I've started asking myself this question: am I a tech blogger or a war blogger. Actually, it's weird. I see myself more as a tech blogger. I try to point at interesting things about technology. Certainly that's where most of my interest lies.
But, in the days after 9/11 I was definitely a warblogger.
Maybe that's why I'm conflicted. Part of me wants to be a warblogger. Part of me wants to be a techblogger. Oh, life is so freaking difficult.
David Gallagher in the New York Times today wrote about this issue. Ahh, I'm supposed to hate some other blogger cause he/she is getting more attention than I am. Oh. Heh.
Has anyone noticed that the most popular Radio Weblog today is one that's centered on safe sex? I tell ya, most of you have a one-track mind. All you think about is sex, sex, sex.
I think I'm gonna become a "sex blogger." I think that's next week's big news story in the New York Times.
Oh, heck, there's a whole lot of sex going on in apartments along Winchester Blvd. Maybe I should interview some of my neighbors.
Did I mention that at West Valley Community College when I worked on the newspaper there we did a "sex survey?" And, I wrote about some guys who got arrested for having sex in the mens bathroom near my physics classroom.
Both times I noticed something weird. Every single newspaper was gone out of our racks by noon.
I tell ya, there's a future in sex blogging. It sure is more fun than writing about how we should blow the head off of some guy named Osama.
What did this 1994 article miss? Weblogs. The fact that we all now have the ability to be journalists. Well, maybe not. I like this quote from the last paragraph: "Electronic newspapering will usher in "the golden age of journalism," says Isaacs. "It's just too bad the journalists don't know it yet." "
I went to journalism school, so I guess I have the tools to be a journalist.
What drew me to journalism?
A few things.
When I attended Prospect High School in Saratoga I really got into photography. I remember that photography gave me great joy. I felt I was capturing history. In fact, I was. My son has my first picture hanging in his room. It's a picture of train tracks. Those tracks are gone now (Freeway 85 paved over them).
I also remember I liked taking pictures of people. I liked meeting people. I remember walking into the middle of the street to ask what some workers were doing (they were cleaning the sewers). I found it interesting that there were people who had jobs cleaning the sewers. I asked them some questions. They showed me their equipment. I found knowing more about the underground infrastructure we all walk over very interesting.
I enjoy looking at people (my ex-wife really hated it). I caught myself looking at people yesterday in San Francisco as I walked around with my friend Lee Thé. "I wonder what he does?" "What makes her so happy?" "Why is this guy homeless?"
I like knowing what drives people. I like to know their inner conflicts. Maybe it's a way for helping me deal with my inner conflicts.
What drives someone to work 80-hour weeks? What drives someone to get into surfing? Why do some people love sex, while others think it's the dirtiest, grossest thing you could do?
I always asked questions when I was a kid. I remember walking into Apple Computer when it was only one building and asking for a tour (I got it too, I don't know who did it). I was in Junior High and fell in love with computers. I found them interesting. Load a program off of a cassette tape. Play a game. I thought it was interesting.
I had a great deal of interest in how the world worked. I remember being in metal shop at Hyde Jr. High. I picked the hardest project (it was a aluminum cast which had intricate metal legs). It took probably 10 castings to get it right (usually the feet would come out amputated looking because the molten metal couldn't flow properly to all parts of the cast).
I remember feeling proud when I finally got a good cast. Of course, my instructor gave me a bad grade because I missed all the deadlines cause it took so many times of trial and error.
Anyway, where am I going with this?
What is journalism?
It's asking people what they are doing or thinking, and then sharing that with other people.
Is weblogging journalism? It sure doesn't look like traditional journalism that I see in any "mainstream" media.
Is Scobleizer journalism? Very rarely. Most of the time I'm just telling you what I am thinking. Sometimes I point to a site that I find interesting.
Occassionally I will interview someone and report on that. Or, I'll attend a conference, and report on that. Or, if something happens that I think might be newsworthy, I'll report on that.
For instance, yesterday I was at the San Francisco Metreon. I noticed groups of people standing around an advertising sign. Oh, but this was no normal sign. It was a vertical video screen and the advertisement was moving.
Ahh, my predicted future of moving advertising everywhere is starting to come true. Can you imagine a future where there is a video message on nearly everything? I'm sure that within 50 years we'll have video screens sewn into our clothing and we'll be able to put messages on those.
Now, was that just journalism? A little. I reported on something I saw. A new trend in advertising.
But, if I really was a journalist, I'd need to actually talk to the people who made the sign. I'd need to find out how effective this new form of advertising was (I think it's very effective, based on watching people's reactions to it). I'd have to get "the other side of the story" (there ALWAYS is another side).
What are some potential other sides to this story? Maybe a religious leader who thinks it's negative to have video screens facing you everywhere you go? Maybe an advertising executive from a competing company who'll say "video screens are just too expensive" or maybe "we have a new screen coming out that'll be even more impressive."
Anyway, I really can't call what I do here journalism until I start asking people questions.
But, weblogs do change what we think about journalism.
Let's assume that all the people mentioned above had weblogs. Then I could ask the questions here, and they could post their opinions. Oh, a search of Google already finds some advertising weblogs. Here's an interesting one (although I haven't found one that specifically talks about the video screens I saw yesterday at the Metreon).
So, now I'm practicing journalism by linking.
I am imagining a world where everyone has a weblog. The criminal. The politician. The entrepreneur. The movie star. The janitor. The chef.
What need is there for a newspaper in such a world?
The real need is for a combination of intelligent agents as well as humans who'll find me the news that's important to me.
Unfortunately I've watched human behavior and most of you are interested in sex, death, conflict, or money.
Hey, maybe I'll just start a weblog called "Sex, Death, Conflict, and Money."
Would that be journalism? Well, it'd look like the front page of the local newspaper, that's for sure.
Is that really what we need to live our lives?
To me, that seems the equivilent of Krispy Kreme -- what we want, but not what we need.
1) A hot-ass Flash developer who'll show us how to do all the cool stuff (hint: that ain't a damn splash screen that keeps you tied up for 30 seconds).
2) Someone who really knows Dreamweaver MX (particularly on .NET).
3) Someone who really knows Photoshop and Illustrator and can teach us some really useful stuff in 60 minutes.
Interested? Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Oh, on the surround sound system: The Blue Men Group. Wonder why I'm so fired up? You can't be boring after listening to the Blue Men Group!
Oh, you might say "well, Scoble, you are competition" and you'd be wrong. I'm not a daily newspaper. I don't have close to a million readers on Sundays.
The San Jose Mercury News has no competition. You ever wonder why the corporate bosses there don't take on executive salaries? Ever look at the executive salaries of Knight Ridder and compare those to the average reporter in the newsroom? I know that the execs live in Saratoga and Los Gatos. You certainly can't afford to live in those places on a $100,000 a year salary (and I doubt many of the reporters make even $100,000 a year).
We're all to blame. We don't understand the value of having true competition in our news businesses. We've allowed them to lobby for looser rules. We've allowed them to consolidate. Knight Ridder, for example, owns many newspapers in the US. That's simply too much power for any one corporation to hold.
Same for Disney. Same for AOL/Time Warner.
We're getting a corporate bias in our news and we allowed it to get this way.
And people wonder why I read weblogs now. I think the news aggregator in Radio, and on OReilly, and other places is the most important new technology of the decade.
Do you use a news aggregator? Why not? Stop watching TV news. Stop reading your local newspaper. Get a news aggregator and tell a friend.
As more and more people use news aggregators the news business will be forced to change.
Choose your channels wisely! There's more to the world than the latest story on autism.
OK, let's head over to the business section. Oh, great, I learned that Larry Ellison's worth went up $700 million last year because of his stock options. Is this really relevant to someone who makes less than $100,000 (as most of the San Jose Mercury News' readers do)?
I think the lead story's headline should be: "you're getting fucked while your boss is making more money than God himself got paid last year."
I didn't used to feel this way. I remember covering labor rallies at San Jose State and surrounds (and protests) and thinking "you're all wrong, management isn't out to mess with you" but then I see wave after wave of layoffs (even at Oracle) while the boss makes obscene amounts of money.
And no one seems to stand up and say "this is wrong."
Why doesn't Ellison donate his stock gains from last year to employees? After all, if the company has to layoff people, it's his fault for not seeing that and preparing the company in advance for it.
But, that's not the American way. It's our way to take and take and take and never give.
Screw the little guy. The fact that they are out on the street is their own damn fault, not mine. I got my money the old fashioned way. I earned it.
Bullshit. No one "earns" $700 million dollars. You can't tell me that Ellison did 7000 times more than I did last year for society. Maybe he did 7 times more. Maybe 70 times more. But 7000? Give me a freaking break.
The system is totally messed up and no one is willing to stand up and say "this is wrong."
And people wonder why I don't subscribe to the local newspaper anymore.
Give me news that a middle-class working stiff would be interested in and tell us how we're getting stepped on by our corporate and government leaders (and I know we are, I've done enough sitting in city council meetings to know that. I just can't afford to do that anymore).