Forbes Stirs Blogosphere into Frenzy to Increase Relevance

You can’t miss the headline walking through the airport – “Attack of the Bloggers” – having read Eran’s notes on the matter from, I had to buy it. I had started reading it online thanks to the account sharing site BugMeNot which Steve Wrubel shared. But actually feeling it in my hands was quite a different experience. It was much worse than I had thought it could be.

So much so, that when I started reading it, I could not help but thinking – they did this piece, with this tone, with the intention of stirring the hoornet’s nest of hard core bloggers and increasing their reputation before blogging crosses the chasm. So far, it seems to have worked. I hate linking to it here, but you need to read the story yourself for context (go to BugMeNot for a password). I feel even more terrible about playing into their hands by buying the issue, but when you plan on doing a ceremonial burning, you need to have something to burn. just kidding – but that is the sort of vitriol that increases readership, profits and relevance – despite being mostly irrelevant.

Another thought on the matter is that this could be considered a defense of the traditional publishing model – a way to taint the idea of blogging, and the identity one may associate with being cool by blogging, so that more of our fellow citizens don’t become bloggers and compete for the attention that traditional publishing is now losing so rapidly. Whether or not that is the intention, that is the affect – and it is irresponsible of them. I expected better from such a well-regarded source.

I have met some great smart people who work there over the years, and my opinion of them as a decent business magazine does not change, though I have never read them regularly. One bad piece of journalism after this many years does not a downfall make – though perhaps there are other similar stories of which I am unaware where they were equally unbalanced and unfair. I will be more skeptical of their reporting now and don’t plan on picking up a subscription anytime soon. I don’t want to protest it either, as that will just have the opposite effect – playing into the ‘any press is good press’ model, but will probably need to at least address it as we move forward with plans our BrainJams national tour. (More information on that will be forthcoming after this weekends SuperHappyDevHouse when I meet with some other key supporters)

A word of caution for anyone upset by this terrible piece of journalism – however you feel about it, don’t call them names, (especially the author, editor and Forbes himself). Don’t use silly arguments to demean them personally, or go on the attack or anything else like that other than talking about the positives. If you attack, you would just be proving their point, which is perhaps another piece of their strategy – to show they are speaking the truth to the rest of the world that does not yet understand the potential for great advancement that can come from more truthtellers joining the conversation.

We need to lead by example – please remember that.

While their reporting completely missed the mark, they do bring up an issue I have been thinking about a lot lately – how does a person’s bad reputation spread in an appropriate manner? LinkedIn only allows ‘endorsements’ and everyone is afraid of being sued for libel etc… It would have been interesting if they took the perspective of how the people attacking unfairly might have a bad reputation established and be proven wrong. I would really like to hear more discussion on this matter. David Brin has some interesting thoughts on dispute resolution that may be of note here, especially when thinking of how it might be applied in the commons to deal with the sort of matters they discussed in the article – to really get at the truth, which is what most people I know really care about.

Stereotyping people because of a few assholes who share some common interests/characteristics is just plain wrong, no matter who does it.

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