Thursday, August 17, 2006

Brouhaha about blogging (Nick vs. Mike)

Yesterday I linked to a Nick Carr essay, The Great Unread. I didn't comment because I thought the post stood on its own and I didn't want to dilute or distort a reader's experience of it with too much characterization. If you haven't read The Great Unread yet, it's the homework for what follows. (But nobody is forcing you to do the homework.). Nick’s post was beautifully written and held my attention.

Turns out that Nick hit a nerve. Mike Arrington jumped on it and asked if Nick was really Robin Hood or just an A**hole for implying that the whole game is about soliciting links from more popular bloggers, and concluding that Nick's championing of the little guys was just a well-crafted plea for links back to Nick.

And that kicked off a food fight. about the essence of blogging and the nature of the blogosphere. Is it high school? Feudalism? Self-expression? or Conversation. (More homework: read the comments to both Nick's and Mike's posts.)

Who’s zoomin’ whom here? Is this a real controversy or some elaborately staged pro-wrestling contest? Is this a real battle for the soul of the blogosphere or a cry for attention? Scott Karp gets to the heart of why (some) people blog, Blogging Is the New Novel/Screenplay Writing. Scott also reminds us that rejection has been the fate of the vast majority of all people who write for fame and money long before blogging reared its Hydra heads. (and tails.)

Why do so many bloggers have to graduate from the Monty Python Argument Clinic before posting?

Just remember that, anatomically speaking, the asshole is still way ahead of the long tail. If that's where Nick sits, he's doin' pretty well. There are plenty of much lonelier slots out toward the end of the tail.

That Mike responded with such vehemence–and that so many are blogging about this–suggests that Nick must have hit a nerve. Just sayin’.

The best tech marketers wrap their wares inside a messianic change-the-world ideology. It’s always some variant freedom, fulfilment, self-expression–the very top of the Maslow pyramid.

Bloggers are no different. The official ideology of blogging is all Woodstock Nation, Global Village, new media vs. old, Let every voice be heard. Yeah, yeah.

But bloggers are people, too. They're also ruled by other classic motivators. Lusts for power, affiliation, admiration—are lurking in there too.

The blogosphere, by virtue of its exponential growth can’t help but be a pyramid scheme. It has to be harder for the late-comers. (Unless, of course, their hearts are pure. And then, like Sir Galahad, Tom Hanks, and Indiana Jones, they'll find the Grail.)

But has there ever been a pyramid built with more chutes and ladders? So many ways to find an audience--if it's an audience you seek. This is as fluid as it gets in human interaction. which makes it easier for newcomers.

For whatever reason, many bloggers find loneliness, frustration, and disappointment. Rather than dismiss them as unworthy, Nick gave them an eloquent voice. So, I paid him with the coin of the realm and linked to him.

Mike asked whether Nick is an a**hole. For that I posted a comment to his site, but offer no link. He doesn’t need one.

From each according to his abilities. To each according to his needs.

Mickeleh's Take: It's all good. Blog if you will for whatever reasons move you and whatever reward you seek. If the reward is slow coming, take courage from Fudd's First Law of Opposition: If you push something hard enough, it will fall over. (Firesign Theatre).

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Anonymous said...


Nice post, but you're a day late. The blogosphere has moved on. It has the attention span of a gnat.