The Lens Blog is one of the many fascinating ideas Simen from Daily Meh has written about. Ever since I read the post, the idea has been haunting me. It’s been haunting me because I want to apply it, but have no idea how to. Just check out how Simen starts the post:
Prediction: the niche blog is old. What I’ll call the lens blog is what’s hot in 2010.
I’ve always had a contempt for the idea of the niche blog. Not because I hate it exactly, but I’ve never liked the fact the most successful blogs are about a narrow topic. So I’ve always welcome any idea that tries to get around that. But the “Lens Blog” is much more than a reaction to the niche. It’s actually an expansion of it.
…Someone more influential than me has probably already coined a better name for this phenomenon, but here’s what I mean by a lens blog: we all know what a niche blog is. It’s one that is about a single subject. But consider BLDGBLOG. You might say it’s an architecture niche blog, but is it really? There are practically no limits on what kinds of subjects might appear on the blog. Everything is open to Geoff Manaugh’s investigation. What binds it all together is this: every subject is analyzed through the lens of architecture. Likewise, its sister site, Edible Geography, examines everything through the lens of food. For Strange Maps, the lens is cartography.
When I try to wrap my head around it and think on how I would apply it for this blog, I think about the topics I have covered. Take music. Some questions could be: What can music say about people? While that’s a good perspective, that’s something that has been covered many times. What can music say about food? Now that sounds more interesting, but it can go into gimmicky territory. Like “Songs featured in fast food commercials”.
It’s a simple idea, but it’s a big idea. Like Freakonomics or a This American Life episode; it can only work on certain subjects. And after re-reading the post many times, I realize that you have to be really, really knowledgeable about the subject in order to pull it off.
While I wont be reaching the level of “lens blog” anytime sooner, I’ll at least try to follow the model. I encourage you to do so also.