Which Witch Hunt!!!?


Interesting debate raging over at Scobelizer at the moment. It seems his initial review of new ‘n’ improved Technorati received a bit of a hammering in the blogosphere as readers jumped all over his observations and tore them apart.

“I want you all to notice what happened last night while I was sleeping: my readers fact checked my ass. See, I got excited about Technorati based on the searches I was doing and the results that I was looking for. But then you all tried your own searches and brought other evidence to bear,” says Scoble

The Blogging Beheomoth found that his army of readers turned like rabid dogs while he snoozed, awaking to find…

“Why not just STOP with the knee jerk, poorly researched posts instead of relying on your audience to do the fact checking for you. Otherwise, what reason is there to visit your blog? comment by skc

Blimey! Calm down Skc, he’s commented on a web application upgrade, not butchered your first borne.

Certain (perceived) factual inaccuracies, posted following a reasonably short period of reivew (1 hour), have been hauled out and dragged through the blogosphere by his readers. Some of Scobles first thoughts and opinions have been taken and held up as evidence of his unreliability, as evidence of his poor analysis and even evidence of the weakness of blogs in general:

“Perhaps what this incident should teach us is that blogging really shouldn’t be taken very seriously, and is a lesser tool in the journalism toolkit…Anything posted on a blog is eclipsed by the amount of effort that goes into a printed or televised story. The reason for that is not only fact checking, but taking the time to review the whole picture and make sure that people really understand it, with a well conveyed story. comment by Chris”

Chris, You’re right. Blogging is nothing like print or broadcast journalism. Well done. terrific observations. Now go and sit down!

What the hell is the point of viewing a blog as an alternative to traditional media? Do bloggers like Scoble have the huge resources, timescales or fact-checking capabilities afforded by traditional media? No. What’s written is not always factually accurate, but it is certainly far more honest, and this is where the influence lies.

Bloggers write what they think, what they know,  and what they believe. The unedited nature of blogs allows ultimate freedom to say what you want. And when factual inaccuracies arise, they can be questioned, when an opinion is voiced, it can be debated and ultimately the truth will out. It’s not an alternative to the Sunday Times, it’s an arena to investigate it! 

What’s clear here is the misconception some readers have with the nature of blogging. As Scoble points out, I’m not a testing lab. If you’re expecting me to run 1,000 searches and be as thorough as Consumer Reports you’ll be sorely disappointed…this is my personal opinion. I didn’t represent my first opinions about Technorati as in-depth science.In fact, I still stand by my opinions. I like the new Technorati better than Google’s Blog Search.

By their very nature, blogs encourage the debate. Chris, John C. Welch, LayZ et al – by simply posting your comment on here you’re discrediting yourself – a blog post generates the debate, it encourages people to take the information they’ve got and actually THINK about it. Question it, argue it, scream blue-bloody-murder at it, it’s made you think about it and provided the opportunity to comment on it, post a response and indulge your pedantry by putting Scoble right there at the end of your keyboard, ready to respond to your argument. Take a step back and have a better look.

It’s a bloody conversation! Regardless of your newspaper corrections pages, your on-air discussions or your ‘strongly worded letter to the editor’, blogs are letting you voice your opinion in an unfettered tirade. Would any traditional media you know print/broadcast for 27 responses to the same story? Doubtful!


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