Monday, March 28, 2005

Do my links work?

On the subject of citizen journalism, there have been some interesting developments. Dan Gillmor is a prominent tech journalist who used to work for the San Jose Mercury News. Dan
gave up his spot at the paper to pursue an experiment in grassroots journalism. Some of his recent posts speak to a lack of faith in mainstream media and the malaise that many feel traditional journalism is caught in.

I think a lot of the noise surrounding blogs can be attributed to a couple factors. First, they are immediate; blog content is spread by RSS feeds in minutes. I can post text, pictures and video to my own blog almost anywhere, even from my phone! I don't have to filter through an editor. I don't have to wait until press time. And once others pick up that information, it spreads. On blogs, bad ideas and empty thoughts don’t go very far. Intelligent thoughts build. I think this is part of what MSNBC is cashing in on. Of course, you can add to that the cache of a hot new technology, with a global reach, that reinforces the brand of both NBC and Microsoft.

Also, blogs are generally free from the influence of advertisers and legislation. Blogs gain their credibility by being beyond the reach of a media that is slowly consolidating in corporate hands. The folks who make Dr. Pepper launched a new “milk beverage” with a blog called Raging Cow that met with almost universal disdain. The folks who recently launched the blog promoting Captain Morgan Rum are seeing a similar reaction (NSFW) from the bloggers. People use blogs to start conversations, not control them. For traditional media and the stealth marketers, it is often the other way around.

On an unrelated note, it looks like Siemens is beginning to use blogs as a way to beta test new phones.


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