Wednesday, June 25, 2008

This Just In: Blogging Going Away

I just (finally!) got time to watch the latest episode of John Dvorak's truly excellent Cranky Geeks (episode #121). Now, I love John's wit, cynicism, and loathing of all things... well all things literally... but he surrounds himself with 20-something folks who have a rather... let's just say... "interesting" point of view on a lot of topics.

Maybe I'm a Cranky Geek® (property of Ziff Davis, John Dvorak, et al) at heart. On one of the snippets of the show (really, see this stuff, you'll love it!) about bloggers. The very attractive and only (!) woman on the panel Natali Del Conte (Senior Editor of CNET TV's "Loaded") predicted that the term "blog" will go away in the near future.

This was met by enthusiastic and hearty "hear hears" by co-crank Sebastian Rupley (Editorial Director of and Bryan Gardiner a tech journalist from They all agreed that the term "blogger" will be replaced with "communicator."

It was Ms. Del Conte's contention that some of these so-called "bloggers" are really reporting news - and as such - should be held to the same journalistic "ethics" as "regular" news outfits. This includes journalistic training, subscription to AP new feeds and the like.

I agree with the fact that people that just copy/paste stuff from the AP are stealing content. Just like if you copy/paste something from anyone else's paper/blog/website/podcast/video and claim it's your own IS stealing content (without a proper link and credit [excerpted Ziff Davis' Cranky Geeks episode #121]). I also agree with John Dvorak who said that "90-99% of the time people are not passing stuff off as their own" (taken from an excerpt by John Dvorak on Ziff Davis' Cranky Geeks episode #121 - it's not my own quote that I've copied from a new feed - I SWEAR!)

The thing I really like about John Dvorak - is that his opinion is the same as mine - "....there should be no standards. Your right to be a journalist is part of the Bill of Rights..." (taken from an excerpt by John Dvorak on Ziff Davis' Cranky Geeks episode #121)

Well, damn it - it's true. Bloggers (and, by the way, the term is NOT going away) - are just that bloggers. They are putting up their personal opinions about things that they give a crap about. Some of it may be "news" in the sense that they have a social life and know people (other than their mother) that might have something interesting to say that that AP or Reuters or WSJ actually didn't happen to find out on their own.

Big whoop.

They go on to talk about all the ethics and disclosures that "real news organizations" have. If you write about Microsoft, you can't own Microsoft stock, etc.

In general, good rules. In practice - it's BS. Disclosure: I don't own Microsoft, Ziff Davis or Apple stock. Even if I did - I'd still write about it. Why? Because I would be passionate about it.

I would actually put my money where my mouth was - and buy something and take a position (either pro or con) and express what it is and why it was that I bought something.

It's not taboo. It's not like some-random-guy writing about why you should buy Apple stock now (or not) is going to make people do it. Correction - most sane people who have a life and an Internet connection.

There is nothing wrong with passionate people writing passionately about subjects they care about. If you get your only news from them (e.g. you get your news from the Daily Show with John Stewart [Copyright © 1995-2008 Comedy Partners. All rights Reserved]) - then you deserve what you get.

There are lots of people who are ethical, "proper" journalists (including John Dvorak, Sebastian Rupley, Natali Del Conte and Bryan Gardiner) - and that's THEIR DAMN JOB. That's what they get paid to do. That is their chosen profession and their bread and butter.

The other blogs that they cited (the so-called "Web 2.0" bloggers) have day jobs. They do something else and passionately write a public blog on what they care about - or what interests them.

Don't worry Ms. Del Conte - they are not after your job. They don't have one iota of the training or professionalism that you do. They are not professionals. Most of them are just... well... Cranky Geeks® (property of Ziff Davis, John Dvorak, et al) at heart.

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