Hear that noise? That’s the sound of a hundred press releases and announcements being ground to a pulp, the pulp being formed into a sort of hollow, vapid blog arrow, and that arrow being aimed squarely at Techmeme.
I don’t know, but ever since some of our most prolific writers left the blog game to either a) become entrepreneurs or b) become investors, the tech blogosphere has been quiet — too quiet. And by quiet I mean so noisy that it’s difficult for anything of any substance (or signal) to come through.
Gone are the days of “Facebook PR: Tonight We Dine In Hell!” or “How The Hell Is This My Fault?” or “SXSWi: Because Hell Doesn’t Have Enough Promotional Stickers” or “Delta Flight 1843 From JFK To Hell” or any TC post with “Hell” in the title really.
Instead, the TechCrunch homepage has become so tame the most controversial thing on there right now is “Online Seniors: Tech-Savvier Than You Think” (sorry Frederic, I’m sure it’s a very interesting post). And its not just us … our competitors are drowning in a soup of slow news day posts like “Zuck Joins [Insert Web Service Here]” always using the excuse, “WELL MAYBE HE’S GOING TO BUY IT …” to prove its newsworthiness.
Well, here’s some news: Zuckerberg joining an online service doesn’t necessarily mean he’s going to buy it — And seriously how can you extrapolate that? You might as well also write “Zuck Buys Some Milk” or “Zuck Hasn’t Had A Poop In Three Days.”
Though I actually don’t mind embedding demo videos in posts as long as the videos are well done, I agree with Sarah Lacy here:
“Savvy PR folks — largely taking advantage of an obsession with volume and speed — have pushed journalistic standard practice from multi-source stories to single source stories, then to re-written press releases, then to cut and paste. And now, they have top industry blogs embedding actual commercials for the products.”
This is an accurate description of the current tech media landscape. And all we writers have to fight back with are our faculties of critical thinking. And, unlike old media organizations, our freedom to rant.
A culture of ranting encourages pushback, it encourages writers to fight back on the blog when PR people are bullying them into a story (and trust me, there are PR people out there who are huge bullies, you know who you are). Rants keep the companies and people in power in check and are part of our ecosystem’s system of checks and balances.
So it’d be a shame to see them die, buried in the mire of hurriedly written, PR sanctioned “write-ups.” Because a blog shouldn’t be a write up, it should be a war, or at least interesting — I wish it were legal to slap each TechCrunch writer who looked uncritically or apathetically at a press release or a news story and did a post on it anyways.
Instead, I’m just going to encourage them to write more rants, and I will write more rants as well, starting with this one.
So what do you guys want to rant about?