David Bullard Needs a Hug
What’s the best way to gain exposure on the Web? Insult the blogosphere. Score!
You have to think South African Sunday Times columnist David Bullard knew exactly what he was doing when he launched a completely unfair attack on the blogosphere this weekend, calling us a bunch of air guitarists and the "sort of wackos who gun down their fellow students".
I was actually with him for awhile there. His air guitar analogy was pretty sweet.
"I used to play air guitar with a band called Deep Purple. My playing was perfect, I had attitude and I even smashed my air guitar at the end of the number. The reason I played air guitar is that I couldn’t play real guitar very well so I was forced to dwell in this fantasy world where my guitar playing meant something only to me… Most blog sites are the air guitars of journalism. They’re cobbled together by people who wouldn’t stand a hope in hell of getting a job in journalism, mainly because they have very little to say. It’s rather sad how many people think the tedious minutiae of their lives will be of any interest to anyone else."
The trouble with David’s argument is he’s talking about Blogging 1.0. When it was restricted to sites like LiveJournal, Blogger, and other vapid sites whose names I’ve since forgotten. Those were the blogs you created when you broke up with your boyfriend and needed to vent because no one understood your pain but then you got back together three days later and all was right with the world. Yep, that was Blogging 1.0. It was the whiny, self-absorbed stuff. The ones even your friends only pretended to read and you denied existed to your mother.
I agree with David that these are air guitarist bloggers. Is there value for these blogs? Sure, on some scale. But most of us will be completely interested. I feel the same way about the mindlessness of Twitter. (Sorry, Barry.) The biggest contribution these blogs provide is that they make the rest of us "professional" bloggers look good in comparison. At least we have an actual topic.
Fortunately, the blogosphere has expanded beyond those superficial blogs. You have mainstream blogs like BoingBoing, TechCrunch, Engadget who undoubtedly have more readers than newspapers do subscribers. Blogging has become real writing. Bloggers have the ability to break news, create buzz, help your brand, and ignite intelligent conversations. They evoke both passion and interactivity.
David missed all that. In fact, once he got past the cool air guitar metaphor David’s logic started getting a little fuzzy and his jealousy of new media began to emerge. He then does what all boys do when they feel insecure – he acts out. He calls bloggers lots of bad things, tells them they’re journalists who can’t get a job (heh), they’re hideously racist, and they hide behind the Web’s anonymity (really? Do they?). Yawn.
(He also calls us narcissistic but that’s totally true so you can’t take issue with that.)
Don’t blame David for being catty. He’s probably just worried he’ll lose his job. Don’t worry, David. Crafty linkbaiters will always have a job online! Head on over to Seattle.
The point where a lot of bloggers grabbed their torch was when David called bloggers the kind of wackos that would gun down their fellow classmates, an obvious reference to the recent Virginia Tech shootings. I’m not sure what part of that situation David thought was funny or clever, but it wasn’t. He should feel free to apologize as soon as his common sense returns to him. In the meantime, the Sunday Times should also apologize on his behalf.
I wasn’t as offended by David’s remark as a lot of the other bloggers were. I think he had a point until his jealousy kicked in and he started bashing what he didn’t want to understand. It was probably just a slow day in South Africa. You know how bloggers get when they’re bored.
The best part of the whole thing: David’s video response. Don’t you want punch his snobby little face?