I want to go to the Democratic National Convention in Denver in August — where they will nominate Barack Obama. It was only four years ago when Obama addressed the blogger’s breakfast and we all wondered who is this guy, and then he gave the keynote, a rousing speech that served as the platform for the 2008 campaign (he probably knew exactly what he was doing, even then). Now he’s the leader of the party, and I really hope on his way to being the next President of the United States.
So I applied to be a blogger at this instance of the DNC, after having done exactly that at the 2004 convention in Boston. I was turned down. No matter, I bounced back and asked if I could still participate in the convention as press, and guess what — they said okay. So I’m going to Denver. Yehi!
Doc Searls has been fighting to regain his health in a Boston-area hospital. You can read all about it on his blog. I admire his courage in exposing so much of his struggle publicly. I’ve never been exactly where he is, when I had my one-week hospital stay six years ago (in exactly this period of June) when I got out of surgery I was seriously weak, but already in much better health than I was before the surgery. I was relatively young and fit, so the recovery was more or less a straight line, with few setbacks. As you get older it becomes more of a struggle. If you’re not in good shape it’s more of a struggle. Eventually, no matter how well you care for yourself, you’ll lose the battle, and gravity pulls you into the ground. That’s what Doc is fighting. A sequence of events that could kill him. It seems he’s gaining. A mutual friend has visited him and says he’s going to survive this, but it’s not a pretty picture.
I admire that Doc has the courage to document the experience, for everyone. I fought for privacy in 2002, only sharing what was happening with close family and friends. A few readers figured out what hospital I was at and called, I really resented the intrusion. For me the lines between personal and public life are sacred, and never crossed. As a friend of Doc’s I appreciate the information, I would much rather be in the loop than guess his condition. But I could certainly understand if he didn’t want to share the data with the world, esp if it interfered with his recovery.
He’s not the first to document such a struggle, but he is the first of my friends to do it. Bravo Doc, and best wishes for a speedy recovery. Seriously.
You can go to the beach, take a walk or climb a tree.
Or quietly go crazy.
Or you can use http://twitabit.com/ — a sweet little tool from the folks at SwitchABit. It knows when Twitter is down, and queues your messages until it comes back.
PS: I own a little bit of this company, so you know. 🙂
PPS: Of course twitabit has an API. It does the queuing thing too.
I gotta say the AP guys are digging the hole deeper every time they communicate.
But the bloggers aren’t helping. Almost everyone seems to be making the story bigger than it is, with a few exceptions.
Scott Rosenberg is doing his usual excellent job of reporting. Sticking with what he knows to be true, and carefully saying what is speculation and what is not. Even Rogers Cadenhead, who I sometimes think as the blogger’s equiv of Al Sharpton, is actively trying to douse the flames. But Mike Arrington, who I sometimes think of as the blogger equiv of Lou Dobbs, sees a conspiracy.
Fact is, while I don’t support or belong to the Media Bloggers Association, it has been around for a long time. A lot of the bloggers who are expressing their rage are careful to say that they never heard of them, which is hard to refute, but a simple check at archive.org shows that the website has been around since August 2004. It was launched at BloggerCon III in November 2004, at Stanford.
Robert Cox is a real person. He’s a Republican, a bit outrageous, but seems harmless, and I think he’s doing good work. The blogger who’s being harassed by the AP needs help, he’s providing it. The press statement by the AP makes it sound like something more is happening. See my first paragraph. They need to learn how to communicate publicly. Amazing isn’t it — here’s a media organization that is doing a super poor job of participating in media. The problem for them is that on this side, when they’re the source of the controversy, they’re just a big corporate entity without much experience. Of course their reporters (are they covering this — they should, imho) could teach them a thing or two.
We’ve been around this block so many times. When Dan Rather was being picked to death by right wing bloggers, CBS should have split in two, one half responding to the outrage, and the other half covering it, all sides, all angles. Their reporters had unique access and perspective, and could have presented a more balanced story, one that included left wing bloggers and the core of the story that the right wing guys didn’t want anyone to pay attention to — the hypocrisy of attacking a guy who served in Vietnam on behalf of a guy who dodged the draft at the same time. That story got buried because reporters didn’t do their jobs.
I’ve been where AP is now, when in 2004 I gave up on weblogs.com hosting. I got the shaft from bloggers, and initially from the pros too. But when the furor settled, the pros were willing to take another look and decide if the story had been fairly reported. The bloggers weren’t willing.
It was then I realized that this panacea I had envisioned in 1995 had turned out a bit differently than I had imagined. I thought bloggers were going to keep the press honest. Here was a case where the opposite was true. This led me to a softer position re pros — I believe we need both approaches, and the bloggers who just want to lynch AP are engaging in the worst kind of discourse, it’s anti-intellectual, they jump to conclusions, ignore information that contradicts their assumptions that’s easily available, and points of view that don’t agree with theirs. This is worse than what AP is doing, their lawsuits will not happen, not unless they want to commit corporate suicide. But the bitterness of this shitstorm will linger, for a long time to come.
PS: I noticed yesterday that the NY Times is starting a social network. Told you so. Starting in 2002, and many times since, I asked them to give all reporters blogs, and offer nytimes.com hosted blogs to everyone who is quoted in a Times story. Imagine if they had done that, the kind of social network they’d have now, and the difference in discourse in the blogosphere. Sure it would be opinionated, lynch mobs may still have formed, but some of the authority of the Times would have rubbed off. One can hope. It’s still possible and it’s still a good idea.