Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Huffington - the backlash

[Keyword: ]. Always happy to quote my sources in full, especially when they're as witty as Laurence Simon. Here's what he had to say about Huffington.com when I emailed him in connection with an article I was writing for Journalism.co.uk on it:
"Huffington Post's blog is what you get when you get rid of all the monkeys and have an infinite number of celebrities banging away at typewriters. The only change is that there's a lot less monkey-poo being flung around. (Even though Jim Lampley and John Conyers are doing their best to fill the fecal void. Vegas oddsmakers and pollsters? STUPID!)

"Some people will think there's an upper limit to collaboration, but if it's done right, there isn't.

"Command-Post had a few hundred posters combing sources and collecting them at the start of the Iraq war and the 2004 election, but it was better-organized.

"Blogcritics has a few hundred reviewers. It's well-organized.

"Despite a group of investors and a 7-man team of codemonkeys, Huffington Post is chaos.

"They have comments on news stories and not on the blog. That's backwards. And elitist. Walter Cronkite grumbling about another useless convention and three or four celebs patting him on the back or smirking is not a conversation or a debate. Open it up to the public... you know, like the convention itself? (HAHAHAHAHA yeah right. A political convention where the public isn't involved... this isn't the Monster Raving Loony Party!)

"There's no individual RSS feeds for the various posters. For instance, I want to track just John "Kerry 311 / Bush 213" Zogby. How can I do that?
Seven codemonkeys and investors couldn't anticipate that? Why? Because the designer of the site came off of Drudge and everything was Drudge talking about Drudge and where Drudge would be appearing with Drudge's voice to talk about Drudge talking about Drudge.

"This isn't one "anchor" figurehead virtually reading the prompter that's filled by a dozen writers on his staff. This is a few hundred anchors all screaming at once.

"The future of the HP blog can be summed up in David Frum's post on it.
He had an op-ed in OpinionJournal, and used the hype and traffic from Huffington post to link to his op-ed on another site.

""Hi. Look at my other stuff. Bye. And buy bonds."

"The site will stratify into alphas, betas, and fawning twits. Cronkite and Ariana will get their boots licked clean every time they post.
Huffington's "beta" pros (David Frum, John Zogby) will exploit the site to redirect people to their pet projects and paying gigs. Huffington's amateurs (Jim Lampley) will just natter away until the site ends up needing to partner with Air America, Kos, or Democratic Underground.

"We, the public, are Gammas. Mmmmmmm... soma."
Meanwhile, LA Weekly prints a column proclaiming the "horrific debut" of the site and the decisions that led to its flop.

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