Just to prove that this blog is balanced, and in the interests of demonstrating that some journalists still manage to earn their keep by delivering solid, reasoned, investigative reporting, I encourage you to peruse “Why There’s No Escaping the Blog”, by David Kirkpatrick and Daniel Roth, published in Fortune magazine.
The first thing you’ll notice about this excellent piece is that is was published in January of this year, and for those of you with fewer than the normally allocated number of digits, that's a full 10 months prior to the rather stupid cover story by Lyons, published in Forbes magazine this month(see previous post). Apart from anything else, this tells us that
Using a very wide range of examples, Kirkpatrick & Roth illuminate the trials and tribulations and the, err, *cough*, just plain embarrassing forays by the corporate business world into the land of the blogosphere. The key premise of their article is that blogs are, essentially, a new medium (well, they say “media”, but I think blogs are more singular than plural, at this point), and business needs to harness and engage with the producers and consumers of blogs; a somewhat more challenging proposition than the ease with which they engage with the MSM. In contrast to the Forbes article, Kirkpatrick & Roth present something of a “how to” and “how not to” guide, with considerable depth to it, and they present both amusing and serious examples amidst their smorgasbord of material.
There are only a couple of twee moments, for example:
“Of course, it's difficult to take the phenomenon seriously when most blogs involve kids talking about their dates, people posting pictures of their cats, or lefties raging about the right (and vice versa).”
It’s an asinine statement, and an especially careless throw-away line, when their own commentary demonstrates the serious clout wielded by some political blogs, and just how swiftly blogs can inflict mortal injury, not with scurrilous opinion and lies, but by the use of facts that spread like ebola, at least in
Actually it’s quite a clunker of a line, when their entire article takes blogs very seriously indeed, and their material cites blog content relating to business and politics – not an ugly cat or pimply teenager blog in sight.
As for teenagers talking about their "dates"? I don’t know that I’ve even seen any such blogs, and while I don’t doubt for a nanosecond there are millions of them, I think you’d have to be looking for that particular segment to know it exists.
Most of the “dating” blogs are clearly published by 30-something-year-old women, who, for some reason, think that their blog is the next “Sex in the City”. Perhaps they’re right; perhaps their day will come, but from what I’ve seen, it won’t be in this millennium. One exception is a 30-something divorcee in New York, who writes tortuous prose about things like her "tangled hair, after sex" and insists on mulling over every vapid and juvinille emotion and the-minute-by-minute relationship worries that pass through her brain; and spills her inglorious guts about every teeny detail about every man she encounters. (And yes, she DOES regularly wonder if a new man will stay around for more than a shortish while. Gosh, now let me think about that….very, very, very, slooooowwwwly, and I’ll get back to you.) Her own excrementally gushing is greeted by equally vomitous and sentimental drivel from her legions of fans, most of whom seem to want to be able to “write like she can”, as this would clearly be the height of their life’s achievement. Well, this particular lady does have her book deal. Can’t take this “seriously” guys? Serious bucks in that nifty, if misguided, book deal.
People posting cat pictures? Oh, yes, oh yes!!! This should be a crime of some sort, and anyone doing such should be banished from the blogosphere for a period of time, depending on the extent and gravity of the crime. I hasten to add that I believe the same principle should be applied to anyone – but it’s always women – displaying photos of their damned cats on their desk, or pinned up on the partitions around their desk at work. At a minimum they, and their cat photographs, should be escorted from the building by security, and they should be required to take unpaid leave, until such time that they understand WHY there is something gravely wrong and hideously offensive about decorating one’s workspace with their “adorable” CATS. They’re CATS for gawd sake!!! I don't CARE if you don't have a boyfriend; haven't had sex in the last 12 years; don't have children or friends; and I don't CARE if even the guy at the petrol station with one glass eye wouldn't look at you once- you absolutely DO NOT have permission to EVER display CAT photographs in public places and try to pass this off as being your LIFE, your FAMILY, your JOY, the source of your FULFILLMENT, your REASON for existence. NO-ONE BELIEVES YOU.
The worst case of cat-blogging I have seen was a woman recording her dieting efforts. There was a lovely photo of her & her husband, from when she was slimmer, and a link to “more photos”, which I naturally clicked, in order to view the new larger version of her good-self, and the progressive shots as she made strides with her diet - at least that's what I was expecting. Hundreds of photographs, hundreds and hundreds of them; page after page after page of HER CAT, the tedium broken only by a rare photo of a person. Her cat on the couch; her cat on the floor; her cat in the sun; her cat in the shade; her cat sleeping (well, that was MOST of them); her cat in summer; her cat in winter; her cat curled up; her cat sprawled out. Her fucking cat was the most boring ordinary cat in the world and I only needed ONE photograph to work that out. And quite frankly, I don’t care if she remains a porker for the rest of her life; never returning to her lovely svelte self, it’s probably a punishment dished out by the goddesses for wasting her life taking photos of a cat, especially when she had a perfectly nice looking husband to play with.
As I said, it was a stupid throw-away line by the journalists, and entirely inaccurate. What about the religious blogs? They are proliferating rapidly, albeit, many combine their religious fervor with a political agenda. Religion is growing in the blogosphere with nearly the same speed as the sex blog. Hobby and recipe blogs are all over the place; as are blogs about niche enjoyments such as heavy metal music; lots of techo blogs; an increasing number of “consumer” blogs, with people trying to cash-in by doing nothing but product reviews; mental illness is huge; and, of course, there are an embarrassing smattering of bloggers who really, transparently, and desperately, want to be in the MSM, and who seem to genuinely believe that their entirely untrained writing talents, and their ignorant and distorted opinion will one day be picked-up and syndicated by newspapers across the land, inclusive of their indifferent wit, and as-enticing-as-a-limp-lettuce contrived persona. The latter, very small group, is more difficult to take seriously than all of the cat blogs combined.
The only other excruciatingly twee moment comes care of an ad agency – so none of us should be in the least surprised:
"If you fudge or lie on a blog, you are biting the karmic weenie," says Steve Hayden, vice chairman of advertising giant Ogilvy & Mather, which creates blogs for clients."
It’s safe for us to conclude, without any futher evidence being presented to the court, that the vice chairman of Ogilvy & Mather is a weenie. But, he’s right about one thing:
"The negative reaction will be so great that, whatever your intention was, it will be overwhelmed and crushed like a bug.”Sounds suspiciously like a man who knows exactly how it feels like to be crushed by the blogosphere. He goes on to say:
“You're fighting with very powerful forces because it's real people's opinions."Yes Steve, real people; real people who have real opinions. Not pretend people like in the make believe advertising world. Funny 'bout that. Welcome to the real world Steve.