This is a conversation I had recently with Kyle Mitchell, who works in the Gainesville Sun’s online department.
Me: so how come the blog cms sucks so much?
KM: cause they got a cheap tool
Me: wordpress is free. and better. heck, i think drupal is free. and, better.
KM: hey, i keep away from the whole ‘blog’ thing entirely
Me: why is that? i think thats where online news is heading.
Me: along with serious flash and multimedia packages
KM: as far as i’m concerned, it’s B.S.
KM: a blog is nothing more than a column. if you write a column, call it a column, and don’t lump it in the same category as livejournal
KM: it takes away all the integrity of what you write
Me: a blog brings the writer and the audience closer and allows them to participate in a conversation with the writer
Me: the way citizen jou and UGC is going, thats important.
KM: it’s easy enough to allow comments on an article. but you don’t have to slap the ‘blog’ label on everything and make it look stupid
KM: ‘blog’ is too widely used a term to be functional when you want people to trust the information contained therein
Me: that, maybe i agree with. theres a huge difference b/t lj and myspace “blogs” and “blogs” written by journalists, professionals and experts
Me: unfortunately, we can’t always pick our own terminology
KM: blog is just another buzzword that people are latching on to. soon enough, they will realize that you need separation in order to get the credibility.
Me: i think people have come to think of any periodically updated and chronologically organized site, that allows interaction between readers and writers, as a blog
KM: exactly my point.
Me: and you get credibility by being transparent in the way you write
Me: the “blogs” that are written by 14 yr olds will be obviously not as reliable or interesting as a “blog” written by a foreign correspondent
Me: the blogs i see that have high readership also quote sources and explain where they got information and how they arrived at a conclusion
KM: but they’re still in the same category. that same 14 year old would never have a column, and everyone knows that, lending the column more credibility.
KM: call it a “newslog” and you’re getting somewhere
Me: well, the only way to create that distinction is for the newspapers to start using it on their websites
Me: and they don’t even have a grasp on the idea behind a blog, much less creating distinctions of terminology
KM: so, until there’s an understanding of what needs to be done, i’m not going to join in the masses who use the word ‘blog’ just because it sounds hi-tech
Me: so i should have asked “why does the newslog cms suck so much?”
Mmmm, buzz words. Dearly loved by failing bureaucracies, feared and loathed by those who understand the technology.