Bloggers up in arms about Forbes cover

Dan Gillmor: Forbes Trashy Blog Attack.
Steve Rubel: Forbes Cover Story Blows It, Calling Bloggers Lynch Mobs

Watch Memeorandum on this one.

What do I think?

We are being played. What’s a better way to remind the online world you exist? Attack. I bet they have more traffic in this 24-hour period than they’ll have in the past month.

There is some truth to what Forbes writes. The Internet can be a mob at times and often the stuff you read is just plain ridiculous. But, the way to answer the ridiculousness isn’t to throw bombs into the mix. It’s to get involved and participate in the conversation.

This is bad advice for businesses to listen to, but I find that businesses aren’t listening to just one voice when it comes to blogging. Most business people do their homework (getting the facts on blogs from a wide variety of sources) and come to their own conclusions. At least the good ones do.

This isn’t the last of the attacks on blogs, believe me. There are whole industries threatened by this stuff.

Comments

  1. yeesh. I always thought bloggers were just normal people saying what’s on their mind in a rather public fashion.

    Plus blogging is a good way to meet people too :)

  2. yeesh. I always thought bloggers were just normal people saying what’s on their mind in a rather public fashion.

    Plus blogging is a good way to meet people too :)

  3. from a disclosure point of view – its interesting that daniel himself has been under scrutiny by bloggers, for what looks suspiciously like anti-IBM coverage. check out controlscaddy.com for the backstory. or this http://www.lotusgeek.com/SapphireOak/LotusGeekBlog.nsf/plinks/ROLR-6B962Z

    this story is reminiscent of the current NY Times current debacle. partisan reporter, editors who should perhaps monitor the story more closely and everybody ends up embarrassed. lyons calls out the Radicati case, but not his own role in the ongoing story…

    why not just write a leader about his experiences, which would have the virtue of being honest and personal at least, if potentially misguided.

  4. from a disclosure point of view – its interesting that daniel himself has been under scrutiny by bloggers, for what looks suspiciously like anti-IBM coverage. check out controlscaddy.com for the backstory. or this http://www.lotusgeek.com/SapphireOak/LotusGeekBlog.nsf/plinks/ROLR-6B962Z

    this story is reminiscent of the current NY Times current debacle. partisan reporter, editors who should perhaps monitor the story more closely and everybody ends up embarrassed. lyons calls out the Radicati case, but not his own role in the ongoing story…

    why not just write a leader about his experiences, which would have the virtue of being honest and personal at least, if potentially misguided.

  5. I’m with Siobhan’s question a bit. A lot of bloggers (Scoble NOT included as far as I know) have said journalism itself is at risk from blogs, which just isn’t going to happen. It’s a misunderstanding of journalism and of blogs to think that could happen. After all, many of the most popular blogs are linking to the work of journalists, so if the journalists disappear who’s doing the actual reporting? If bloggers are left to go out into the world and report on things, that would make them, ding ding, journalists.

  6. I’m with Siobhan’s question a bit. A lot of bloggers (Scoble NOT included as far as I know) have said journalism itself is at risk from blogs, which just isn’t going to happen. It’s a misunderstanding of journalism and of blogs to think that could happen. After all, many of the most popular blogs are linking to the work of journalists, so if the journalists disappear who’s doing the actual reporting? If bloggers are left to go out into the world and report on things, that would make them, ding ding, journalists.

  7. Hi Robert. I thought that the thrust of the article was that power without accountability was a dangerous and damaging mix. I also thought the article highlighted how conversation was attempted but unsuccessful in each of the examples cited.

    I was wondering what you would think of somebody like Mini-Microsoft started publishing stuff that was not 100% true and did severe damage to you or your employer? Do you think you might object to that type of blogging like the author of the Forbes article does?

  8. Hi Robert. I thought that the thrust of the article was that power without accountability was a dangerous and damaging mix. I also thought the article highlighted how conversation was attempted but unsuccessful in each of the examples cited.

    I was wondering what you would think of somebody like Mini-Microsoft started publishing stuff that was not 100% true and did severe damage to you or your employer? Do you think you might object to that type of blogging like the author of the Forbes article does?

  9. Holy smokes- this is an article? It is written like an unabashed editorial. Now every unplugged grandma in america has something new to fear.
    One of the reasons blogs are becoming so huge is precisely because of this kind of BS reporting.

  10. Holy smokes- this is an article? It is written like an unabashed editorial. Now every unplugged grandma in america has something new to fear.
    One of the reasons blogs are becoming so huge is precisely because of this kind of BS reporting.

  11. Fact is bloogers are not held to any requirement to make truthful, clear posts. I know eventually blogs together fix them, but in days where companies and people’s lives can be destroyed so easily, blogs with lies, fud etc come out to what the Forbes points out. I blog, but I sadly have to agree with forbes on this one.

  12. Fact is bloogers are not held to any requirement to make truthful, clear posts. I know eventually blogs together fix them, but in days where companies and people’s lives can be destroyed so easily, blogs with lies, fud etc come out to what the Forbes points out. I blog, but I sadly have to agree with forbes on this one.

  13. Badri: if I lie, don’t make truthful posts, I can be sued. I will lose credibility. I will lose readership. People will stop linking to me. Maybe you need to start reading and listening to real people who don’t have anonymous blogs.

    Also, I’ve had a “professional” journalist lie about me in their articles. So, don’t give me the BS line that you can’t do that in a professional article.

  14. Badri: if I lie, don’t make truthful posts, I can be sued. I will lose credibility. I will lose readership. People will stop linking to me. Maybe you need to start reading and listening to real people who don’t have anonymous blogs.

    Also, I’ve had a “professional” journalist lie about me in their articles. So, don’t give me the BS line that you can’t do that in a professional article.

  15. The Forbes article pointed out the difficulty of suing bloggers. Professional news organizations take legal action and loss of credibility much more seriously.

    Nobody said that professional journalist never lie, make a mistake, or portray a bias. But they do try to aspire to some codes of conduct, even if they sometimes fail.

    In the blogosphere the lack of accountability is a real problem and it is unfortunate that the blogosphere refuses to acknowledge and converse about it.

  16. The Forbes article pointed out the difficulty of suing bloggers. Professional news organizations take legal action and loss of credibility much more seriously.

    Nobody said that professional journalist never lie, make a mistake, or portray a bias. But they do try to aspire to some codes of conduct, even if they sometimes fail.

    In the blogosphere the lack of accountability is a real problem and it is unfortunate that the blogosphere refuses to acknowledge and converse about it.

  17. Forbes journalist predicts own lynching

    In the cover story of the latest Forbes magazine, Daniel Lyons goes on the assault against blogs, calling them “the prized platform of an online lynch mob spouting liberty but spewing lies, libel and invective”.
    Things go downhill from …

  18. Scoble, I laughed when I read this:

    “Maybe you need to start reading and listening to real people who don’t have anonymous blogs.”

    You regularly roll out this MiniMicrosoft anon coward as some type of blogger to admire because he keeps things transparent.

    Make up your mind, mon! LOL

  19. Scoble, I laughed when I read this:

    “Maybe you need to start reading and listening to real people who don’t have anonymous blogs.”

    You regularly roll out this MiniMicrosoft anon coward as some type of blogger to admire because he keeps things transparent.

    Make up your mind, mon! LOL

  20. Scoble I never said professional jounalists dont lie. They do, but when they get caught they stand to loose a lot more than any blogger does. Which also means hopfully they will take more care as what they publish.

    Nowadays you have bloggers that publish news, but since traditional press needs to keep up pace they publish with verifying anything (look at inquirer or register, they screw up enough).

    As TDavid pointed out there are anonymous blogs, that we assume are real. And there are real blogs that we assume tell the truth.

  21. Scoble I never said professional jounalists dont lie. They do, but when they get caught they stand to loose a lot more than any blogger does. Which also means hopfully they will take more care as what they publish.

    Nowadays you have bloggers that publish news, but since traditional press needs to keep up pace they publish with verifying anything (look at inquirer or register, they screw up enough).

    As TDavid pointed out there are anonymous blogs, that we assume are real. And there are real blogs that we assume tell the truth.

  22. Some really great points there, predictable however that bloggers would froth into a thin-milkshake hysteria foam. Burningbird was reasonable, the rest are in denial.

  23. Some really great points there, predictable however that bloggers would froth into a thin-milkshake hysteria foam. Burningbird was reasonable, the rest are in denial.

  24. But the main flaw of the piece is that it way way exaggerates the importance of online gossip. Don’t trip over yourself too much, blogs are National Enquirer’ish. Only fools take info gleaned from blogs as the gospel truth.

  25. But the main flaw of the piece is that it way way exaggerates the importance of online gossip. Don’t trip over yourself too much, blogs are National Enquirer’ish. Only fools take info gleaned from blogs as the gospel truth.

  26. Christopher – you didn’t look hard enough if you didn’t see beyond burningbird. There were several great counterpoints to that Forbes piece which ironically starts an article about attack with fighting words.

    Speaking of birds, you fly here to many Scoble posts with your predictably cynical flames. Some of the things you say are much more biting and critical than bloggers who wrote about things like the Kryptonite lock incident. Just because you made them in the comment area doesn’t mean you aren’t being lumped in with the same lynch mob characterized in that piece. And BTW, I *agree* with some of your comments, but dude, geez, smile once in awhile ;)

    Let’s take the Kryptonite thing and seriously analyze it. They should be thanking the blogs for pointing out a flaw in their product and making it better. Instead, they continue to harbor some kind of grudge and fear over a product flaw that put THEIR CUSTOMER’S bikes at great risk to theft. At least from the quote in that Forbes article they are bitter which makes me lose a ton of respect for their company.

    I won’t be buying any Kryptonite locks any time soon. So what, I’m just one prospective customer with three kids with bikes … and three possible bike lock sales they don’t get because their action on this situation was too late and bitter about how they received the information.

    If my memory serves nearly a week went by since that video was released showing the flaw in the locks before they did anything. Isn’t that just a tad irresponsible that they didn’t act quicker?

    All it would have taken was one PR person running out on their own blog (if they had one) or contacting a few of the bloggers that broke the story and giving an official statement.

    Anybody who makes something like a lock should go through better usabilility testing. That’s the lesson to be learned, here, not that “oh no, don’t piss off those mean, terrible bloggers.”

    Still, if I’m understand the logic of the Forbes article, the bloggers are a bunch of terrible people for spotlighting a flaw that put people’s property at serious, unnecessary risk. Customer vigilantes, maybe, but how is what bloggers did much different than what Consumer Reports does?

    The point is headhunter blogs and people with angry agendas are rather easy to spot out and readers aren’t as dumb as that Forbes article seems to assume. People will do their own source verification. And they will vote with their wallets and feet.

    I have faith in readers. Blogs give the common man a voice that MSM and news and the government don’t seem to give a damn about much any more.

    Meanwhile EXXON is reporting record profits and we are out here paying $3+ a gallon. We know who is in who’s pockets.

    Now maybe there is a scandal Forbes should write about …

  27. Christopher – you didn’t look hard enough if you didn’t see beyond burningbird. There were several great counterpoints to that Forbes piece which ironically starts an article about attack with fighting words.

    Speaking of birds, you fly here to many Scoble posts with your predictably cynical flames. Some of the things you say are much more biting and critical than bloggers who wrote about things like the Kryptonite lock incident. Just because you made them in the comment area doesn’t mean you aren’t being lumped in with the same lynch mob characterized in that piece. And BTW, I *agree* with some of your comments, but dude, geez, smile once in awhile ;)

    Let’s take the Kryptonite thing and seriously analyze it. They should be thanking the blogs for pointing out a flaw in their product and making it better. Instead, they continue to harbor some kind of grudge and fear over a product flaw that put THEIR CUSTOMER’S bikes at great risk to theft. At least from the quote in that Forbes article they are bitter which makes me lose a ton of respect for their company.

    I won’t be buying any Kryptonite locks any time soon. So what, I’m just one prospective customer with three kids with bikes … and three possible bike lock sales they don’t get because their action on this situation was too late and bitter about how they received the information.

    If my memory serves nearly a week went by since that video was released showing the flaw in the locks before they did anything. Isn’t that just a tad irresponsible that they didn’t act quicker?

    All it would have taken was one PR person running out on their own blog (if they had one) or contacting a few of the bloggers that broke the story and giving an official statement.

    Anybody who makes something like a lock should go through better usabilility testing. That’s the lesson to be learned, here, not that “oh no, don’t piss off those mean, terrible bloggers.”

    Still, if I’m understand the logic of the Forbes article, the bloggers are a bunch of terrible people for spotlighting a flaw that put people’s property at serious, unnecessary risk. Customer vigilantes, maybe, but how is what bloggers did much different than what Consumer Reports does?

    The point is headhunter blogs and people with angry agendas are rather easy to spot out and readers aren’t as dumb as that Forbes article seems to assume. People will do their own source verification. And they will vote with their wallets and feet.

    I have faith in readers. Blogs give the common man a voice that MSM and news and the government don’t seem to give a damn about much any more.

    Meanwhile EXXON is reporting record profits and we are out here paying $3+ a gallon. We know who is in who’s pockets.

    Now maybe there is a scandal Forbes should write about …

  28. [...] 騒ぎはますます広がっているようだ。有名どころでは、Boing Boing, slashdot.org, Microsoft の悪の手先として有名な Scobel, InsideGoogle の Nathan Weinberg, Blog Herald, CNet News など。元の Forbes の記事が登録ユーザ以外読めないものだったため、自分では元記事を読まないまま伝言だけを元に怒っている Blog も少なくない様子。Technorati の検索語句ランキングでも “Forbes” が第三位に入っている。 [...]

  29. [...] Quite a bit has been written already about the Forbes article "Attack of the Blogs".  Some of the better pieces include Doc Searls’ "Blogosmear", Steve Rubels "Forbes Cover Story Blows It".  TechDirt recommends "reading it as comedy".  Scoble thinks "we’re all being played".  The EFF has written a good piece deconstructing Forbes’ sidebar on how companies can fight back.  And Randy sez "Forbes can go to hell".  [...]

  30. Although the new Forbes cover story ignores the positive effects of blogging on the business world, it at least establishes the reality of negative effects. I fear that some bloggers are committing the same hypocrisy they pin on Forbes by seeking publicity and advertising revenue rather than to publish balanced, accurate information.

  31. Although the new Forbes cover story ignores the positive effects of blogging on the business world, it at least establishes the reality of negative effects. I fear that some bloggers are committing the same hypocrisy they pin on Forbes by seeking publicity and advertising revenue rather than to publish balanced, accurate information.

  32. Professional journalists have editors, publishers, lawyers, and advertisers overseeing their published content. These act as a system of checks and balances. It’s not a perfect system, especially in the trade press where vendors buy off writers, but I think you have to say it’s served the public interest damn well over the past 100 years.

    Conversely, there are some pretty insidious anonymous bloggers out there, operating in local arenas, tarring and feathering people in ways that a modern bylined journalist would be prevented from doing.

    Anonymous attack blogging is all well and good, until YOU are the target of an anonymous blogger’s smear campaign. Then the problem with gutless anonymous attack blogging comes home.

    There’s a reason KKK members wear hoods. It’s the same reason attack bloggers are anonymous: to terrorize their opponents.

    There’s a reason the signers of the Declaration of Independence put their names to paper, under pain of death: the courage of their convictions.

    Bloggers and blogging will not become widely respected pursuits until those who advocate same also advocate transparency, accountability, and responsibility—loudly and continuously. That means standing behind bylines, not hiding behind pen names.

  33. Professional journalists have editors, publishers, lawyers, and advertisers overseeing their published content. These act as a system of checks and balances. It’s not a perfect system, especially in the trade press where vendors buy off writers, but I think you have to say it’s served the public interest damn well over the past 100 years.

    Conversely, there are some pretty insidious anonymous bloggers out there, operating in local arenas, tarring and feathering people in ways that a modern bylined journalist would be prevented from doing.

    Anonymous attack blogging is all well and good, until YOU are the target of an anonymous blogger’s smear campaign. Then the problem with gutless anonymous attack blogging comes home.

    There’s a reason KKK members wear hoods. It’s the same reason attack bloggers are anonymous: to terrorize their opponents.

    There’s a reason the signers of the Declaration of Independence put their names to paper, under pain of death: the courage of their convictions.

    Bloggers and blogging will not become widely respected pursuits until those who advocate same also advocate transparency, accountability, and responsibility—loudly and continuously. That means standing behind bylines, not hiding behind pen names.