Cowards, Car Keys and The Same Old Same Old


I got another email this morning asking me why I don't write about blog networks anymore.
Here's the real answer.
Most Blog Network owners are cowards.

In this, the greatest era of opportunity in history, they are giving us the same old thing.
I was reading Vasper's blog and he had this awesome post where he quotes some famous artist giving advice to a wanna be famous artist. The old guy talked about how he took risks to get where he is and how it's so much easier for people today.

And he's right. It is easier.
We have the ability to create almost anything but we give people the same old shit.

Most blog networks are about the same things.

You know what pissed me off, today? I was reading and saw that Barry Bell got a community director for his network. Someone to keep writers in touch. Pretty much a Beyonce ripoff.

Now Barry's a cool cat. He has some sense in his head. And he has put together a great idea of a network about working.

But instead of taking a chance and doing something great like creating a forum for all the people who visit his site, he instead mimics everyone else and creates something for the wrong people.

And you know what's going to happen?

Someone's gonna come and create a myspace like hangout spot for job-seekers and Barry and his writers will end up really talking among themselves because they refused to put the audience first.

Be brave.
This is brave.
Nick Denton is brave,too.

He's realizes that a blog is not about words. It's a personal media platform. (btw,youtube is a community blog. So is flickr.)
That Gawker Stawker deal.

It's offensive as fuck.

It'll probably end up getting him sued.

But it's also perfect.

It's a mashup.

It's giving power to his audience.

It's fucking brave.

Doing another American Idol blog is not.
Let me give all of you out there some advice.

As you know I had heart problems and almost died.

Let me tell you what runs through your mind when the reaper comes knocking.
It's all about the things you didn't do.

You don't think, I'm really glad I own a Mercedes cl600  and the latest sean john hoodie.

What you think is, I wish I would have dumped money in my cousin's cool turkey basting website instead of buying a fucking car.

I really wish I would have been brave and done what I wanted instead of what was expected.

We live in a the greatest time in the history of the universe.

Everything is in play.

No industry.

No company.

No country.

Is safe against one person with a brilliant idea and the gumption to get it done.

Everything is up for grabs.

Now even I'll admit that that is kinda scary.

But it's also cool.

It means that idea in your head is just as powerful as the one in the rich guys head down the street.

You wanna know how to be brave? Just act like you are.

True story.
A friend of mine spent years busting his ass and finally made a whole bunch of money. Then his girlfriend went to France with six figures of it and didn't return.

So he worked twice as hard to make the money back then realized something. What was he busting his ass for? Was the money that important?

So he quit everything, changed his name to a number (really) and now does volunteer work around the country.

There are friends who now call him a nut.

But not me. 

I think he's a role-model.

Instead of upgrading his Audi he decided to try and upgrade the freaking planet.

And nothing is braver or more important than that.

What would you rather leave behind:

Something special

or car keys?


Explore posts in the same categories: authenticity, blog networks, chartreuse (beta), communities, DEAD, flickr, Gawker Media, internet media networks, Jeremy Wright, MySpace

22 Comments on “Cowards, Car Keys and The Same Old Same Old”

  1. *yawn*

    Doing an American Idol blog isn’t brave. Is doing an Autism one? For every blog you don’t like because it’s nothing new, there are 3 we launch that have never been done by another blog network.

    Because we care about passion. And passion is what really lasts.

  2. Barry Bell Says:

    Haha. Like clockwork. I abso-fucking-lutely *knew* you’d write that. Seriously.

    But anyway, I’m not hiding my forum away in secret and pretending it doesn’t exist like some are.

    What’s the point? My writers’ forum is there. It exists. Wooo. And you know what? Absolutely anyone can get in if they really want to.

    But you know something else? Just like every physical business has weeky meetings, every network really does need a forum (or something similar) (and someone to manage it) for the people who work there to discuss and co-ordinate the mind-numbing stuff that only people who write for the network really need to know. Like who’s responsible for changing passwords. And who has 2 sugars in their tea. And who forgot to order the toilet tissue because we can’t go on using the Yellow Pages for ever. And who can’t make it in to work this morning because they have a vet’s appointment for their 43 cats.

    Oh, and we also need our forum to talk a whole lot of shit about all the other networks, too. That’s crucial. But shhh…. don’t tell any of them that we do that, though.

    Another thing, public forums really only work if they fill up super, super quick. b5media launched one last year. It’s not there now (Jeremy: at least I couldn’t find it just now?). Metroblogging also launched some public forums. They bombed, too. Plus, the job space is jammed with damn forums right now. Experience tells me that it’s just not the right thing to do to launch another. However, when I know what the right thing to do is, I’ll do it.

    Trust me.

    Cowardice? Hardly. Common sense? Dead right.

    You want to show me some cowardice? Launch a gadget blog. Or a mobile phone blog. Or a car blog. Or another blog about blogging.

    And anyway, you can’t build a Myspace out of a crappy forum.


  3. Martin Says:

    I blame Jason for this. Ever since he snapped up $25m for a handful of blogs last year the blog network industry has exploded – everybody sees an exit strategy for blogging now: build a blog network and get some old media to buy you out. Nothing wrong with that except it breeds as you “the same old shit”.

    Where you say cowardice I tend to say business conservatism – it’s far easier running with the crowd rather than being remarkable.

    Give me remarkable anyday.

  4. chartreuse Says:

    Some quick thoughts,
    You are confused. I didn’t say I didn’t like your AI blog. It’s just not anything new. I have a blog about Angelina Jolie. There is nothing more pedestrian than that. Now if I was brave I would hire a Black chick, throw a camera in front of her and have her report the Angelina Jolia news like a newscast every other hour. Now that would be brave. That would be risky. It would be buzzworthy. And even if it failed I could probably still find an investor to finance my next crazy idea.

    GM is failing not because of the quality of their cars. They are failing because they have been risk averse. When you think foriegn cars you think about hybrids and other cool shit. It doesn’t matter if you want a hybrid. You just think that those guys are pushing the envelope and you gravitate there. Just like Denton with his blogs. We live in a universe where everything is a commodity. One of the few ways you can differentiate themselves is through taking risks.

    I had to say something about that. It was the perfect pitch. I trust you know your audience better than me (just like Jeremy). But if I had kept my mouth shut you might as well be reading another Angelina Jolie blog.

  5. Alison Freemantle Says:

    I don’t know anything about blog networks but your line Everything is in play is spot on!

  6. Barry Bell Says:

    >>”I trust you know your audience better than me…”

    Possibly. But some of this just takes a little thinking about, too. I know you’re all for getting the people to create the content, and you know what, so am I. But it’s just not going to work for every industry. I thought you’d be wise to that.

    For example: you see George Clooney pissed on cheap sherry swearing at the trees in Central Park. Sure, you’re going to post a pic of that to Gawker Stalker for the world to see.

    The day after that, you see an ad for that perfect job you’ve always wanted. Are you going to share that with the world? Are you going to post it to some social networking site and significantly reduce the chances of you getting that job through increased competition for it? Are you fuck. You’re going to keep it under your hat until the first day you’re sat at your shiny new desk.

    That’s the difference.

    Some content is meant to be shared.

    And some – by the very nature of people themselves – just isn’t.

    The Myspace model doesn’t slot neatly into every business, y’know.

  7. chartreuse Says:

    the point of my post was just to say that i would like to see something different. something interesting. something i haven’t seen.

    is that asking too much? obviously.

    and if you don’t know your audience better than me you are really in trouble. 🙂

  8. Barry Bell Says:

    Is that asking too much? Not at all. I’ve been asking it for months.


    But doing something ‘different’ in certain spaces is going excite some people more than others.

    For example, I’m really not into the celebrity stuff, so Gawker Stalker just ain’t doing it for me. But that’s just me.

    However, the stuff that I’m close to doing ‘differently’ probably isn’t going to turn you on like Galker does, but then you’re probably not the audience I’ll be selling to.

    Or maybe you are. Who knows? I hate all this hype crap, so I’m not saying anything more about it.


  9. If you can read this, right now, you are now an official, involuntary, unwitting participant in my New Reformed Insane Blog Media Network.

    “Brains, blogs, and castration blades, at your service, sir or madam” remains our unswerving motto, slogan, and just desserts.

    The avenging angels of the bloatosphere, we come on hard and strong against mediocrity, mimickry, and endless lollygagging. A network may be existing, but that need not mean it’s menacing anything other than its own sense of selfhood winking.

    Like Dinkly Pete always already said, there ain’t nothing like nothing. And that’s what’s wrong with most blogs and blog networks. The meat, if it exists, is on the backburner, charring away to ash. A reverse alchemy, the content of Mind and Manner dissipated in fluff and gruff.

  10. Thomas F Says:

    What I found interesting in this debate was the comment you made about YouTube and Flickr being “community blogs”. That is a very astute observation and one that has implications beyond the blog networks you “don’t write about anymore.”

    Glad I found this blog.

  11. Barry: Our forum, erm, suffered a backup mishap. It was actually reasonably active (considering our size at the time). I’m not sure I see the value for us or our readers in a single public forum.

    Char: No, I know you didn’t say there was anythign wrong with an Idol blog. But picking on one without showing where we are being different/brave/unique is a bit odd. Especially considering the other blogs being launched that week. It downplays the amazingness in some of the great blogs we’ve managed to bring on in the last 4-5 weeks.

    Anyways, still love ya mate 😉

  12. ps: I don’t mind if you never write about blog networks again. Who cares about the ‘network’ anyways? Networks are for the authors. The blogs are for the readers.

  13. chartreuse Says:

    Good point Jeremy. You guys are doing blogs on topics no one else have touched.

    I owe you.

  14. Barry Bell Says:

    >>”Who cares about the ‘network’ anyways?”

    Damn… let me just go delete that post I just wrote.


  15. shhhh. Suns Mavs tonight – thats important

  16. Ankit M Says:

    Jeremy: Networks are for the authors. The blogs are for the readers.

    Yeah, exactly.. Your readers don`t care if your blog is a part of XYZ network. They want the content of there interest. Even if a blog changes its network, I doubt if more than handful of readers see the difference.
    Blog Networks are more of social clubs for authors.

    Charteuse has a good point, Blog Network Owners need to be brave. Want to see one more example?. – A blog by metrblogging network on fictional city in which the game World of Warcraft is based.

  17. chartreuse Says:

    Ankit: that is brave. And cool.

  18. […] In the comments section (the comments here are almost as good as Liz's sometimes) Ankit brought up a blogdone by Metroblogging. Metroblogging does city-centric blogs. So they created one for a fictional Warcraft city. Now the makers of Warcraft should get with Metroblogging and have them do it for all the cities in the game. It would add to the Warcraft experience for the gamer and also aid Metroblogging in getting gamers to check out the blogs for their real cities. […]

  19. Ankit M Says:

    Jeremy [quote]I agree with Ankit. It’s an interesting idea, but it’s ultimately going to “fail”[/quote].

    I never said, its going to fail. Its a brilliant move. I agree that now Metroblogging has to take care of two different communities. But I failt to see any problem. Every city has a different community. Blog Netwoks can never make a community, only blogs can make a community. Blog Networks can only unite authors. But don`t fool yourself by saying your readers read your blog networks. They are only loyal to the blogs.

    Chart [quote]Metroblogging is about telling folks what’s going on in cities. Who cares wheather it’s real or not?.[/quote]
    People do care. Its a bit unlikely for a reader of real city spending time in fictional city. But then also there is a big audience for both types of city.

  20. Robert Bruce Says:

    You’re right. Death and its real prescence brings clarity, for sure. Or something more like a laser-focus.

    Love this man, well written.

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