Friday, April 01, 2005

What Hath Stephen Levy Wrought?

Jay Rosen rises to my challenge of TEN NEW VOICES by promoting FOURTEEN NEW VOICES. Stephen Levy's piece in Newsweek certainly stirred things up. And I just had to comment.
Jay and Lisa = This is terrific and right on the money. It's gotten me thinking of another way to explain what I was saying in the first place -- since so many people picked up my idea and ran with it IN THE COMPLETELY WRONG DIRECTION.

I think mainstream journalists have been front and center on the newsstand for so long, (and I mean the real-world newsstand where magazines and papers are sold -- those things printed w/ink on paper) they don't understand how you get READ in the blogosphere. As the piece by Heather MacDonald in NRO goes on and on about -- that blogs are free and everyone's equal in the blogging world -- this happens to be true, but completely misses the point. Yes, anyone can write a blog, but it's not about writing -- it's about being READ.

Imagine a newsstand in Times Square, perhaps enjoying the highest traffic of any newsstand anywhere in the world. On this newsstand a few publications are out front and center and the rest are hidden away behind the little shed. Who decides how what new magazines get a chance to shine out front and which get stashed near the trash in the back? Is it based on the quality of writing? Not necessarily. It's all who you know, who's publishing you, who's bribing the guy behind the newsstand.

Similarly in the blogosphere, who mentions you and who LINKS TO YOU, puts you in premier position on the virtual newsstand to be READ, or without links, to be ignored. That's what links do. Mainstream media either decided to ignore this fact, if they knew it at all, or worse, they are so naive about the blogosphere that they don't get it.

Again, if Heather MacDonald feels the blogosphere and blogs are so egalitarian, why did she bother publishing her piece in NRO when she could have set up a blog and blogged it ... let me think ... give me a minute ... could it have something to do with her desire TO BE READ? And if she knew anything about blogging, she'd know that being linked and being noticed by other bloggers makes or breaks your readership.

Interestingly, you Jay and a few other people actually made an effort to promote TEN NEW VOICES on their blogs. Most everyone else simply gnashed their teeth and defended the color of their skin (white) and how their writing was just plain excellent and that's why everyone reads them ... no one knows you're a dog on the Net, but most people can assume you're a white male dog (human years 18 - 35) living in the suburbs eating IAMS.

I put the challenge out there to see how many people would do the hard work of promoting and linking to others. I knew a specific and reasonable call to action would be ignored and the argument would be twisted around to serve every blogger's own selfish arguments towards self-promotion. It was amusing to watch.

I'll be in New York at Reuters Tuesday night, April 5 (she says promoting herself) to talk more about bloggers and journalists and how to continue the conversation then.