Monday, July 31, 2006

JD on Blog Transparency

I was midway through a comment on John Dowdell's post regarding Ryans Stewart's post regarding Steve Rubel's post regarding the "Underground Blogosphere".... when I realized I was going a bit long, and should probably just blog it myself.

After reading Ryan's article on Friday, I gave the topic a "background process" in my brain, and I must confess it hasn't returned much. What I've got is this: who cares if bloggers email each other to pitch their stories, and why? I care, for the reason that I wish the most popular, easy to find blog posts were the ones with the most valuable content - as opposed to the ones with the best promotion. But what's to be done? The reality is, blogs get popular for lots of reasons - the author holds a position of prominence or is well-connected, the posts are inflammatory or invite controversy, the author advertises their blog like crazy, the content is of a high value to its audience, etc. Not to mention that if you are blogging, you probably want people to read it, and so you will no doubt take steps to increase your readership. It stands to reason that those who have popular blogs have made an effort to achieve that popularity (sorta like how the more powerful a politician is, the more power-hungry they likely had to be to achieve their position).

Now, if you rely on blogs to be accurate, then you probably care a lot more deeply about this issue than I do, and you really need to understand what a blogger's motivations might be. I personally don't rely on anything to be accurate: not the mainstream press, not the alternative press, and CERTAINLY not the blogosphere.

I guess I'm ultimately just stating the obvious: no matter where your information comes from, how it was promoted, or who authored it, you must make your own judgement as to its validity. Does the fact that an article was promoted via social connections (or even begging for a link) make it less valid for you? If it's something you really care deeply about, believe only your own senses.

As for the RIA bit - I suspect that if RIA-related blog posts aren't getting picked up outside of MXNA and the Goog, it's because the blogosphere at large just isn't as interested in RIAs as the MXNA crowd. I'm always a little surprised when I brag to one of my web developer cohorts about something I'm working on and I get that blank stare... I'm lucky enough to have some very honest friends who have on occasion come out and said "Ok, that's cool and all, but why would you ever want to do that?". I do think there will come a time when rich UI is expected and even demanded, and then those people will get it. But for now, people who are into Flex and so forth may be a but ahead of the curve.

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