Sunday, December 07, 2008

Jon Stewart Asks The Tough Questions - About Blogging

Last night, I watched the Daily Show episode where Jon Stewart interviewed Arianna Huffington on the topic of blogging. Arianna described blogging as:

Blogging is not about perfectionism. Blogging is about intimacy, immediacy, transparency and sharing your thoughts.

When Jon asked if he should be producing a blog, even if meant publishing the crap that wasn't good enough for the show, she answered with a definite yes.

While some of the points in the interview were fine, overall, I wasn't impressed. Given the chance to explain this to Mr. Stewart, here's what I'd say:

Jon, bubalah, you asked about blogging? Well, blogging is simple.

  Blogging = A Personal Publishing Platform

Let's break that down. Starting with the simpler part, it's a publishing platform. You already have a publishing platform, it's called the Daily Show. You also happen to be fairly unique in this respect, the vast majority of the people on planet earth do not have an outlet that regularly reaches 1 million people. For those people, a free blog levels the playing field and gives them a mechanism for getting content out on a massive scale.

The Personal part of blogging refers to the fact that each blogger (or the organization that the person is blogging for) can decide the rules of the blog. If they want to follow journalistic rigor that would make the New York Times look like slackers, that's fine. If they want to invent their content and publish complete lies, that's OK too. It's up to the blogger to decide what content should be published - and the title "blogger" doesn't need to influence this.

To address Arianna's points directly I would say:

  • Yes, blogging can be a first draft of history filled with immediacy and transparency. And perhaps this is even what a "classic" blog is (whatever that means). But it's hardly worth limting yourself to this definition.
  • No, Jon probably does not need a blog. He has a perfectly adequate method for getting his views across. But, if he ever felt limited in this respect, he too could start a blog in just a few minutes.

The complete interview is below.

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