Yeehaw! Just when I was getting bored of the blogosphere (see previous post) TDavid, who writes the Things That … Make You Go Hmm blog has launched a scathing attack on the Squash-meister. Goody, goody gum drops. Some fun, some fun.
I've said it before and I'll say it again. The blogosphere is generally too polite and too sucky. If we had more of these kind of TDavid posts the blogosphere would be a far more interesting place.
Anyway, Squash loves a bit of debate so let's take a look at what TDavid has to say. Firstly, what's with the TDavid, anyway? Sounds like some, wierd geek porn name. Actually, there might be something to that. TDavid boasts that he's been a "paid, published columnist for an adult webmaster print magazine". But I digress.
Firstly, TDavids (he called me Phil Sims so I'm taking revenge) says Alexa's not reliable. A couple of posts in the comments on that post (which are really great reading btw, Squash readers rock) make the same argument including Gabe from memeorandum. Maybe, maybe not. Even if Alexa's crap, it's become pretty much the standard gauge for publicly recognising website traffic and there's got to be some element of truth. In any case, it backed up my own feelings on the staleness of the tech blogosphere right now and based on the response to the column, I'm not the only one.
TDavids then wafts on about tech.memeorandum and aggregators and there's probably a point in amongst it but I got a bit bored somewhere along the way there. Not too bored to note, though that TDavids didn't provide any counter argument. Now, debating 101 will tell you that's it all very well to tear down someone else's argument but it's pretty much an exercise in cognitive masturbation unless you're willing to present an alternative point of view. Did TDavids list a bunch of really fantastic new bloggers that have set the blogosphere alight in the last month or so? What about rattling off a few really mesmerising threads. How about some traffic stats from somewhere or other showing just how strong the tech blogosphere is. Well, until someone wants to back up a counter argument with just a modicum of evidence, I'll stay up here on my high horse, thank you very much.
Then, TDavids smashes me for being contradictory. Well, I'm a self-confessed contradictorist (yes I made that up). As I've said, I write a lot of stuff that's probably so widely off the money that it rocks up bankrupt. But amongst that, I hope there are a few 'money' posts (Swingers: one of the greatest movies of all time) that make it all worthwhile. That said, I shouldn't get called on this one. For, TDavids pulls out a couple of my pasts posts and asks:
Make up your freaking mind, Phil. Is everybody smart in tech already blogging or not? If we’ve passed the “golden age” then you think they already have come and gone or that they will never start blogging at all?
I think the answer is there are still tons and tons of smart tech people out there just itching to start a blog (maybe they don’t know they are, but they will be someday) and I hope I am among their early subscribers. It’s all too easy to say: the good ones have already come and gone. I’m just not that pessimistic. Cynical about the industry and certain technologies, yes, but pessimistic that all the good technology writers have come and gone?
Ahh, pretty much, yes that's exactly what I'm saying. I see no reason why someone who would be good at blogging isn't blogging right now. Like I said, if you've got the inclination to blog and you're in tech, then I reckon the majority of people have given it a whirl. I REEAALLLY want to be proven wrong. Leave a comment with some hot new bloggers on the street, I'd love to check them out.
Anyway, then TDavids gives me some gratis blogging therapy which I'm really appreciative of:
Bottom line: I think Mr. Sims is projecting here. He can’t decide if he wants to be blogging or not and/or if he is happy with the current state of tech or not and is rolling out Alexa stats and some poorly thought out, self-conflicting rant to legitimize his flawed opinion.
There’s nothing wrong with tech blogging and there is no golden age that has come and gone. Want to be in the grandstands? No problem, that’s less work and it’s fun to watch. Want to join the scene? Just fire up your post editor and let’s play ball.
Ouch. Props to TDavids for a very, nice blog slam. I really, don't think he's addressed half of my "flawed opinion" which largely was based on my own experiences, having been a professional writer for more than a decade and having spent the last five specialising in the study of tech journalism, of writer burn-out. I'm not exactly sure what TDavids does with his time but he seems to blog a lot. If he can keep that pace up then all the best to him. It's just my experience that most people can't manage it. Yes, some people can, but most can't. Journalists turn over beats/jobs at a very high rate for a very good reason.
Anyway, all that said, the essential argument I think TDavids is making is that I've probably overplayed my hand. Matthew Ingram said likewise. Yeh probably. Like any profession/endeavour there will always be new talents and generations coming through. But nothing has been said to change my opinion that the tech blogosphere has at the very least plateued and that content wise we're in a bit of a hole right now.