it’s tough to compare Mashable with bloggers like us. We’re in it for a multitide of reasons, while they’re in it mainly for one: to make money.

    They’re a business. They want as many page views as possible because it gets them more money from advertisers. In order to do this, you have to provide content that will attract the widest array of people, which rarely includes very detail-oriented niche posts.

    Personally, I love Mashable. It’s a place I go to find various news items, from which I can make my own in depth analysis if I so choose.

    Mashable is what it is, and I don’t think they’ve ever claimed to be something else.

    • I agree Jackie. I’ve read Mashable for a year or so now, and I don’t think they ever claimed to have incredible thought provoking content – it’s always been a “Social Media commentary” site – even if it has taken a “turn for the worse” as of late with all of the celebrity news. Once this world becomes about making money to you – the game changes. I don’t plan to make money with my blog (although it has led me to other outstanding opportunities away from this space) – so for me, here, the focus will always be on the content.

  12. I think it’s tough to compare Mashable with bloggers like us. We’re in it for a multitide of reasons, while they’re in it mainly for one: to make money.

    They’re a business. They want as many page views as possible because it gets them more money from advertisers. In order to do this, you have to provide content that will attract the widest array of people, which rarely includes very detail-oriented niche posts.

    Personally, I love Mashable. It’s a place I go to find various news items, from which I can make my own in depth analysis if I so choose.

    Mashable is what it is, and I don’t think they’ve ever claimed to be something else.

    • I agree Jackie. I’ve read Mashable for a year or so now, and I don’t think they ever claimed to have incredible thought provoking content – it’s always been a “Social Media commentary” site – even if it has taken a “turn for the worse” as of late with all of the celebrity news. Once this world becomes about making money to you – the game changes. I don’t plan to make money with my blog (although it has led me to other outstanding opportunities away from this space) – so for me, here, the focus will always be on the content.

  13. @timjahn- I think it completely depends on your goals. Personally, I fall more in line with your goal of creating something great. But, there will always be a bland, huge middle market where people try to make buckets of money by appealing to the lowest common denominator. It’s the age old argument of Art vs. Commerce. We’ll always have both.

  14. @timjahn- I think it completely depends on your goals. Personally, I fall more in line with your goal of creating something great. But, there will always be a bland, huge middle market where people try to make buckets of money by appealing to the lowest common denominator. It’s the age old argument of Art vs. Commerce. We’ll always have both.

  15. Disclosure: I write for Mashable.

    I shared all my thoughts on twitter but I can share more here. Mashable serves a different purpose from that of my blog or Matt’s blog. If you hold them up to the standard that you would hold one of our blogs, you’ll be disappointed every time because they don’t want to dig deep. They’re not looking to stir up debates and provide very niche content.

    When I write for Mashable, I approach topics very differently from how I approach topics on my own blog. It’s very different because the purpose of Mashable is to bring the news and information from the social media space out to the general public in a way that they can understand.

    They serve their purpose and they serve it well. Their purpose may not be something that you find value in, and that’s fine. Don’t think, though, that just because you don’t find value in something, that others can’t either.

    David
    Community Manager, Scribnia.com
    @Scribnia @DavidSpinks

    • Exactly David – different strokes for different folks. I don’t question for a minute that there is a huge audience who finds a ton of value in what Mashable does – and there is still some quality content there (from my perspective) – what you’ve written from them has been very well done, and it caters to that audience. If I wrote for them – my approach, as you stated with yours, would be much different. It’s an entirely different platform with different goals from what you and I and most people coming through here strive for.

      Thanks for lending some thoughts – especially as someone who writes for the big M.

        • Lol on the writing disclosure. I guess I should have put a disclosure in my comment: I’ve written for Mashable before and I’m planning to write for them again to promote my book about social media. Can’t knock the ability to reach the masses when you’re business-minded.

          To Tim’s point – I don’t think average is the right word, I think different is. We can agree to disagree on this one.

  16. Disclosure: I write for Mashable.

    I shared all my thoughts on twitter but I can share more here. Mashable serves a different purpose from that of my blog or Matt’s blog. If you hold them up to the standard that you would hold one of our blogs, you’ll be disappointed every time because they don’t want to dig deep. They’re not looking to stir up debates and provide very niche content.

    When I write for Mashable, I approach topics very differently from how I approach topics on my own blog. It’s very different because the purpose of Mashable is to bring the news and information from the social media space out to the general public in a way that they can understand.

    They serve their purpose and they serve it well. Their purpose may not be something that you find value in, and that’s fine. Don’t think, though, that just because you don’t find value in something, that others can’t either.

    David
    Community Manager, Scribnia.com
    @Scribnia @DavidSpinks

    • Exactly David – different strokes for different folks. I don’t question for a minute that there is a huge audience who finds a ton of value in what Mashable does – and there is still some quality content there (from my perspective) – what you’ve written from them has been very well done, and it caters to that audience. If I wrote for them – my approach, as you stated with yours, would be much different. It’s an entirely different platform with different goals from what you and I and most people coming through here strive for.

      Thanks for lending some thoughts – especially as someone who writes for the big M.

        • Lol on the writing disclosure. I guess I should have put a disclosure in my comment: I’ve written for Mashable before and I’m planning to write for them again to promote my book about social media. Can’t knock the ability to reach the masses when you’re business-minded.

          To Tim’s point – I don’t think average is the right word, I think different is. We can agree to disagree on this one.

  17. Personally, I’m kinda over people trying to judge between “good” and “great” or “authentic” and “inauthentic,” etc. Realize that you are allowed to have an opinion on what’s “good,” but you are just one person at the end of the day. If you think something sucks and a million other people are down with it, you are probably just not in the target audience. Get over it. No one can appeal to everyone, so find something that appeals to you.

    Mashable is doing fine. Over time, the site has provided less value to me – but when I first started reading, it was awesome. You can only get so much value out of one source before you need to explore other ideas, other perspectives, to continue growing.

    I will probably still subscribe to Mashable – yeah, they get on my nerves sometimes – but at the end of the day, they are a business. So I’m just going to accept that Mashable isn’t there to just please me, that they will sometimes provide me value and sometimes tell me stuff I already know, and that they will do their sponsored posts and advertising and Twitter updates and celebrity news and other sell-outs for pageviews and RT’s, and maybe I’ll just skip those posts.

    • Good points Monica. I think a lot of Mashable having less “value” for us now has a lot to do with you and me (and all of us) and how we personally have evolved. “Back in the day” when we first jumped on board with Social Media and blogging – Mashable might have been more valuable because it targeted that demographic – now that we have evolved and developed our own knowledge and communities – we’re not as interested in some of the topics presented there. Just as Mashable evolves, so do we – and you’re never going to please everyone – it’s pointless to even try.

  18. Personally, I’m kinda over people trying to judge between “good” and “great” or “authentic” and “inauthentic,” etc. Realize that you are allowed to have an opinion on what’s “good,” but you are just one person at the end of the day. If you think something sucks and a million other people are down with it, you are probably just not in the target audience. Get over it. No one can appeal to everyone, so find something that appeals to you.

    Mashable is doing fine. Over time, the site has provided less value to me – but when I first started reading, it was awesome. You can only get so much value out of one source before you need to explore other ideas, other perspectives, to continue growing.

    I will probably still subscribe to Mashable – yeah, they get on my nerves sometimes – but at the end of the day, they are a business. So I’m just going to accept that Mashable isn’t there to just please me, that they will sometimes provide me value and sometimes tell me stuff I already know, and that they will do their sponsored posts and advertising and Twitter updates and celebrity news and other sell-outs for pageviews and RT’s, and maybe I’ll just skip those posts.

    • Good points Monica. I think a lot of Mashable having less “value” for us now has a lot to do with you and me (and all of us) and how we personally have evolved. “Back in the day” when we first jumped on board with Social Media and blogging – Mashable might have been more valuable because it targeted that demographic – now that we have evolved and developed our own knowledge and communities – we’re not as interested in some of the topics presented there. Just as Mashable evolves, so do we – and you’re never going to please everyone – it’s pointless to even try.

  19. Yeah, I think the discussion of Mashable is very different than a discussion about providing value as a member of a community. Mashable’s a publication and they actually do very little in the way of trying to rope in a real community. They have an audience, and they’ve targeted an audience that’s interested in what’s going on in Social Media. That audience is largely hoping to find the basics out without having to ‘get into that twitter thing’.

    I don’t mean to undermine it, but you make a great point, Matt. They’re talking to the people who aren’t us. They are not trying to be thought leaders. They are trying to capture what I think is a huge market, they want to get there first, and they are doing a damn good job at it.

    Anyone who watched Techcrunch and Mashable shoot canons across one another’s brows, and then watched them head off in different directions, can now see why. Mashable is exactly what they want it to be, and I do think (to Tim’s point) that in terms of content publishing and digital ‘news’ reporting, they continue to push the envelope. I consider them in competition with the NYT Tech Section, or other online newspapers. They’re the Financial Times of the social media scene. Not only do I think they are nimble, first to the story, and pretty good at bringing news their audience is interested in…I think their site is leaps and bounds beyond most online publications when you consider the functionality, layout, sharing capabilities, and other ‘add ons’.

    • Well put DShan. In short, they are good at what they do – we wouldn’t be talking about them if they weren’t. They’ve established a HUGE community – and when you get as big as they have and have the priorities they do, there is going to be some “collateral damage” of losing some people like you and I.

  20. Yeah, I think the discussion of Mashable is very different than a discussion about providing value as a member of a community. Mashable’s a publication and they actually do very little in the way of trying to rope in a real community. They have an audience, and they’ve targeted an audience that’s interested in what’s going on in Social Media. That audience is largely hoping to find the basics out without having to ‘get into that twitter thing’.

    I don’t mean to undermine it, but you make a great point, Matt. They’re talking to the people who aren’t us. They are not trying to be thought leaders. They are trying to capture what I think is a huge market, they want to get there first, and they are doing a damn good job at it.

    Anyone who watched Techcrunch and Mashable shoot canons across one another’s brows, and then watched them head off in different directions, can now see why. Mashable is exactly what they want it to be, and I do think (to Tim’s point) that in terms of content publishing and digital ‘news’ reporting, they continue to push the envelope. I consider them in competition with the NYT Tech Section, or other online newspapers. They’re the Financial Times of the social media scene. Not only do I think they are nimble, first to the story, and pretty good at bringing news their audience is interested in…I think their site is leaps and bounds beyond most online publications when you consider the functionality, layout, sharing capabilities, and other ‘add ons’.

    • Well put DShan. In short, they are good at what they do – we wouldn’t be talking about them if they weren’t. They’ve established a HUGE community – and when you get as big as they have and have the priorities they do, there is going to be some “collateral damage” of losing some people like you and I.

  21. Matt this is the first time I have come across your blog by way of stumbleupon…(one of my favorite ways to find the best content)…only in my opinion of course.

    Anyway I wanted to share that I think mashable is getting distant from its initial vision of serving the social media niche….it is becoming too “newsy” for me to keep me engaged. More than half of the posts they write I am ignoring on purpose…because they are lacking relevancy to the topic of social media.

    My inner thought is that they are trying to become a tech crunch…instead of staying true to what got them to where they are in the first place.

      • I hear you loud and clear Scott – I just think that, in this case and in most cases there is no right or wrong. I’m like you – I ignore most of what they post nowadays and only check in from time to time – and they have clearly “changed” their focus, but in doing so , while they may be losing you and me, they are picking up on an entirely new and engaged audience. It’s all evolutionary. Thanks for the comment!

        • Matt,

          You are right…there isn’t a right or wrong way to what they are doing…but I am sure we both can agree that they are alienating their audience that made them what they are…

          I loved the long list posts they used to do where they would post lists of 50-100 resources and apps to leverage using social media.

          What is so interesting to see with mashable is how many times their posts are RT’d….Most people come to the blog and think…OMG that is a lot of RT’s….BUT what makes mashable mashable…is that all of their readers have every one of the tools to push out their content for free.

          Their readers are just as important to their business model as the content they are creating for the market…

          It will definitely be interesting to see what happens in 4-5 months from now…especially with their new shifting focus.

  22. Matt this is the first time I have come across your blog by way of stumbleupon…(one of my favorite ways to find the best content)…only in my opinion of course.

    Anyway I wanted to share that I think mashable is getting distant from its initial vision of serving the social media niche….it is becoming too “newsy” for me to keep me engaged. More than half of the posts they write I am ignoring on purpose…because they are lacking relevancy to the topic of social media.

    My inner thought is that they are trying to become a tech crunch…instead of staying true to what got them to where they are in the first place.

      • I hear you loud and clear Scott – I just think that, in this case and in most cases there is no right or wrong. I’m like you – I ignore most of what they post nowadays and only check in from time to time – and they have clearly “changed” their focus, but in doing so , while they may be losing you and me, they are picking up on an entirely new and engaged audience. It’s all evolutionary. Thanks for the comment!

        • Matt,

          You are right…there isn’t a right or wrong way to what they are doing…but I am sure we both can agree that they are alienating their audience that made them what they are…

          I loved the long list posts they used to do where they would post lists of 50-100 resources and apps to leverage using social media.

          What is so interesting to see with mashable is how many times their posts are RT’d….Most people come to the blog and think…OMG that is a lot of RT’s….BUT what makes mashable mashable…is that all of their readers have every one of the tools to push out their content for free.

          Their readers are just as important to their business model as the content they are creating for the market…

          It will definitely be interesting to see what happens in 4-5 months from now…especially with their new shifting focus.

  23. Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

    Can we hold Mashable at fault for putting out TMZ/celebrity type junk or do we need to perhaps turn the mirror back on ourselves and wonder if they are only catering to the requests of their readers.

    Sometimes you have to remove the log from your own eye to see the speck in someone else’s.

    • Good point Elisa – their focus is without a doubt based on what their analytics are telling them. I think what many people here and overall are disappointed with is that they’ve chosen to write “buzzworthy” topics instead of articles with more substance. At the end of the day, they are a business, trying to sell ad space and sponsorship based on their traffic numbers. More eyes on = more money – that’s clearly the route they’ve chosen and from a BUSINESS perspective, I can’t fault them for that.

      • Isn’t that what Mashable is though? A business? Sure they may be in blog format but I’ve never looked at Mashable like anything other than a guide and resource for social media innovations/ideas/lists/etc. Maybe that’s just me.

        I don’t know that they want interaction as much as they want to get content out. And currently, Tiger Woods and Lady Gaga and those various other pop culture sensations are the content that is selling.

        • Agreed – I’ve never seen Mashable as a source for substantial & compelling content – they are a news site – interested in generating the first buzz and getting the word out about the latest Social Media crazes, gadget news, and now, celebrity information (that still loosely connects to the online world). It is what it is – not for me, but that’s not to say there isn’t a HUGE audience who eats that stuff up. I say well done to them for defining their target audience, even if it’s not us.

  24. Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

    Can we hold Mashable at fault for putting out TMZ/celebrity type junk or do we need to perhaps turn the mirror back on ourselves and wonder if they are only catering to the requests of their readers.

    Sometimes you have to remove the log from your own eye to see the speck in someone else’s.

    • Good point Elisa – their focus is without a doubt based on what their analytics are telling them. I think what many people here and overall are disappointed with is that they’ve chosen to write “buzzworthy” topics instead of articles with more substance. At the end of the day, they are a business, trying to sell ad space and sponsorship based on their traffic numbers. More eyes on = more money – that’s clearly the route they’ve chosen and from a BUSINESS perspective, I can’t fault them for that.

      • Isn’t that what Mashable is though? A business? Sure they may be in blog format but I’ve never looked at Mashable like anything other than a guide and resource for social media innovations/ideas/lists/etc. Maybe that’s just me.

        I don’t know that they want interaction as much as they want to get content out. And currently, Tiger Woods and Lady Gaga and those various other pop culture sensations are the content that is selling.

        • Agreed – I’ve never seen Mashable as a source for substantial & compelling content – they are a news site – interested in generating the first buzz and getting the word out about the latest Social Media crazes, gadget news, and now, celebrity information (that still loosely connects to the online world). It is what it is – not for me, but that’s not to say there isn’t a HUGE audience who eats that stuff up. I say well done to them for defining their target audience, even if it’s not us.

    • I’m actually really surprised I didn’t see this one last week – I follow Mack’s blog pretty closely. I know this topic has been in and out of Twitter for the past couple weeks for a lot of folks since the Tiger Woods fiasco. I think we can agree that Mashable has shifted it’s focus, losing a lot of us in translation.

    • I’m actually really surprised I didn’t see this one last week – I follow Mack’s blog pretty closely. I know this topic has been in and out of Twitter for the past couple weeks for a lot of folks since the Tiger Woods fiasco. I think we can agree that Mashable has shifted it’s focus, losing a lot of us in translation.

  25. It’s interesting that you bring this up Matt. I actually read Mashable quite a bit, ironically much more before I started my own blog. But then as I got to find out about other blogs I started to feel like Mashable was alot of noise. Eventually when I was intrigued by a new service I would check it out, but pretty much stopped reading Mashable on a daily basis. I’ll even use it as a reference sometime but I think that’s really a new source. I was just thinking the other day that you could actually start an entire TV show about your thoughts on all the various popular blogs and even mention not so well known blogs. (possible future venture for me).

    -Srini

    • Love that idea Srinivas – you are already doing some cool stuff with interviewing up and coming bloggers (something I had contemplated doing myself a while back) – a “video” show would be interesting – as long as you aren’t attacking certain blogs and building up others. Constructive criticism and feedback is always good though – that’s something I try to do with my ‘5 Minute Blog Reviews’ – Looking forward to chatting soon S!

  26. It’s interesting that you bring this up Matt. I actually read Mashable quite a bit, ironically much more before I started my own blog. But then as I got to find out about other blogs I started to feel like Mashable was alot of noise. Eventually when I was intrigued by a new service I would check it out, but pretty much stopped reading Mashable on a daily basis. I’ll even use it as a reference sometime but I think that’s really a new source. I was just thinking the other day that you could actually start an entire TV show about your thoughts on all the various popular blogs and even mention not so well known blogs. (possible future venture for me).

    -Srini

    • Love that idea Srinivas – you are already doing some cool stuff with interviewing up and coming bloggers (something I had contemplated doing myself a while back) – a “video” show would be interesting – as long as you aren’t attacking certain blogs and building up others. Constructive criticism and feedback is always good though – that’s something I try to do with my ‘5 Minute Blog Reviews’ – Looking forward to chatting soon S!

  27. “At the heart of it all, you should be writing about what you love”

    AMEN. I love this, and this is always at the forefront of my mind. Great reminder, and I love the discussion here!

    • That’s what it’s all about, right? If you’re writing about what you love – does anything else really matter? Throw away all the comments, page views, tweets, & accolades – and what are you left with? Just you and some words. It has to be about writing for yourself first and foremost – never let your community dictate what you should be writing about. Thanks for the comment D!

  28. “At the heart of it all, you should be writing about what you love”

    AMEN. I love this, and this is always at the forefront of my mind. Great reminder, and I love the discussion here!

    • That’s what it’s all about, right? If you’re writing about what you love – does anything else really matter? Throw away all the comments, page views, tweets, & accolades – and what are you left with? Just you and some words. It has to be about writing for yourself first and foremost – never let your community dictate what you should be writing about. Thanks for the comment D!

  29. I read Mack Collier’s post about this last week. I don’t think the points you’re making are the relevant ones. As riveting as it is to hear that everyone has their own opinion, and to each his own, I’m pretty sure that’s just common sense. To those that are upset Mashable is changing focus – and that’s intentional, one of their main writers told me – as Mack points out, there is a huge opportunity there. There isn’t a quality blog that focuses on social media news. Mashable is changing directions. Wide open door.

    • Hi Rebecca. I feel like you didn’t really read through the post and might have skimmed, or didn’t understand. The “to each his own” attitude was a very small piece of this. I read Mack’s article (after publishing this) and he and I are very much on the same page.

      Above I say, “Somewhere along the way the Mashable crew saw an opportunity to reach new heights, and they have.” and “What else is Mashable doing? As David Spinks so aptly put during this conversation – Mashable is doing wonders at bridging the gap between our tight-knit community of bloggers and Social Media gurus and the rest of the general population.”

      Touching on two main points – one, that they saw an opportunity for a new target demographic, and seized the opportunity, and two, that they, directly or not, are bridging the gap between the “hardcore” social media users and “casual” internet browsers. I don’t fault them at all for either.

  30. I read Mack Collier’s post about this last week. I don’t think the points you’re making are the relevant ones. As riveting as it is to hear that everyone has their own opinion, and to each his own, I’m pretty sure that’s just common sense. To those that are upset Mashable is changing focus – and that’s intentional, one of their main writers told me – as Mack points out, there is a huge opportunity there. There isn’t a quality blog that focuses on social media news. Mashable is changing directions. Wide open door.

    • Hi Rebecca. I feel like you didn’t really read through the post and might have skimmed, or didn’t understand. The “to each his own” attitude was a very small piece of this. I read Mack’s article (after publishing this) and he and I are very much on the same page.

      Above I say, “Somewhere along the way the Mashable crew saw an opportunity to reach new heights, and they have.” and “What else is Mashable doing? As David Spinks so aptly put during this conversation – Mashable is doing wonders at bridging the gap between our tight-knit community of bloggers and Social Media gurus and the rest of the general population.”

      Touching on two main points – one, that they saw an opportunity for a new target demographic, and seized the opportunity, and two, that they, directly or not, are bridging the gap between the “hardcore” social media users and “casual” internet browsers. I don’t fault them at all for either.

  31. It has been on my mind what you have expressed here. Without passion for what we are doing, we cannot make it work. There are always a lot of people out there to appreciate our work. I share your wisdom. :-)

  32. It has been on my mind what you have expressed here. Without passion for what we are doing, we cannot make it work. There are always a lot of people out there to appreciate our work. I share your wisdom. :-)