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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

(updated) Zeitgeist: Why Blogging v. Traditional Journalism is More than That

How do you explain New Media to Old Media? The past couple of days have been about the whole blogging v. traditional journalism bit (well that, and the whole MSFT+YHOO merger break down). Fellow bloggers like @jester1225 in “Confessions of a ‘New Media’ Heretic (or, the jester-in-exile throws yet another gauntlet before the MSM ‘priest caste’),” J in “Thoughts on blogging v. traditional journalism,” DJB in Talk About Kettles Calling Pots Black are all must read posts on blogging v. traditional journalism. @digitalfilipino's tweet:Blog readers are not fools. They discern, can detect bullshit, and challenge a blogger's point of view. Best, they can decide not to read u,” sums it all up really. As I agree with their points of view, I must posit that this is more than just about blogging v. traditional journalism. This is about misconceptions about New Media vis-a-vis Old Media.

The Internet and one of its side effects--- New Media is disruptive. It whacks the old paradigm of traditionalists and sends it spiraling in all sorts of direction. This is our 21st century equivalent of what the printing press did, way back when. It is like saying the world is round and not flat. Whether you are a Music mogul, Hollywood-type, or in the business of news, even novelists, The Internet and New Media has turned your world upside down. That scares people.

Most traditionalists can’t understand that The Internet and New Media by extension, is first about the consumer being the producer. When once, the epicenter was say a newspaper or a television station while today, each blogger, every podcaster, each twitter, every flickr feed and each podcast is a generator of content. New Media’s myriad form like blogs, wikis, flickr feeds, podcasts--- they’re a social network on its own.

A big disruption is the subjective idea of what “the truth” is. Take: blogs and wikis. They are accused of “masterminding an agenda.” Of course they have an agenda: the purpose of blogs and wikis is as diverse as the people writing or making them. Some write it the way they’d write a diary, which is perfectly fine for their audience. Some blog their social commentary like I do. Some talk about technology and the intricate details of which. Heck, some blog about un-boxing the totally newest gadget, which is totally cool in my book. And some wikis like Wikipedia are often subject to scrutiny while Wookiepedia is perhaps the greatest resource of Star Wars data on The Internet. And on one hand, a blog or a wiki, no matter how technical, or frivolous, or serious or funny is a social network in itself.

Blogging can’t be synonymous to a newspaper article or a journal or an opinion page column, while blogs can be all those, it is more. Take MobLogic’s political and social commentary. Lindsay Campbell and her crew blog about issues that interest them but both in video and text form like this Outsourcing the Government (related blog post "animob" by Amanda Elend):

Is Lindsay’s take different from say traditional commentary on national television? It is undoubtedly a video blog. She interacts with her audience and creates a conversation, like with this on Global Food Shortage and leaves her viewers thinking for themselves:

I’ve raved about Lindsay and MobLogic so many times, I posit to say, is perhaps the best example of what a video blog is and should be.

What about @alanatylor’s interview (not scientific of course) with the man on the street about what the various social networking sites? Is this not a form of video blogging?

She blogs what interests her like flowers and posts things like “The Twitter Song”:

Filipino blogger @LaTtEX’s blog on the other hand is degrees more serious than the lighter toned blog of @alanatylor but they are no different in that they both blog what interests them. In fact, recently he had some trouble when he commented strongly on problems with Cebu Pacific and their software provider, Navitaire.

How about the awesomeness of Wallstrip? The show is about financial news but in pop culture form. Here recently, they gave their latest take on Apple:

How about the show’s video on jeweler Tiffany, which was a parody of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, which is truly one of the more creative ways to deliver boring stock news:

Wallstrip’s also known for their (webbie nominated) HAHA video, a stock-ticker-sing-along which they posted in December 2007:

It is so hilarious and entertaining but undoubtedly geared towards their target audience.
So whether or not you are into Play:Digital via ChannelFlip:

Or want to learn Yoga with Veronica Belmont:

New Media is definitely providing more content that interest people.

“Do blogs recognize or follow any sort of ethical standard?” You can’t be more wrong. Credibility is the ultimate currency online.

For example, Unit Structures talked about “Twitter, Imagined Identity and Flux”. In that post he wrote this:
Constant Flux: The previous three elements - message centricity, imagined identity, and close community - interact to create a constant state of flux in Twitter. This is Twitter's killer feature. For those who use Twitter in a close network, you constantly renegotiate your friends' "profiles" throughout the day. As your concept of a "profile" is your friend's last few posts, each new post is new information. This is why you keep checking Twitter throughout the day - people you care about are updating, communicating, and sharing.
In a slightly lesser degree, blogs and other New Media’s killer feature is that you do renegotiate your blog readers, your community’s attention all the time. As @digitalfilipino aptly put it her tweet that I quoted, credibility is the very foundation of blogs and for me, by extension just about every facet of New Media.

This is the ultimate ethical standard check. Bullshit your readers and they’ll know about it. Why? Because the majority of your readership is your peer and they will discern, pick apart what you say. They will judge you by comments, hits and link love, which in the real world translates to credibility. This conversation translates to the only currency worth trading (other than advertising revenue) online: credibility.

On the other hand, Old Media is characterized as a one way medium. Newspaper columnists write, television anchors deliver the news, radio, musicians, actors, novelists they present their work from them to us. There is rarely any interaction between content provider and content consumer. No way for you or me to comment dynamically, to interact with the personality behind the work, to call on them, when we think they are wrong or to praise them for when they are right. People “trust” the content provider, i.e., newspapers, television, radio etc., that they did their homework. In many ways, readers “trust” that the content providers of old media to be telling the truth. The content consumer is never encouraged to interact in any sort of conversation with the content provider. This is the true value of New Media: the ability to interact with your community.

There are lots of ways wherein Old Media can exist with New Media. For example, @leolaporte who has the world’s most listened to podcast, This Week in Tech also has a radio program. He uploads his TechGuy radio show as a podcast for time-shifted listeners. That’s also the upside of New Media: viewers are allowed to read, view, or listen to your content at their own pace, in their own time. If they listen to it while commuting to work via their iPod, hey, that’s great. Isn’t it?

@JimAyson wrote on his blog, “The Ayson Chronicles,” about Die Print, Die! The Death of the Printed Newspaper and other tales of horror:
The printed newspaper died for me three years ago, replaced by Google News and its brother, Google Reader . A newspaper for me is best read off the screen, fresh, fast, and digital. Bit by electronic bit, I stopped reading the print versions of the Manila Bulletin, the Philippine Daily Inquirer, and the Philippine Star.

Maybe I had tired of the stereotypes fostered by the local broadsheets - the screaming columnists at the Inquirer Op-Ed pages, thetepid press release journalism of the Bulletin, or the retarded writing style of the celebrity lifestyle columnists of the Philippine Star, who couldn’t write to save their pampered behinds.

Or perhaps I had grown tired of the stacks of newspapers that had accumulated in the garage. I own no birds, so I had no need to line a birdcage.
I too share this belief. And I also use my Google Reader in the same way he does (see previous post on “The Awesomeness of the Reader”). I’m done with archaic distribution of newspapers (and of local media in general as well) and the stereotypes they parade because more often than not they dull the mind, more than stimulate it.
(updated) And oh, this just came in via Silicon Alley Insider (which really confirms my practice and that of others like me re newspapers): Breaking News! Young People Don't Like Newspapers, News to be Free in Future!
Is blogging merely text? Does it have an element of video? Is it a social network? Blogging, for example is many things to many people, just like twitter is, just like flickr is, just like video blogging is. It is many things to many people and as diverse as the ways people use the technology. Call it being zen, or abstract but that's the way it goes. At the end of the day, Old Media must realize that New Media, can not be boxed into simple connotations. From the mundane, to the serious to the technical--- blogging covers a wide range of fields of endevor. To characterize blogging and New Media in general as a form for simply amatures who wrecklessly broadcast their feed is foolish. To characterize it as without ethical boundaries is likewise ludricrous because, on the Internet, credibility is currency and that is zeigeist.


Pasyon, Emmanuel C. said...

“Blog readers [and blog authors for that matter] are not fools. They discern, can detect bullshit...” and "Credibility is the ultimate currency online." are fallacious statement.

The first generalizes, the second romanticizes.

The problem with the labels (old, new) is it's still encased in the technological aspect. The media, right from the time of the Gutenberg, has always been a volatile force. To reduce the epochal progression of media production, ownership and orientation to its medium is defining the whole by its (logistical) part.

How then could/should we label the media forces? I suggest we focus on their orientation, which (/should be) is the summation of its ideology (or if you are allergic to the word, psychology).

From that the second question: What is new/old? Dialectically/scientifically speaking, the new is the anti-thesis/reaction towards the thesis/weakness. Simply put, it is the emancipating in nature.

Is blogging emancipating? For the individual, most probably.

How about them?

However, i fully agree with your conviction that traditional and new media should benefit from each other's strengths and compensate for each other's weakness.

[hoooo! nosebleed!]

Pasyon, Emmanuel C. said...

nga pala, panu ka nakapaglagay ng vid sa blog? di ko malagyan sakin. sori, ignoramus.

Cocoy said...

most people who read blogs do so because they too are interested on the same topic. especially technical blogs, you'd find readers who are just as if not more knowledgeable than yourself. they will tell you whether you bullshit them or not because they belong to the same community.

as for credibility... this is best (but not always) measured by how many people reference your site. the more people who do so, raises your google page rank. hence, the credibility.

The printing press allowed the mass production of reading material. People for the 1st time were able to read for themselves source material. Hence, it spread knowledge.

The Internet dissrupted the ability of select few who had the ability to mass produce books and gave that means to the ordinary man. Now anybody can publish an opinion page (like this blog), or a technology blog like say Gizmodo. Now people can start their own TV channel, like channelflip, or for as little dollars as possible. That's the dissruption, the ability to deliver and create content by joe public.

is it emancipating? i think so because now, information is more free. it also raises the bar of expectation on the consumer because more so than ever, he or she has to think beforce accepting what the blog is saying. Like you are doing now. you don't accept just like that what i've written, you took time out to consider, is this guy "right". And you agreed and disagreed.

Now, we're having a conversation. You can't have the same conversation with TV, or with print media. It is rare for the writer to respond to reader comment, much less have a conversation that now you affect my thinking. the blog writer gets to learn from the conversation because now, i have to ask myself, what is he saying and could he be right? by commenting you affect my thinking.

"re: nose bleed." yeah this post is kinda long. most blog readers don't like that.

"re: video" i use blogger, with wordpress, i think it is different. with mine, i simply use the "edit html" option in blogger, then paste the embed tags from say YouTube. if you are still having problems, email me: cocoy [dot] dayao [at] gmail [dot] com

Pasyon, Emmanuel C. said...

thanks for the follow up just (still) bothered by how the media is labeled.

While it is true that the phenomena of blogging has opened more venues for discourses, it is still elite (in more than some ways; much like print and tv). The financial convenience of blogging is relative (Given the uncanny poverty index this government set). [Saying that blogging is a venue is a safe estimate of the orientation of the medium.]

Another thing, page rank isn't directly proportional to credibility. Case in point: Brian Gorell. Despite astounding (daresay ridiculously high?) page ranking, Gorell's statements aren't automatically credible. It just makes him sensational. Another case: The blog of Garcellano(who is an institution in lit and criticism) has low hit points despite his expertise in his field.

Unlike romanticist/idealists convictions, the "new media" isn't immune to sensationalism. The more sensational, the higher the hit point. Ergo, credibility?

True, it is two-way. Yes, it is interactive.

However, the level of "discoursiveness"/interactivity sums up the general orientation of the media. If the content of new media is traditional is it still new media? If traditional media presents a new content, is it still considered traditional? The tags (new/old) are demarcations primarily based on logistics.

My point is, labeling based on technological advances hinders the flexibility of the mediums. Let the content decide the nature.

Thanks. Been awhile since i engaged in something sensical (at least for me; po-mo? hehe).

Pasyon, Emmanuel C. said...

still can't get the embed thing. could you make/direct me to an idiot's guide post

Cocoy said...

Sorry, when it comes to google page ranks... I should use the word, "authoritative" and not "credible". the more people who link to a blog "cites" that blog, ergo--- increases that blog's page rank. it becomes authoritative, but not necessarily credible.

as for Gornell... one of my friends had asked me why for someone being on the internet nearly all the time, I didin't know about that blog. the answer is that, such blogs do not interest me. It wouldn't even be on my radar.

Gorell's blog to me is akin to a tabloid. "normal people" seem to enjoy that kind of story. Filipino psyche? i don't know. i'm not a shrink.

The discourse in New Media does raise the bar of intelligence because we judge the source of that content. For example, if you know the source is @Scobelizer, you know he tends to be quick on the draw. he's fast. he's like faster than breaking news fast. Is he right all the time?

Between, Ars Technica and Gizmodo blogs, I tend to favor the technical and superior writing of Ars Techinica because they are more methodological. I like Gizmodo too for their tech reviews, but I know if they publish something really breaking news, things could really change a few hours down the road.

that's the kind of discernment I was talking about. the end user gets to decide "is this guy for real".

is the content of new media, still new media if it is traditional. most of it is a variation of old media but the difference is, instead of just being the huge content creators, you get lots of indie. because like i mentioned in the blog, suddenly, anybody can make content. that's new media.

New Media is the ability for anybody in the world to broadcast him/herself. Anybody is the epicenter of discussion. To a degree that's about logistics--- hardware, internet and such but when you think about it, your content will still depend on the creator. how good is his work or how people like it.

in the case of youtube, lots of people like youtube. a lot of it is crap but there are jewels out there. a lot of people like gorell's kind of work. I think it is crap and dulls the mind, the popular isn't always the greatest thing.

"Thanks. Been awhile since i engaged in something sensical (at least for me; po-mo? hehe)" LOL. no big. that's why this blog is here: for discussion and sometimes it does ok, and other times it falls short. heh.

as for the embed thing, let me cook something up. i'll try to post something with a step by step thing.

Pasyon, Emmanuel C. said...

thanks again kapatid. you really do follow up.

"is the content of new media, still new media if it is traditional. most of it is a variation of old media but the difference is, instead of just being the huge content creators, you get lots of indie. because like i mentioned in the blog, suddenly, anybody can make content. that's new media."

beg to disagree on this one. not anybody could blog. not anybody that has something important to say can say it outright. form doesn't assure credibility nor authoritativeness.

You were saying about authoritativeness?
Gorell's blog to me is akin to a tabloid. "normal people" seem to enjoy that kind of story. Filipino psyche? i don't know. i'm not a shrink.

first point, the statement implied Gorell's high hit points. Second, the "normal people" tag implies that you don't consider yourself "normal" (whether you consider yourself above or below, i don't know/can't tell).

From the two premises it could be discerned that you think that Filipino online read shit (sorry, for lack of better articulation). This was precisely what i was pointing out. True, the readers could decide for themselves on the credibility of the post. But, perceptions aren't necessarily (and grounded).

another thing, i see from the way you position yourself (including your works) that you think lowly of Gorell's blog (and everything similar to its orientation). Comparing it to a tabloid connotes that. I visited the blog, and thought of what you said that, "To characterize it as without ethical boundaries is likewise ludricrous because, on the Internet, credibility is currency and that is zeigeist."

if you could please refer to this post:

note this line from a certain guiller: body-less na ang interaction sa cyberspace. di tuloy grounded at substantiated ang claims.

Cocoy said...

true. not everyone can blog or would like to blog. or for that matter blog but the talent could elude them. my point (which i think i failed to express) was new media can let you be a content producer if you want to, which wasn't possible in the old days.

Gorell's got a following. i've been hearing that it has been getting quite an attention. was even mentioned on twitter once that it was on the list of influential bloggers.

"normal" tag implied i like weird. kinda geeky weird which really doesn't work for most people. i happen to like bleeding edge stuff and a lot of people are scared of trying those new things. i'm no genius or anything like that, but i'm no slouch either.

i visited gorell's blog once. it was all about the ills of high society and what's rotten. i don't like the negativity of tabloid stuff simply because i dont care about what happens to those people. i watch movies and tv like everybody else, but these people are different from the characters they play. i don't care if they sleep with whoever or if they use cocaine. that's their business. same goes for high society... it is their business.

talking about what's wrong in their lives, my argument is that i have enough "shit" in my life to be curious about other people messing around theirs. i think people put too much credibility on seeing other people fail or mess up and not enough time finding out what's new, what can i do to make the world a better place.

i have your link on my google reader. it is quite long and i have to take time to read it to do it justice.

oh, one more thing, don't worry about language. i may not use "wtf" a lot but this blog will not nor ever censor that. hehe. feel free to express yourself as explicitly as possible. ;)

Pasyon, Emmanuel C. said...

[wow, that was fast]

thanks. sorry if i misinterpreted you earlier. am not a saint, anyway.

this sort of talk goes well with beer. hehe.

have another request: could you make a detailed, for idiots (read: me) guide on installing (?) a favicon.

[still holding on your promise on the video embed thingie]

Cocoy said...


don't worry on the video part. i'm just waiting for my computer to arrive from the shop. it should be here today or tomorrow. i'll probably have the post up by this weekend if my computer comes back this week.kinda hard to take snapshots on this machine.

Pasyon, Emmanuel C. said...

Sorry for the semantics shit, but i think "edited" is a more accurate label.

Or better yet, why not post a new entry. That way, our discourse would still be contextualized.

Just a thought.

Cocoy said...

That would be good. I'm just overwhelmed with stuff right now so i haven't been blogging as much. hehe. we'll see what comes out.