Monday, May 09, 2005

BusinessWeek responds to my complaints, unsurprisingly misses my point

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So, I got an email from Stephen Baker the other day, one of the two authors of BusinessWeek's new blog "Blogspotting," which I really ripped into here in an entry from last week. He was writing to tell me that they were addressing some of the complaints in an upcoming entry, including mine, and that he wanted to let me know about it. And I thought, "Boy, this is really great. Not only did a mainstream journalist happen to find this complaint from this unknown guy floating out there, and not only are they going to publicly address it, but he's written to tell me so that I won't miss it." And my opinion of BusinessWeek suddenly flew up a few notches.

But then I actually read the entry in question, which in a nutshell basically says, "We know some people are complaining about us, but look at all these readers we have who don't even know the first thing about blogs." Which, of course, completely misses the point of what I was complaining about in the first place. I happily acknowledge that there are tons upon tons of people out there who don't have the first idea of what blogs are, especially those who came to one for the first time because of reading a paper-based article in a conservative financial magazine. My point was that there are a number of ways the online arm of a traditional magazine can do this, including stupid and obvious ways, as well as smart and innovative ways that both gently explain the basics of blogging without making those of us who already know stuff roll our eyes in exasperation.

Think I'm an endless complainer? Actually want some examples of groups getting it right? Okay, here you go. Fast Company. Inc. Threadwatch. PSFK. Seth Godin. The Long Tail. Site-9. The Wall Street Journal's StartupJournal.com. Micro Persuasion. (Oh, Micro Persuasion!) NevOn. Gizmodo. The Harvard Business Review. All twelve of these online publications are very welcoming and friendly to tech-beginners, while still always trying to push the envelope and to deliver things that even their tech-savvy readers can enjoy. Like I said in my original entry, there are all kinds of small, complex things that come with why certain blogs get a lot more popular than others, and this is one of them - the challenge of addressing the multi-savvy nature of your audience simultaneously.

P.S. Note, by the way, that they don't actually link back to my original entry, like Mr. Baker said in his email they were going to do. Urmph.