There's a lot to be said about herd mentality. In the Blogosphere, the bane of herd mentality will never go away so long as there's a continuous flow of newbies coming into blogging. If they have no one to guide them such as a mentor, then they will fall in with the crowd and move along with it. That's a general view of what's going on in the Blogosphere.
I guess we have to live with this kind of mindset for as long as we are blogging. There's no running away from it.
An old adage that comes to mind is "if you can't beat them, join them". But would you join the crowd if it's something that goes against the grain? This is when you have to make your own judgmental decision on whether to jump on the bandwagon or go your separate way.
Being able to think through a situation is not as easy as it seems. We are all human beings and we have tendency to be idiosyncratic or indecisive at times. Some of us undergo vacillation until the cows come home. Others simply take the plunge without giving it much thought and live to regret it later.
However, as pointed out by one seasoned blogger, sometimes you have to take risk because it's better than sitting on the fence and missing the boat. After all, you can always pull back if you sense something is not right. In this case, you can say you're just making a judgmental decision and NOT getting caught in the herd mentality mindset.
The Rush That's Just A Trickle
An example in this case would be BlogRush. This widget received one of the most talked about hypes when it was first launched and many bloggers signed up. After the initial euphoria, reality set in and many users started to drop it when they saw there wasn't much traffic to speak of using the widget although others reported an increase in traffic.
I had the widget on my sidebar earlier on but it's now cast aside. Sure, I was beginning to have doubts about the usefulness of BlogRush.
The Bucks Stop Here!
WidgetBucks is another case where it seemed to be the "next Adsense" with many users taking the plunge to sign up. Users were reporting positive results as they saw the dollar signs adding up in their accounts. Then one fine day, the cunning folks at WidgetBucks dropped a bombshell, stating that they were cutting off bloggers from outside the U. S. of A and Canada.
Many accounts were unceremoniously suspended. There were reports of the amount in the account being reduced mysteriously or simply disappeared. Whether those actions were taken because of invalid clicks or not remain as mere conjecture. But the public relation image of WidgetBucks can be said to be severely damaged. Later, they started to do some damage control to get back on the international scene.
Getting Hip With 125x125 Ads
For now the 125x125 banner ad seem to be the trend. Once started by some well-known bloggers almost every other blog started to follow suit. Mostly, they have them plastered on the top right corner of their pages. Wonder when people will get tired of looking at them and start to think of something different to be unique?
Some blogs are so plastered with favicons and 125s at the top right corner it's starting to look like your favourite dumping ground for ads that are "sold" or "unsold". When people first saw these "new looks", they all went "oohs" and "aahs" about the whole affair.
If you look carefully at most blogs going in this direction, would it be right to speculate that blogs no longer look like blogs - more like the traditional websites filled with banner ads? Remember you used to be told by some gurus to be mindful of banner blindness? But who cares, put the banners on and let the advertising dollar roll in! Leading bloggers have made this move as "politically correct" and the floodgate is now open. Herd mentality!
To Subscribe Or Not To Subscribe?
Subscription to an RSS feed or an email is another area where much discussions have been bandied around. It has a lot to do with herd mentality, too. You might be wondering how some blogs have got RSS subscibers in the hundreds while others are just struggling below the 100 mark. Of course, the usual A-list suspects can boast of subscribers in their thousands.
It seems the herd mentality can play a big role here in influencing the number of subscribers to your blog. It has been said that once you have a huge subscription base, it will become much easier with more and more people wanting to subscribe to your site.
But if you have a pathetic subscription figure, then it's gonna be a forlorn wait to see more being added to your RSS feed. The same can be said about comments on blogs. It's all a case of herd mentality with a great dose of popularity bias thrown into the mindset.
You may have good, readable content on your blog but that does not equate with a ton of subscribers. It all boils down to numbers. The bigger the number, the greater the attraction. Is that the law of attraction?
Like it or not, that's the make-up of the Blogosphere. Go with the flow if you can't make judgmental decisions of your own.