More tech blogger soul searching
Today was a day to catch up on items in my feed reader, as it was a hectic week with client announcements. It was hard to miss the big story earlier this week of the launch of Cuil, a search company founded by ex-Googlers. It was remarkable how quickly the coverage and buzz about a company launch turned from overwhelmingly positive to negative in the blink of an eye. For those who missed it, tech bloggers who were pre-briefed by Cuil wrote love letters as soon as the embargo wrote, but when people started using the search engine, including those bloggers themselves and saw that it wasn't ready for primetime, said so in no uncertain terms.
As this was unfolding, I couldn't help but think back to the recent soul-searching by Robert Scoble about how tech bloggers all chase the same story without pausing to analyze the bigger picture. "Apparently," I thought at the time, "what Scoble wrote didn't sink in with fellow bloggers." So, I found one of the items while I was catching up today particularly interesting. It was a post by Sarah Lacy, author and BusinessWeek contributor, in which she does a very cogent self-examination on behalf of the tech blogging community of how culpable they were for the way the launch played out. This part of the post captures it best:
At some point, the tech blogosphere has to break itself from the junky-like addiction of having to get a story two seconds before the competitor. Can it really drive that much traffic when every other blogger got the same pre-brief? Isn't it better to wait a bit, use the service and write something smarter?
If we've got a 20-second hype cycle in the Valley, that's not Cuil's fault. And I don't think it's serving readers well either. If we write something is amazing in the morning and then total junk in the afternoon, does anyone looking to tech blogs for analysis keep coming back?
So what does this mean? Will we see a (gradual) shift in the way tech bloggers go about covering news? Or will the same competitive dynamic that has been a part of journalism for ages continue to prevail leading to more of the same?