And one more thing

Marianne Richmond at BlogHer adds an important observations I forgot to include in yesterday’s magnum opus on the dopey idea of a bloggers’ code of conduct: There is not one blogosphere. It is a mistake to allow blogs to be talked about as a monolith for then we allow ourselves to be judged by our worst. The New York Times is not judged in the same field with the National Enquirer. It is even more absurd to judge all 70 million blogs as if they were one. It only tries to turn us back into a mass when what blogs reallly do is let us speak finally as individuals.

  • Jeff, just a note to support your views on the blogoshere repeated in the BBC story I’m a bit bored with people telling me what I should write about and how I should think, they can shove their Blog code of conduct where the sun don’t shine.

    Keep up the good work fella.

  • Brad Inman

    By this comment, are you implying that there are elite bloggers, and that you are one of them? Isn’t this the same arrogance that troubles mainstream media?

  • Nick S

    Thanks for making this point, Jeff. In situations like this, I think it’s important to provide some gentle pushback at the instinct of MSM stories to wrap all forms of blogging in one big neat generalisation.

    Brad: no, he’s saying that blogging is no longer homogenous, if it ever was. The blogging milieu of Kathy Sierra and Tim O’Reilly isn’t the same as that of partisan political bloggers, or that of Heather Armstrong. They’re not mutually exclusive — Jeff straddles the tech/politics divide to some extent, and female bloggers tend to have connections across thematic divides — but they’ve gravitated sufficiently apart that they deserve to be distinguished.

    Politics is bare-knuckle business, and if you’re a vocal partisan blogger, then you have to expect a certain amount of rough and tumble. It’s when the tactics and attitudes of one milieu bleed into another, or when it’s demanded that the standards of one should apply in another, that you see friction and abuse and a desire to draw a thicker line to protect the space from incursion.

  • Chris C.

    You are absolutely right. Lumping all blogs together not only does no good, it actually harms those who practice solid, responsible journalism on the Web.

    I faced a situation last fall with my college basketball blog where the league I cover threatened to stop isuing credentials to me because the site was a “blog.”

    They finally conceded that my site was different from those run by “fans” in that it was solid journalism and a legitimate news source. But I took the word “blog” out of the site’s tagline and stopped referring to it by the “B-word” because right or wrong, the powers that be could not understand that blogs come in a myriad of shapes, sizes, colors and flavors.

    As you point out, sites will ultimately be judged by their credibility and quality. We don’t need some blog board to give us a seal of approval. That comes from your readers.

  • shawnpetriw

    The solution to Kathy Sierra’s problem is to write a blog nobody reads.

    When you get a huge audience, you’re going to get a few bad apples in that barrel. That goes for all things.

  • Great point, and this just shows how reductionist thinking leads to inane laws.

  • To people who still criticize “blogs” as a single entity, I try to explain that they’re like TV stations. You can’t tune in a Jerry Springer brawl and conclude all TV is trash. Television’s spectrum ranges from FOX to CSPAN, from the Cartoon Network to CNN. Unlike most major newspapers, television stations don’t share a common set of ethics or objectives. Same is true for blogs.

  • Yeah, when will the MSM stop lumping things together like that? :-)

  • Jeff – I heard your commentary on BBC Five Live this evening regarding the conduct of blogs etc – very well said

  • [Other places include other areas of social media]
    … this has come up a lot recently, including at a Social Media Club event at a local TV station. The issue was around collaboration between professional media outlets and hyper-local web video that could share story assignments … at Social Media Club’s event, which lead with Craigslist killing the papers, so why not avoid this with local TV by forming a partnership between in community web video news/content providers … [where] standards of conduct make it possible to cross over a similar work product …

    Unlike Tim’s idea, the scope was intentionally narrow …[but] by its existence, such a code of any sort can be used as a weapon, even if unintended.

    … [can’t attempt] control of the uncontrollable, which is why Tim’s proposal is impossible …

    … But the “wild west” nature of the web, with its uncontrollable disruption kills also emerging business …
    which can’t be good for any.

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  • Jon Kay

    … But the “wild west” nature of the web, with its uncontrollable disruption kills also emerging business …

    It looks to me like excessive regulation has killed or seriously hurt rather businesses than have been killed by freedom.

    Just this week, we have the innovative Voice-over-IP startup Vonage hurt by the effectively over-the-top patent and patent enforcement system. Last year, it was RIM, creator of the Blackberry, another innovative system.

    On the other side, low levels of regulation have allowed youtube and zillions of innovative ISPs to survive.

    One reason some people liked the Wild West was that the lawyers hadn’t yet had the chance to set up legal systems that’d let them claim all sorts of land they hadn’t done any work on. Today, it’s the same thing, via patent acculumation firms and the **AAs lobbying every legislator in sight to pass absurd laws limiting computers.

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