On the Limits of Meta and Overcoming Them

My regular readers know that I’m a big fan of Seth Godin.  Have a look at the amount of times I’ve mentioned him on this site – he’s a great source of inspiration for me, no denying it.

Seth’s post yestarday got me thinking.  It’s one of his classic, pithy posts that he has mastered the art of.  Here’s the whole thing, minus the last sentence which didn’t have to do with this discussion:

The limits of meta

Blogging about blogging, writing about writing, documentaries about documentaries, songs about songwriting…

It’s tempting to use a medium to write about the medium.

It works for a while, but there’s a limit. Pretty quickly, you hit a natural ceiling and you won’t be able to go any further.

I almost always agree with Seth, and I think he is correct here about hitting a natural ceiling in terms of purely creating meta content.

But, there will always be those who desire meta content and want fresh incantations of it.  In fact, there are people who are downright obsessed with it.

Side note:  I’m certainly not one of them – I couldn’t blog about blogging all day, I would eventually run out of things to say.  That’s why I write on a diverse array of topics here – blogging, marketing, social networks, web trends, public relations, internet memes, startup companies, etc. – so many different things interest me.

But, guys like Darren Rowse at ProBlogger and Daniel Scocco at Daily Blog Tips are two bloggers who (primarily) blog about blogging.  It’s just part of both of their brands.  Now they may be the exceptions, not the rule – but when I read Seth’s post, my first thought was: “Darren and Daniel prove this wrong.”  They both have 5 digit numbers of RSS readers, 6 digit traffic numbers monthly (perhaps Darren even gets 7 some months), and they mainly are meta bloggers.  They both have written so much content on blogging and have become 2 of the fonts of information on the subject.

With that said, both of them don’t only “blog about blogging”.

Daniel and Darren have branched out, and do things besides purely focused meta posts, like:

  • Run contests
  • Answer reader questions and foster community
  • Run other blog reviews and blog-related product reviews
  • Create posts that turn the comments into the main content
  • Film video post
  • Have message-boards, job boards and inspire their readers to connect with each other
  • Feature guests posts on complementary and supplementary subjects

Many of these are tactics that engage the community.  Perhaps that is the natural progression of the best meta-content creators – they have already given so much to the development of what their niche is, that they can turn their influence and followers into a flourishing community.  That would certainly remove the ceiling of having to personally create infinite meta content – a flow of new, passionate users contribute would keep things interesting.

Also, subscribers to DailyBlogTips and ProBlogger know that both Darren and Daniel don’t merely blog about blogging – they go off on tangents and blog about things that can help bloggers, that many times have nothing to do with blogging.

With that said – both their brands and their sites are meta blogs.  And, they both frequently write meta content, keeping it interesting and fresh each day – no simple task.  Seth unfortunately has comments turned off on his site but I’d like to hear your thoughts on the limits of meta.

I think meta content in any genre will flourish, regardless of ceilings, so long as:

  • The content creator is passionate about it and has infinite creativity and can provide a flow of new content
  • There is an audience thirsty for more meta content

Granted, there is probably a limit to the people who can do this successfully forever in any type of content.  Has the limit been reached for blogging is a big question – do we need yet another blog about blogging?  Is there even room for another?

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