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

A mainstream media love note to the blogosphere: Blog off!!!

Posted by Tom Foremski - February 26, 2006

By Tom Foremski for SiliconValleyWatcher

Trevor Butterworth writing in the FT Mag recently wrote a very long 4600 word piece about blogging. Same cast of characters and the same mainstream media misconception that blogging is bringing down their empire, it's not. (See answer at end of this post.)

The best part of the article was the the last part (I think that's where I skipped down to...) It discusses whether Karl Marx would have made a good blogger and mentions my former university classmate Francis Wheen...and then leaves us with a wonderful image of the billions of posts in a "virtual tomb."

...journalism was an act of economic necessity that, initially, necessitated Engels doing all the writing. But Marx was a quick learner with a deft wit, and in his brisk biography, Francis Wheen posits that "had he but world enough and time Marx could have. made his name as the sharpest polemical journalist of the 19th century. But at his back he could always hear the nagging voice of conscience whispering, 'c'est magnifique, mais c'est ne pas la guerre." For Marx and Engels, journalism was trivial - an impediment to serious, memorable and above all influential work. "Mere potboiling," wrote Engels of the more than 500 articles he and Marx wrote for The New York Daily Tribune, "It doesn't matter if they are never read again."

And that, in the end, is the dismal fate of blogging: it renders the word even more evanescent than journalism; yoked, as bloggers are, to the unending cycle of news and the need to post four or five times a day, five days a week, 50 weeks of the year, blogging is the closest literary culture has come to instant obsolescence. No Modern Library edition of the great polemicists of the blogosphere to yellow on the shelf; nothing but a virtual tomb for a billion posts - a choric song of the word-weary bloggers, forlorn mariners forever posting on the slumberless seas of news.

It seems as if Mr Butterworth has not worked as a newspaper man because four or five news stories a day, five days a week and 46 weeks out of the year is about typical from my experience as an FT newspaper reporter (we got 6 weeks vacation.)

And the same obsolescence governs the world of newsprint; by tomorrow, it has become fish-wrap.

By the way, the FT set up a blog on Blogger (free account of course...) to discuss the story then closed it down a few days later saying "Blog off, we've had enough" (!!!) Date lined February 14th.

So much animosity directed at the the blogosphere! I guess the mainstream media still doesn't get what's happening so let me spell it out a little more clearly:

It's not blogging that is disrupting the legacy media establishment--it is online advertising that is causing all the damage.

Blogging is going to disrupt the public relations industry.

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