It has come to this. Blogoviating has reached new pinnacles of excess that remind me of the good old days of tech trade publications, press release journalism, and what is generally considered fatuous reporting.
If you want to read a blog entry that demonstrates much of what is currently wrong with the blogosphere, The whole thing reeks, and yet, there is a glimmer of hope in all of this. read this one about TrustedID, a new credit protection service that has raised a bunch of Silicon Valley VC money from investors whose myopia has led them to reinvent the wheel. Obviously, everybody associated with this company has drunk from the Kool Aid pitcher…and that includes the guy who wrote the piece, Michael Arrington.
This is a troubling development that points out the dangers of this new free-for-all medium. A fellow becomes an important blogger through a fast word processor and a chance position as the chronicler of every two-bit company that emerges, and now he has clout enough to attract ads and lots of attention. Unfortunately, success (as measured by links and references) in the blogosphere doesn't mean that he has learned how to be a skeptical, or even particularly savvy commentator, and precious few commentators turn a spotlight on the content of what he is generating.
I'm talking about Michael Arrington whose TechCrunch has become one of the leading deal announcers, and buzzmakers of Web 2.0. The writer has parlayed his popularity hyping every company he is introduced to into gigs as an onstage interviewer and commentator on all things 'Net. But there's a big difference between regurgitating the company line from every company that feeds you their story--and recent stories about WalMart and BSkyB make it clear that sophisticated flacks are assaulting the bloggers with every trick in the PR arsenal--and at least applying some historical perspective (there are other firms in this space, trust me!), a touch of reportorial effort (at least hit the phones dude!), and a modicum of cynicism (maybe the company has just a bit of a reason to shade the truth, you think?) to a story. A fine turn of phrase is an extra that also separates the journalists from the hacks. None of this is present in Tech Crunch entries.
Instead this guy writes a piece on a company whose only claim to fame is that they are selling a service which appears to do nothing that isn't already available from one of dozens of other sites and services. There are no analyst comments, in fact, not even any comments from the company's own executives touting their superior technology or the reason they are exceptional. In fact, there is no reporting whatsoever. Just ill-informed opinion, led by the insulting headline that tells us in no uncertain terms that “This Is Important” so pay attention stupid reader.
The whole thing reeks, and yet, there is a glimmer of hope in all of this. If you read the comments attached to the post it is obvious that the readers—the great unwashed of the Internet community—instantly grasped the flaws in the posting. From the very start the comments nail all of problems with the entry, and take him to task for this inept effort.
The wisdom of the crowd is proved again. Ain't it great.