UPDATE2: On April 16th, Jon Gordon delivers a FutureTense with snippets from the interviews above as well as one with me done a couple of days prior.
As a fellow Minnesota blogger and technoweenie, the Technology Evangelist guys are in my news aggregator. Reading Ed Kohler’s post this morning, “Technology Evangelist Podcast to Replace Imus” I thought, “Nah” but then thought “Hmmm….maybe CBS is that desperate to get user generated content creators into the fold” but still didn’t buy it. Turns out, of course, it wasn’t true.
Here’s the deal: To all bloggers attempting to be taken seriously…stop trying to be funny….’cause you’re not! The whole April Fool’s joke thing isn’t working anymore since 99% of them aren’t funny anyway. The other issue? If you’re going to do an April Fool’s joke, do it on April Fool’s day and NOT the day before or after….or any other day for that matter.
The key to humor is timing. Respected people like Mike Arrington and Robert Scoble broke the unspoken timing rule this year by delivering their
incredibly side-splittingly funny attempted humor early and it backfired (not hugely…but my trust in them has gone down a notch). They weren’t the only ones (just the most visible that I read) and it bugged me so I wrote “Why there are no technoweenie, geek or propellerhead comedians“. It’s not that I don’t have a sense of humor but I use it elsewhere instead of on my blog where I’m trying to have the value I’m delivering taken seriously.
Kohler has posted his act of contrition. But how will I know what to believe in the future when I read him? Do I wait to see if he was just kidding or maybe just stop reading him?
Even with the whole Kathy Sierra/Chris Locke incident and Tim O’Reilly’s Code of Conduct attempt at adult supervision (which hasn’t been received well), even *I* am getting suspect of what I’m reading on blogs…even ones that usually aren’t attempting such sophomoric humor.
As I stood back from all of this I realized why I’m so agitated: we who are investing our value into blogs are being less valued when so-called A-list bloggers — or any others attempting to gain attention — end up as the blogosphere’s poster children for the lack of credibility to which the disrupted big media is more than willing to point with a big article or story. It’s no wonder that big media is having a field day telling the non-blog-reading world why we’re all a bunch of diarists-writing-about-our-cats-pooping without a journalistic bone in our bodies or the discipline to fact-check before we write.
Before you leap on me about this or think I’m going way too far in my agitation about this, consider picking up your local daily newspaper and on the cover of the business section it states, “Top Bloggers Receive Presidential Honors“. The article goes on and discusses how Mike Arrington, Robert Scoble and Ed Kohler were escorted to the White House to receive top honors by President Bush. Then the next day the newspaper prints a “we were just kiddin’ around” article to correct it.
“Well, that wouldn’t happen Borsch“. Why? Because even though they’re imperfect, journalists and publishers work their asses off to build trust, credibility, check their facts, and deliver value we can count on — and would never dream of printing something erroneous on purpose without somehow explicitly printing a disclaimer so the naive or the trusting wouldn’t be duped.
This effort by journalists and publishers to be credible is one reason why so many of us who blog have been agitated at the online walled gardens of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal since we’d like to link to them (and thankfully, that’s slowly changing). What they offer is credible (though at times many of us scream “bias” since these two are perceived as either too liberal or too conservative) and yet you know they’re at least striving for perfection though they often fall short.
We can do better.