New wine, old skins

New wine, old skins

: I get amused when old media folks try to view citizens media under their old-media rules — as when they try to analyze traffic based on the old rules that only the big survive. Frank Barnako at Marketwatch did that last week.

And today, he makes fun of PR blogger Steve Rubel and VC blogger Fred Wilson for endorsing presidential candidates. Says Frank: “The idea of a blogger making an endorsement, as if he carried any weight, was presumptuous.”

Wrong analysis, Frank. Bloggers aren’t trying to act like big media (and, by the way, the idea of a newspaper editorial writer carrying weight is also presumptuous, don’t you think?). This is instead about transparency so your readers can judge what you say in context. Here, I called on bloggers to say where their votes are going just for that reason. In fact, it would be helpful if some reporters would do likewise. Frank: You made fun of two bloggers who are endorsing Kerry but you didn’t make fun of anybody endorsing Bush. Until we know where you stand, then we are put in a position of reading into what you say and some will think that you’re a Bush man. See what I mean? It’s about transparency.

Also don’t forget that blogging is a personal medium. It’s not just about publishing content, the old-media way. It’s about conversation. Steve and Fred are telling their friends what they think, the way you might over beers in the bar. This is not about trying to imitate the institution of journalism; this is about being human. And the institution of journalism would do well to imitate this.

: Steve Outing also posts on Rubel’s endorsement and wonders whether making a political endorsement (or statement) on a business blog could affect the blogger’s business.

: And while I’m chiding Frank, here’s one more. In the same column, he pooh-poohs iPodder for being difficult to use and not having shrink-wrapped documentation. It’s too new. It’s an experiment with a new platform; it’s not done yet; of course, it’s not ready for prime time. That’s like seeing the first browser and complaining, “Ew, what an ugly gray; I’m never coming back here again.”