The blogosphere is ever in motion, one could write Yoda haiku on that topic. The swift turns means that anyone not wanting to end up second or third (or worse!) on a story need to make quick calls on whether to jump on it or not.
That could have been an explanation, had I or one of my dear writers here at The Blog Herald screwed up and reported something phony.
Which we have, in a way. We reposted the news that Twitter was testing ads, a story that TechCrunch broke, and have been denied by the Twitter folks. Sure, it is a denial that would make sense even if the story was true, but in this case I do believe that it is a sincere “no, we’re not doing ads on Twitter” due to the fact that the source have admitted that it was a mistake.
That’s not the point of this post.
TechCrunch made the call on this particular story. They went with it. That’s fine, as long as they correct their mistake and move on, something that they have, but only just, in the comments. Fine, I don’t pretend to be an authority on how to do these things, nor am I aiming any swings at this most excellent blog with this post.
I am merely stating that things are moving fast in the blogosphere, and that breaking a news story first means lots of traffic.
We like traffic, we bloggers, journalists, and would-be writers. We like the ego boost and we like the fact that we’re being read.
Most of us have no editor. No one to tell us to verify the story with a different source, or even call someone for a comment. That way we suck, we bloggers, because we are scared of the phone, don’t know how to speak to PR people, and don’t want to make fools of ourselves.
I am speaking in general terms here. I am not pointing fingers. I am merely stating the obvious.
Right now I’m doing an interview with the head of Instablogs for BloggerTalks. There’s a lot of talk of citizen journalism there, very interesting stuff. However, every time I see this happen, bloggers neglecting to dive a bit deeper into a story where it really isn’t even very hard work to do so, my belief in citizen journalism, in blogs as sources, get stinted.
Blogs are sources, there are great content out there. However, we can all get better, and we can all learn from the old media. Let’s pick the good parts from the ones who know what they are doing (which isn’t a general old media thing, I know). Things like research, follow-ups, verifying sources, and asking questions.
When we get that right, we’ll have true citizen journalism.
Thord Daniel Hedengren is a designer, writer, and blogger, and also the former editor of The Blog Herald. He used to be a hotshot in the gaming industry in Sweden, but sold everything and went International. Most recently he wrote a book called Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog, and does loads of kickass design.