Blogspace reality check…

***/me puts on the ol’ MadVoiper hat…****

Ahhh sometimes it’s sweet to live in a bubble of self generated pseudo reality. When we spend alot of time inside a particular industry or media we tend to lose perspective on things outside that, and we start to generate our own reality.

Andy Abramson wrote a post on the weekend about blogging and video blogging being the new journalism and generated all kinds of accolades and pumps… from other bloggers. I find it interesting that he has a bunch of comments to his blog, and every single one of them is from another blogger. It’s an interesting bubble, the blog-0-sphere is; self serving and self aggrandizing and a fabulous forum for nerds of a feather to flock together. Don’t get defensive…i’m one of those nerds too it’s all good. I have a links folder of blogs I read daily for news and stuff…and it’s interesting how many times these 15 or 20 people reference each other. They do alot of back patting and rehashing of news items and occasionally some pontificating, but apart from the guys who already ARE mainstream media or the guys who actually run their companies, the citizen journalist guys don’t really offer me any value at all, other than the occassional secondary or tertiary opinion on something. And sometimes a good laugh.
See, I think you people might be guilty of fooling yourselves. Maybe not fooling yourselves so much as just…over estimating the value of your blogging. Yes, blogging does have some marketing value, and yes it is changing the way news is reported slightly, but don’t pedestalize yourselves…at the end of the day 30,000 blogs on a subject is going to cause more confusion and generate less trust than one newspaper report. I will read company ‘X’s official blog, I will read blogs by the press, and beyond that I’m not liable to trust a word I read from anyone (heck even the first two are not always trustworthy, but at least they have some stipulations and controls on what they can or cannot write). And there are literally thousands of blogs out there on any given subject.

So how does that become the new journalism?? Well, it doesn’t. What it becomes is a clique-y group of walled gardens of discussion on a particular subject. The blog itself may be a new tool of journalism, I don’t doubt that. The only real successful (non stakeholder) bloggers are…journalists. Om Malik…journalist. TMC…journalists. Heck even our buddy Andy himself was a journalist first. The next group are the stakeholders…jeff pulver, alec saunders etc…business guys with a real finger on the pulse, who don’t so much spew out regurgitated news stories as make analytical and occasionally visionary statements about the future or policy. But it’s important to note…the genpop doesn’t read those blogs! They might stumble across one, but unless you have an interest in VoIP or Video over IP, you don’t have an RSS feed from Jeff Pulver. Likewise the analysts.

Sorry boys and girls….even tho the web may be the vehicle and the blog may be the forum, it’s still the mainstream media who will break the stories at CES. All that blog space will do is rehash, regurgitate and reiterate what’s already said. In any given industry or sector a press release will come out and the bloggers will chew the shit out of it and the only people that really see that mastication are other bloggers. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a bad thing. But come on…let’s stop fooling ourselves…at the end of the day, the non-personal non-official weblog’s main purpose is one of ego satisfaction.

Before all the comment abuse begins, let me close by saying that it’s not so much that I don’t believe in the power of the blog, it’s just that I don’t think it is or ever will be quite as big as some would like to think. The value of the blog is only the blogger if the blogger has the abilities to create compelling value, and the VAST majority don’t. The only ones who generally do are already journalists; they’re just using a different media.

OK let the stoning and defensive comments begin… 🙂

EDIT:

After a moment of reflection and a small infusion of nicotine, it occurred to me that what I’m trying to say here is that let’s not get caught up in the theory that the blogger is the 6th estate, rather let’s think of the blog as a new tool for the fourth estate. Blogspace is truly a vast morass of crap (very) sparsely interspersed by small bits of coherence and insight, and I include myself in that morass.

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3 comments so far

  1. Andy Abramson on

    I’m not deluding myself, nor are others you referenced. I know that Jeff, Alec and I know how to use the blogosphere to tell stories and disintermediate the traditional press, or in actuality tell the story that they don’t feel is ready for their audience.

    One of my point in the original post was that how the public finds, consumes and digests it’s content these days is changing and the people charged with making sure the story gets told cannot be dismissive of the lowly blogger. It is the blogger’s content that remains free for the reading long after the news outlet has made the content a pay for play archive.

  2. twitchy67 on

    But that’s kind of my point. We all know that how the public finds and consumes content is changing; this is news to no one. The thing is, blogging is just another media device, and the ones that get read are the same people that get read in print. Yes, as an interested consumer I can dig deeper on the web and find things that the print media does not feel will sell papers…but that’s not a blogger thing, that’s an internet thing. If I were to research a particular subject via just blogs I would see as much misinformation as information, so the argument theoretically could be made that blogs actually clog the dissemination process rather than help it. We both know how many hundreds of VoIP blogs there are, and that’s just one somewhat below the radar industry. We have both read VoIP blogs that are ridiculously poorly written and researched, and read some that aren’t. You and I and the other people mentioned in the post happen to have an advantage that we have some knowlege of the industry…but the typical consumer doesn’t. So now, not only are their huge piles of information, the casual user is required to determine the validity of any given piece of info. To do that, in the end, they will go to that same small group of bloggers, the walled garden. The rest of it is just time wasteage for the researching user.

  3. Duane on

    Well, if I dissect my own habits. I usually read digg.com for the important nerdy news. Then follow it up with all the big news networks. Then I check the blogs I frequent.

    I don’t like how most bloggers simply just rehash other posts on the internet either (I’m guilty of this myself). Ultimately there will be little unique content on the internet, just a web of people linking back to the original content, and say “yeah”.

    However, I think we’re on the threshold of new types of journalism. It doesn’t take much to make the blog be the new type of news that we want it to be. Cell phones are getting better every day, and there probably already are ones that can do videos and then upload them via EVDO or whatever to youtube. It automatically goes to your blog with the proper tag, and before you know it CitizenNews.com or whatever grabs your RSS and realizes you have a cool story. I think there’s lots of places this can go.

    As evidenced my Saddam’s execution, the UCLA tazer incident, Rodney King etc — the average guy now has a lot of power with cell phones, camcorders etc. I really think the days where a guy flies to Iraq with a film crew to monitor what’s happening are limited — you’re gonna see it on youtube or whatever thanks for the local people doing it for them.


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