I think it might be my growing appreciation for Live Writer that has resulted in an explosion of posts on this last night of my vacation.
Anyway, Doc Searls has a post that quotes Dr. Laura bashing blogs. I used to listen to Dr. Laura on the radio once in a while just to reassure myself that I wasn’t the craziest person on the planet. Sometimes I was between her caller and her, but I was never crazier than both. In an article behind the Santa Barbara News-Press‘s paywall, Dr. Laura proves that blogs are definitely among the many things she knows very little about.
First of all, her blog bashing seems to originate from some negative blog posts one of her flunkies must have shown her:
“Blog-happy? It has only been a couple of weeks that I’ve had this column and I’ve already been attacked by some blogosphere inhabitants of Santa Barbara. Bloggers are folks with their own personal Web sites, which they can use for whatever end they please with impunity. Some of these sites have had a big impact on politics, technology and journalism.”
Can we take from this that if she had been shown blogs praising her, blogs would be the inspired voice of the new media?
And then there’s this nugget, which I about half agree with and about half get irritated at:
“It used to be that folks wrote autobiographies to detail some significant journey or challenge survived, with the desire to share life lessons learned and wisdom gained. No more — now it is as though every errant thought should be embraced by the outside world as having greater significance than the burp it really is.”
Some of the blogs I enjoy the most are about every day events. Good writers can write about a trip to the market and make it compelling. Just like good storytellers can talk about anything and keep you highly entertained. But, if I’m going to be honest, I do come across the occasional exercises in anthropomorphism, generally involving small dogs with sweaters on or cats, naked or clothed, that annoy the dickens out of me. But the reality is that blogs are not, first and foremost, about the subject matter- they are about two things:
(a) the writing, be it great, average or bad; and
(b) a new, faster manner of information distribution and retrieval.
Note that I have recently added a blog search button beside the web search button on The Home Place, my internet portal. Blogs are becoming the medium for the creation of the real life Great Big Book of Everything.
Think about it this way: how much would you pay to be able to read blogs written by your parents, grandparents, etc. One of the benefits of blogs that no one ever talks about is that our kids and grandkids will know us much better thanks to these records we are creating.
It’s one thing for my real world friends to be confused about blogs (the fact that I made a lot of money developing web sites during Bubble 1.0 is about the only thing that keeps them from teasing me mercilessly about my little internet diary), but it’s another thing altogether for someone who has somehow become a part of old media to be so cavalier in her research about and understanding of new media.
Doc’s other point, which is a good one, is that the News-Press is getting left far behind thanks to its insistence on maintaining the paywall that many papers tried and most have abandoned. Google can’t index their stories so people can’t google, er search, for them. The cheese isn’t going to reappear, so it’s time to stop hoping it will and start looking for some new cheese.
Doc offers to meet with the powers that be and explain to them the way the distribution of media, both old and new, works in 2006. They should take him up on it, as he may be the only guy smart and likeable enough to save a paper that pays Dr. freaking Laura to write articles behind a paywall.
Thank goodness my hometown paper has embraced RSS and blogging.