July 21, 2007
We had a brief problem with Internet access, but now are back up online here at Wordcamp.
We are on to our second session: Om Malik and John Dvorak on Blogging vs. Journalism.
One of Om’s more interesting points is a comparison of what blogging is doing to mainstream journalism to what Moore’s law did to the mainframe. In mainstream journalism, “the man” owns the printing presses and the newsstands. As a result those who write the news are the bottom of the economic pyramid. With the web and blogs, on the other hand, it basically free to publish, and the web gives you instant and free distribution. And the same thing that happened to the mainframe is now happening to the media business. You are going to see some bloggers becoming better reporters than mainstream reporters can be. People radically dedicated to a particular narrow topic will be better than more generalist journalists.
Another interesting line of discussion is the special feature of comments. This is the single biggest difference between blogging and journalism, and is important. Om says comments can be good, bad and ugly. But you need to take respect the perspective from which they come. Audience engagement is much more important. Of course you get some morons commenting, but to be a good blogger you really need to engage with commenters and learn from them. Active commenters create a sub-blog within the blog.
A guy from The New York Times is complaining that moderating comments is too much work, too much of a chore for their writers. Om and Dvorak respond that this is just part of the job of being a blogger. Om adds that he has even hired some of his more prolific commenters to write posts.