So, Bol shared this post from The Smoking Section on the death of print and how you know, they had it coming.
We all got it coming, Schofield Kid.
I had my issues with the post’s very bullish take on the future of writing online. So I grumbled a little something in the comments but didn’t say much. Then I grumbled a little something on Twitter but still didn’t say much.
That seemed to be the end of that. Them not saying much and me mad, but not saying much back. Fortunately, LC Weber who wrote the Smoking Section post just hit me up on Facebook looking for me to expound on the topic and I did – so now there’s an actual dialog. And this seemed worth sharing so here it is. Cuz hey, I like self-congratulating as much as the next blog.
I appreciate you playing devil’s advocate… but please indulge me further. What makes TSS the king of thoughtlessness? This isn’t me being smarmy, this is me asking honestly. I pride myself, as most writers do, on putting thought into what I write. I’m not just bloviating to have my words read.
Really, considering my Twitter comment and the fact that I don’t know LC at all, her approach was far more respectful than I deserved.
So I pondered for a minute and here was my reply:
I’m just saying I’ve seen a lot of sloppy editorializing over there over the years. Going back years to posts like “Bloggers are the DJ 2.0″. Bold, declarative statements that get thrown up without really considering the possible holes in the logic of what’s being stated and then get applauded by an undiscriminating audience.
The piece upset me as someone who does keep a close eye on what’s going on in the web publishing world, particularly all the vocal, discontent music writers out there. To say that respect for readers and writers is what makes the internet win over print seems maddeningly irresponsible to me. To make it seem like the problem is simply about love instead of about economics! To bring up a Paste magazine article that you read that sucked without even informing us which article or why you’re talking about it or providing a link… That paragraph at least would have been rightly edited out of any print magazine.
Music web sites, like music magazines are out to serve their advertisers – so they chase page views with excessive posting, search engine bait topics, link bait controversy or listicles, breaking up articles for no reason. None of these things are about making a better experience for the reader. And yet they still for the most part struggle more and more as advertising continues to fail and so more and more sites fall by the wayside or axe good writers for the cheapest help they can get – sometimes free. More and more bloggers blog for no pay or minimal pay. I mean to ignore all that and state that it comes down to print drools, internet roolz. It is kind of ridiculous in 2010. We all know that print’s economics aren’t sustainable… One thing you could have done is looked at which magazines are still surviving and what they’re doing differently. Like a look at Wax Poetics or the newly launched Respect mag.
To me, writing seriously means questioning your own assumptions and actually wrestling with complicated topics when you are covering them. Ending a piece like this by just giving a bunch of props to the site you write for without even earning them through the piece… It’s just totally hollow.