Living in the past

Living in the past

: Marshall Loeb just wrote a blog-belittling column at Marketwatch. I have some personal history on this with Marshall, who’s a very nice guy, and so let me start there. We worked together years ago at Time Inc.

Didn’t hear from Marshall for years upon years. But a few weeks ago, he found himself on a panel about blogging at some press association or another and so he called me to find out what this blogging this is all about. He said he didn’t know a thing. I filled him in as best I could in 20 minutes as I dashed from meeting to meeting in New York. Apparently, I was bad salesman now Marsh delivers his blog broadside, a bit late to the party:

Blogging can be both a cost-effective and time-efficient way of connecting with people, providing many benefits that can enrich your life.

Some of the benefits are:

* Creating a family network of blogs to keep yourselves updated on the goings-on of your far-away relatives.

* Turning blogs into scrapbooks where you can upload and post digital photos. This saves you the cost of getting film processed, and sharing your blog with others is free.

* Encouraging your young children to create a blog that keeps track of their daily activities and chores. Also, your new college-bound kids can keep blogs so that you won’t feel like they’re so far away.

So those are the benefits of blogs: quaint personal, family gimmicks. But dangers lurk there.

But not everything is perfect, and here are some warnings about blogs:

* Don’t trust everything you read in blogs. While more and more news organizations and companies are creating blogs of their own, many blogs are filled with false information.

* Never keep a blog in which you trash the company you work for or your boss. Also, never put your company’s sensitive or inside information in your blog. There have already been cases in which people have been fired for blogging about their employers. It might be tempting to use a blog to vent your work-related frustrations, but it could come back to haunt you.

* Don’t give out too much personal information in your blog. Even using your real name, rather than a pseudonym, puts you at risk. We live in an age of identity theft and you don’t want to unwittingly give thieves a road map to your personal records or financial information.

Well, thanks. Next, can you tell us how to get rid of that dangnabbed flashing 12 on our VCRs?

Marshall was, by the way, the executive at Time Inc. who first rejected my proposal for Entertainment Weekly — six years before it ended up launching. As the head of magazine development, he parrotted the words of Henry Grunwald, then editor-in-chief of Time Inc., saying that such a magazine about the full range of entertainment could not possibly succeed because people who watch TV do not read. Ahem.