Wednesday, April 30, 2008

it is well that blogging is so terrible, lest we grow too fond of it

The blog world is in a tizzy today, and with good reason: apparently last night, Bob Costas hosted a "town hall meeting" about the rise of the new media that is the blogosphere, which, it seems, turned into a hit parade by Buzz Bissinger (author of "Friday Night Lights") against Will Leitch of Deadspin.
The future in the hands of guys like you (Leitch) is really going to dumb us down to a degree that I don't think we can recover from.
Needless to say, everyone's got a take on this, including Will himself. Arguably, the most concise and best summary of this comes from Ken Tremendous at FJM.

What Bissinger did that was so annoying to me was: he lumped all of these into one thing ("Deadspin," essentially), and furthermore, conflated the actual blog and the people who write for it with the silly comments people make at the bottom of every article.
It's a big dumb ignorant mistake to do this. It's a big hot wet mushy smelly bonebrained mistake to mix blog comments and blog articles. It's an even bigger mistake, in my opinion, to disparage the level of discourse on the Internet and use blog comments as an example. (And swear a ton while doing it, while saying that the Internet is "profane.") Picking a random blog comment and wielding it as a club to bash "blogs" is like picking a random romance novel off an airport bookstore shelf and saying, "This book sucks. ... Tolstoy -- your medium is worthless!"

We've covered this before in previous entries, obviously. I have a perspective that's unique among most of the blogs I read, since I'm a writer for an "MSM" establishment who also maintains a blog on the side (I blog now as part of work, also, but that's a different thing). No two blogs are created equal, obviously, and the outcry from the old, stodgy guys in the establishment is an indication of their fear -- it's similar to reading about parents violently protesting against school integration ... you know, because it's something different and we don't like change.
The main problem with the blogs, as I said before, is accountability. At work, when I publish the sports section for The Daily Home, my name is all over it. You can call me, email me, find me at my desk. You know who pays my salary, and how to get in touch with them. Basically, everything -- everything -- I do is under a microscope.
To be fair, the most reputable sports blogs -- like Deadspin or EDSBS -- are very transparent, as evidenced by their willingness to appear in other media outside of their own "mother's basement," if you will. But the Internet is an ever-evolving place, and unfortunately, there are too many of us out there who aren't savvy enough to differentiate between the good blogs, and the ones that are just one dude making up stuff off the top of his head.
Regardless, it's here to stay. And, as a media group, we've got to figure out how to integrate with what we do ... or be destroyed by a group of guys in their underwear blogging from their mothers' basements.
(Sorry, that imagery's just too fun not to use.)


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