Oh, the arrogance of the ignorant hack! In a recent article, the Economist drops its usual high standards like a pair of dirty pants with the publication of a sloppy, poorly researched piece dedicated to blogging's commercial potential.
In pure flame-style, the anonymous writer starts by lashing-out like a drunken hooligan at the art and craft of blogging with the following description:
"Web logs, known to their users as blogs, are web pages for self-anointed pundits—personal online journals, often updated throughout the day, full of raw, unedited opinions and links to other sites. Most are what one would expect from a new internet medium: nerdy, inane and barely grammatical, and intelligible only to teenage subcultures. But others are erudite and thoughtful—such as andrewsullivan.com, a political commentary."
"Inane and barely grammatical, and intelligible only to teenage subcultures"? Talk about a raw, unedited, unchecked opinion.
"Andrew Sullivan"? isn't it time to drop the cut-n-paste and find a different poster boy for the blogging generation?
And what about the inaccuracies? "Blogger was totally free until Google took it over, and now it charges only for souped-up versions of its programmes—those that offer spell-checking and greater upload power".
Maybe I'm missing something, but wasn't Blogger Pro around before the Google take-over? I thought "professional" reporters double-checked their facts, unlike "amateur" bloggers.
And this statement: "But the trend is toward free software". What about the recent launch of TypePad and its different pricing levels. Why isn't it mentioned anywhere in this article?
The piece then goes on to discuss ways of commercialising blogging, from targeted banners to corporate-sponsored "blogs" such as AlwaysOn. Now, having always subscribed to Oscar Wilde's dictum that "to define is to limit", I do not want to get into an argument about what is and not is a blog. However, AlwaysOn does not exactly spring to mind when thinking of blogging. Maybe Nick Denton and his promotion of micro-publishing might have been more appropriate.
Lastly, I couldn't help but laugh out loud at the last part of the final paragraph, where recent history seems to have been erased from the author's mental hard drive:
"Mr Winer extrapolates that blogging has 'the potential for revolution,' democratising and liberating the world. Mr Perkins in turn feels, wearily, that he has heard such 'religiously libertarian anarchists with ponytails screaming and yelling' before, in the early days of the internet. Like many in Silicon Valley nowadays, he is more interested in profits than revolutions —though that change, in its own way, is revolutionary."
It is worth remembering here that the "utopian" predictions involving the internet in the mid-nineties, were not only linked to "democracy and freedom", but "markets and profits". The latter leading to the dot.com boom and bust. Something the writer seems to have totally forgotten when s/he says that silicon valley "nowadays" is more interested in profits. Nowadays? When was this written? in 1995? (in 1985, 1970, etc.)
August 19, 2003 | 05:33 PM | Permalink
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