Blogging about friends
Tuesday, July 24, 2007 by Dave Winer.
I had lunch a couple of weeks ago in San Francisco with Fred Wilson, who has become a regular cross-blog sparring partner of mine. It's funny that two people who seem to get along so well face to face have such big disconnects in the blogosphere.
For example, Fred was one of the people who suggested that the ability to opt-out was the answer to Google owning Feedburner and possibly using its near-monopoly in feed serving to control other parts of the RSS ecosystem. I responded in my second post, and apparently convinced Fred that there was a problem, only to find out that my title wasn't friendly enough.
The new software I'm working on caused me to review a lot of the posts here since February 27 when I switched to the long-form blogging style, and most of my headlines and much of my copy is fairly irreverent. But that's what makes a blog interesting. This is a medium where the person shouting the loudest is most likely to be heard. So when I want to be heard, I say it directly and strongly. And in this case, I think I understated the danger of concentrating so much power in Feedburner, and its successor, Google.
And Fred, your title wasn't so friendly either. The problem isn't "Feedburner and Dave," the problem is "Feedburner and Google." It's a subtle technique. Deflect criticism by naming the critic. That's what the Feedburner guys did when I asked questions about them before they were acquired. All of a sudden it was a personal issue with me. Republicans do it, Democrats do it (not quite as well), and so does the tech press. So that's why we have blogs, imho, not so that we can make friends, rather so we can make truth.
I get itchy when I see would-be journalists praise people they write about. Same with bloggers. That makes me wonder who's paying whom for what? I'd rather hear from people who aren't being paid, and people who start out a piece saying nothing about how much they like someone. (Although I'm frequently guilty of this myself.)
Finally Fred is a New Yorker, as am I. Since when do manners come first? New York is a town for doing business, you get things done, say what you mean. This idea of never offending is very Californian, which may explain why I've had such trouble fitting in here.