July 08, 2005

London Bombings and Blog Evangelism

I never know what to post about events such as the London Bombings. The perpetrators sure don't care what I say, and there is hardly any debate over sympathy for the victims. Though aspects of the coverage of the tragedy seem to have touched a nerve.

Shelley Powers wrote:

I won't point to the sites, and I won't repeat the exact words. But now is not the time to point to a 'wiki' setup to collect information about the bombs in London, and smugly say how much better it is at covering the news than the New York Times. ...
Don't use this event to promote weblogging.

I've seen similar sentiments even by some A-lister's.

I suppose there's value in raising the costs of being crass. But there will always be a certain percentage of the population that will take self-promotion over solemnity. And if any of the evangelists were by chance shamed into reverence, there would be plenty of hungry evangelist-wannabes to try to exploit the PR opportunity (i.e. "If I didn't do it, somebody else would").

I think the end result is the point I make about the deep unpleasant structural similarity of high-attention blogs to mass media - with many of the same imperatives, here, ambulance-chasing. Yet another instance of meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in politics | on July 08, 2005 08:07 AM (Infothought permalink)
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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Not sure if you caught this, but the Register's Andrew Orlowski (one of the better writers in tech journalism, IMHO) did a piece on the London disaster, and references you. You're both quite right. He ties it more directly to the grand blogosphere circlejerk to which you often allude.

Posted by: Dave at July 9, 2005 02:05 AM

Gack! It's not ambulance chasing; unless the blog is making money from it, it's only rubber-necking.

Please, if you're going to try to be insulting atleast try to be accurate.

Posted by: Ian Woollard at July 9, 2005 07:36 AM

Journalists? Accurate?

Posted by: Dan100 at July 10, 2005 12:37 PM

I'd call schadenblog. I seem to remember writing something about this post-tsunami. Breaking News: Earthquake hits, media sinks.

Posted by: Jon Garfunkel at July 11, 2005 12:50 AM

Usually I enjoy Orlowski's writing. Not so this time, as he used that unattributed quote from my blog to make a point . . . a point not made in my post, when read in context.

Maybe he's envious that I link to you and to Shelley, but not to him. Oh wait, that would be too self-congratulatory. Strike that.

Posted by: Dean Landsman at July 12, 2005 01:47 AM

Quote: (Ian Woolard)

Gack! It's not ambulance chasing; unless the blog is making money from it, it's only rubber-necking.

Please, if you're going to try to be insulting atleast try to be accurate.

Er.... Gack and double-gack! It's not rubbernecking unless someone is just slowing down to take a look. Taking photos for their own use or publishing on the internet is actually lends itself more to Ambulance-Chasing than to Rubber-necking because there is a gain (albeit a non-financial but very sick and perverse one).

Please Ian, if you're going to be petulant at least try to be more accurate.


Posted by: Doctor Doggie at July 13, 2005 06:55 AM

My sympathy is out to the people in London who suffered at the hands of thoughtless killers. However I am always curious how 50 people being killed in London trumps 150 being killed in a train wreck in pakistan. That latter event just got a one day mention in the top news but no "how tragic", "minutes of silence" from the world in general. Why is that

Posted by: lou at July 14, 2005 08:33 AM