Welcome!

Ruby-On-Rails Authors: Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Hovhannes Avoyan, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: Agile Computing, Linux Containers

Agile Computing: Article

i-Technology Viewpoint: Attack of the Blogs

Jeremy Geelan Takes A Brief Sideways Look at Daniel Lyons' Much-Discussed Forbes Article About "Attack Blogs"

Attack of the Blogs: But “Blogs Don't Kill People, Idiots Do”

What’s the key issue underlying Daniel Lyons’s controversial “Attack of the Blogs” article in this month’s Forbes? In my view his piece, with its knowingly provocative title, has provoked much heat…but so far very little light.

So let’s try and redress that, however slightly! ;-)

Blogging is a hot topic in the professional news-gathering community right now and one of the simplest ways to understand all the fuss (on both sides) is to think for a moment of why Microsoft feels so threatened by Linux. The professional journalist community, if you accept this analogy, is like Microsoft, and the blogging community is like Linux, it holds out the promise of providing a product for free that is at least equal to and very possibly superior to the commercial version.

If you hold with this interpretation, then it becomes at once easier to understand why a professional writer (Dan Lyons) writing for a commercial publication (Forbes magazine) might have a vested interest in publishing an article turning the spotlight on what he terms “attack blogs” – that’s to say, blogs used by for example rival companies “as a weapon, unleashing swarms of critics on their rivals.”

But Lyons himself writes in Forbes that attack blogs “are but a sliver of the rapidly expanding blogosphere,” so let’s concentrate instead on the fact that 100,000 new blogs are said to be created every day – that’s more than one new blog per second. (These stats are derived from the San Francisco firm Technorati, which tracks the content of 20 million active blogs.) Does the blogosphere, viewed from this perspective, amount to a threat to paid-for journalism?

Personally, I think that’s the wrong question. To my mind, it’s a little like asking, does the availability of free drinking water threaten the existence of Perrier? The answer is no; they are two separate things. People will always want journalism as well as blogalism, for the simple reason that, while from a paid-for news product one has the right to demand standards of accuracy, decency and compliance with ethical standards; from a blog one can demand none of the above.

Which is not to claim that the vast majority of blogs aren’t both accurate and ethical; they are. Nor that there is no such thing as rogue journalism; there is. But blogalism isn’t predicated in any way on professional accreditation, so there really is no form of sanction for breaches of any sort, whether of accuracy, decency, or even privacy. The rule is simply, “If you don’t like what you’re reading here, just stop opening this site in your browser or receiving this RSS feed.” First Amendment rights are a wondrous thing; but they are no great guarantee of unblemished reporting.

As the world continues to spin ever-faster, with issues like globalization, outsourcing, and disintermediation all intertwining in a sometimes almost bewildering variety of ways, and with consequences both foreseen and unforeseen, I would go so far as to say not only that journalism will continue to be both valued and purchased by readers worldwide, but that the thirst for “mediated” reporting will increase as a function of the expansion of the blogosphere. When you can find ten thousand views on anything, it becomes more important and valuable, not less, to consult the view of a single trusted source. Or, more likely, a small group of different trusted sources, just to be on the safe side.

So it is not, in my opinion, a fear of pending redundancy that motivated Daniel Lyons and/or his publisher Steve Forbes to highlight the pernicious nature of “attack blogging,” so much as an inevitable curiosity about a phenomenon that technology has inadvertently enabled.

Call it the Law of Unintended Consequences in operation. Just as the inventor of the automobile doubtless had no intention of facilitating the one-night stand, neither did Dave Winer set out to foment Reckless, Stupid Syndication. It isn’t blogs that “attack,” it’s people. Or rather a sub-section of people: idiots.

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

Comments (3)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Tapping into blockchain revolution early enough translates into a substantial business competitiveness advantage. Codete comprehensively develops custom, blockchain-based business solutions, founded on the most advanced cryptographic innovations, and striking a balance point between complexity of the technologies used in quickly-changing stack building, business impact, and cost-effectiveness. Codete researches and provides business consultancy in the field of single most thrilling innovative te...
Atmosera delivers modern cloud services that maximize the advantages of cloud-based infrastructures. Offering private, hybrid, and public cloud solutions, Atmosera works closely with customers to engineer, deploy, and operate cloud architectures with advanced services that deliver strategic business outcomes. Atmosera's expertise simplifies the process of cloud transformation and our 20+ years of experience managing complex IT environments provides our customers with the confidence and trust tha...
With the introduction of IoT and Smart Living in every aspect of our lives, one question has become relevant: What are the security implications? To answer this, first we have to look and explore the security models of the technologies that IoT is founded upon. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nevi Kaja, a Research Engineer at Ford Motor Company, discussed some of the security challenges of the IoT infrastructure and related how these aspects impact Smart Living. The material was delivered interac...
Intel is an American multinational corporation and technology company headquartered in Santa Clara, California, in the Silicon Valley. It is the world's second largest and second highest valued semiconductor chip maker based on revenue after being overtaken by Samsung, and is the inventor of the x86 series of microprocessors, the processors found in most personal computers (PCs). Intel supplies processors for computer system manufacturers such as Apple, Lenovo, HP, and Dell. Intel also manufactu...
Darktrace is the world's leading AI company for cyber security. Created by mathematicians from the University of Cambridge, Darktrace's Enterprise Immune System is the first non-consumer application of machine learning to work at scale, across all network types, from physical, virtualized, and cloud, through to IoT and industrial control systems. Installed as a self-configuring cyber defense platform, Darktrace continuously learns what is ‘normal' for all devices and users, updating its understa...
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
Apptio fuels digital business transformation. Technology leaders use Apptio's machine learning to analyze and plan their technology spend so they can invest in products that increase the speed of business and deliver innovation. With Apptio, they translate raw costs, utilization, and billing data into business-centric views that help their organization optimize spending, plan strategically, and drive digital strategy that funds growth of the business. Technology leaders can gather instant recomm...
OpsRamp is an enterprise IT operation platform provided by US-based OpsRamp, Inc. It provides SaaS services through support for increasingly complex cloud and hybrid computing environments from system operation to service management. The OpsRamp platform is a SaaS-based, multi-tenant solution that enables enterprise IT organizations and cloud service providers like JBS the flexibility and control they need to manage and monitor today's hybrid, multi-cloud infrastructure, applications, and wor...
The Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence (MSAI) provides a comprehensive framework of theory and practice in the emerging field of AI. The program delivers the foundational knowledge needed to explore both key contextual areas and complex technical applications of AI systems. Curriculum incorporates elements of data science, robotics, and machine learning-enabling you to pursue a holistic and interdisciplinary course of study while preparing for a position in AI research, operations, ...
CloudEXPO has been the M&A capital for Cloud companies for more than a decade with memorable acquisition news stories which came out of CloudEXPO expo floor. DevOpsSUMMIT New York faculty member Greg Bledsoe shared his views on IBM's Red Hat acquisition live from NASDAQ floor. Acquisition news was announced during CloudEXPO New York which took place November 12-13, 2019 in New York City.