I dont normally rise to the bait of the anti-blog crowd, but John C. Dvoraks latest work of art really got me going. On the surface, its the kind of thing the Wall Street Journals Lee Gomes does – pointing at the centerfield bleachers and calling the moment when a disruptive technologys bubble bursts.
Gomes most memorably did this with peer-to-peer, that demonized technology that has been driven so far underground by the RIAA that Microsoft has now embedded it deeply in Longhorn. So far no one has made the connection that RSS, the Real Simple Syndication or something like it, is threatening to become the first killer app of the post-Napster p-to-p space. Oops, I just did.
But RSS is all about transporting blogs (and soon everything else you can think of), not creating them. Heres where Dvorak runs off the rails. His latest manifesto on our sister site PCMag.com, Co-opting the Future, revolves around two factoids: a white paper study by Perseus Development Corp. that reveals an alarming attrition rate for abandoned blogs, and Dvoraks observation that Big Media is turning bloggers into, my favorite line: "a new breed of columnist with a gimmick and a stern corporate editor."
Last in, first out. My second favorite line: where he criticizes these faux blogs "spewing the same measured news and opinions weve always had." Im not sure who John is referring to when he bemoans "the emergence of the professional blogger working for large media conglomerates," but Ill list a few of the original blog voices who Ive grown addicted to over the last few years.
Doc Searls, Ray Ozzie, Dan Bricklin, Dave Winer, Dare Obasanjo, Jon Udell, Mitch Kapor, Adam Bosworth, Tim Bray—Ill stop before I forget too many superb minds whove created unique voices that add immeasurably to conversation of this emerging Net-based platform.
The dirty little secret Mr. Dvorak is ignoring is that blogs (and more profoundly, RSS) have changed the dynamics of professional journalism, not by replacing it, but informing it with the authentic voices of the creators of the technology while its being created. This can be uncomfortable for the embedded media -- witness John Markoffs reluctance to handicap bloggings survival long-term in a recent story for the New York Times.