Anarchy via blog

Anarchy via blog
: Glenn Reynolds writes a TCS column that argues that a wise editor of the NY Times would monitor blogs to find out what they are saying about the paper and, when a correction is warranted, run it. He’s right, of course. But I’d broaden that: The wise editor and reporter and columnist and TV pundit should be reading weblogs and forums to find out what the audience is saying and thinking and to get great story ideas before the competition. It means that you need to be eager to listen to the audience rather than just talk to them — and many people in old media are bad at that.

: Glenn also answers Nick Denton’s provocative post about about weblogs and the Internet as tools of organizational revolt and anarchy, following the New York Times West Side Story rumble.

As a boss myself (OK, management running dog), I will confess that, of course, I fear this. I have visions of a Soviet workers’ council deciding how to build the widget no one will buy. At some point, management has to manage. In the end, the market must decide.

On the other hand, more communication inside will yield less communication outside. It’s a check.

And it’s hardly unprecedented. There are forums that allow students to critque professors.

Nick’s point is right in any case: There’s a trend to watch here. Not sure whether it’s good or bad yet, but it’s rolling.

  • Mike G

    If you’re a good boss you have nothing to fear. Why? Because your employees won’t talk to you through frickin’ BLOGS if they can just talk to you. I had one boss who made an offhand comment once about how much anonymous mail he got. It never occurred to him that the climate of fear he created and his own bullheadedness might be the reason.
    Likewise, when I was at a dot-com (March First) it generated an enormous amount of anonymous traffic on Motley Fool, Yahoo,, and other boards. Why? Because no one felt anything said to the still-may-be-indicted management would mean anything or be used in any constructive way, so the only way to let off steam and be useful to humanity was to warn your fellow employees (or potential employees) to stay away and dump your stock for the pittance you could still get for it. I suspect that story has more to do with the whole dot-com collapse than has yet been recognized.

  • 1. A bit self serving, since undoubtedly Glenn thinks is one of the blogs that should be monitored.
    2. This might be a good time to point out that TCS is a Carbon Club propoganda site platform for its paid shills. (Full disclosure: I’ve been banned from TCS 3 times for disagreeing with their columns).
    3. Since most bloggers (and Insty espcially) just cut and paste from real reporters who go out and find out information others want kept secret, it would be understandable for the NYT to have a less the respectful opinion of most bloggers; possibly like the opinion real cops have towards security guards.
    4. But I agree, the fact checking potential is very promissing. Tens of thousands of amateur investigative reporters, each an expert on our little corner of the world? That’s what I try to do.

  • Oh look, it’s the latest Hesiod-wannabe, Barney Gumble! So nice of you to play, Mr. Gumble. Mind the carpet.

  • The Dark Avenger

    Now, Andrea, you should play nice, like you want people to do on your blog. Golden Rule and all that.

  • Chris Allen

    Barney Gumble’s point #3 is the most important one he makes.
    So many bloggers get up in arms about the disrespect shown them by “Big Media.” Um… you’re amateurs. They’re not. You have other jobs and do this in your spare time. They do it 24 hours a day. But most key: You sit around commenting on work they actually do. The information they provide is the lifestuff of your blogs.
    Yes, you are also their customers. Your opinions are important in the same way that your opinions about frozen dinners are important to Stouffer’s. But the assumption that you are their professional equals, or should be, is laughable.

  • Andrea, so nice to talk to you. You’re the only one who ever beetle juiced me, so I’m honor bound not to bother you. (Male bloggers are too proud to say the words, so I’m free to post to the limits of my ability. Women are so much more practical that way.)
    Could I come back if I promised to be nice?
    Chris: Exactly. I think of the sum total of accurate knowledge as a wall some are trying to build and others are trying to tear down. Even if I add one tiny pebble once in a while, if it is accurate it builds the wall a little bit.
    Speaking of tearing down, Juanita Broderick in on Hanniy tomorrow.

  • The one time Barney bothered trying to argue facts with me, he lost.

  • McGehee, here is some software to help out with that problem you have staying organized.