Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

New media (distributed) column: I'm a newbie

Posted by Tom Foremski - January 3, 2006

(continued from: A (distributed) new media column...)

I came late to the blogging scene; I've been at it just a little over a year.

But I'm glad I'm a newbie, because I don't feel encumbered by the religion of blogging, or the do's and don'ts that seem to weigh on the first generations of bloggers in the geek (I always use that term affectionately :-) communities.

Geeks created an incredible media platform that media professionals could never have built. A million monkeys, sitting at keyboards and using Fortran, would have had a better chance of creating the design--and the capabilities of the blogging platform--than a billion media professionals using PHP for Dummies.

And even today, media professionals continue to be among the last to "get it." I was one of them, until I tried it and liked it tremendously.

I love the opportunity to be creative in style, in use of words, in messing with grammar and punctuation deliberately and sometimes subtly. [I like leaving little Easter eggs in my copy.]

The geek community crafted a fantastic media platform but they sometimes get into trouble creating the content, and figuring out the right way to monetize it. For example, there were attempts by some blogger software developers to pay other bloggers to write about their products.

We've been publishing newspapers for hundreds of years and we have developed a few best practices. Let us take the best of both worlds. Some have already done so.

Top bloggers are often media professionals

Take a look at all these examples of top blogs, which are run by professional journalists:

Om Malik (Business 2.0 reporter) and his blog GigaOm.com

Nick Denton, former Financial Times journalist and his Gawker publications, all run by media professionals.

Jason Calacanis and Weblogs, also a long time journalist and publisher.

Rafat Ali of PaidContent.Org

Dan Gillmor, of BayoSphere.

My advice to my journalist colleagues who are still not blogging is always: "Start ASAP because you need to build your media brand."

I used to add: "Start blogging now, before you have to start blogging for your employer."

Unfortunately, it's now too late because the old media finally cottoned on to the fact some of their journalist blogs were becoming larger online media brands than their own! And they were still being paid a day job. Nice work if you can get it :-)

BTW, the above advice is for everyone--no matter your profession. Become known to your community of peers, otherwise you will be unknown--and so will be your career.

And don't be afraid of blogging and being fired. Such things are extremely rare and are always the result of inappropriate comment--which can happen in any format.

Blogging is the most honest form of self-promotion bar none. And it's the best way to further your career.

The dialectic jewels of blogging

It is when you encounter perfect paradoxes that you know you are dealing with something true and real...but more on that later :-)

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