Stuff Tech Blogs Do That Bother Me

[cross posted from Riparian Data]

Credit: Business InsiderSome people thought Gourmet’s demise was a nail in good journalism’s coffin. Others said no, it’s just another sign that the web is the future of journalism, good and bad. Today, the consensus seems to be that the latter group was right. And, happily, there is quite a bit of good journalism on the web. Short form, long form, data-based, image-based, crowd-sourced… all can be found, relished, and easily shared.

Unhappily, there is also quite a bit of drecky journalism on the web. I can’t tell you if technology really does take up a lion’s share of drecky journalism in general, or just a lion’s share of the drecky journalism I read. Regardless, there’s an awful lot of it, fueled by both the traffic-winner-takes-all maxim and tech companies’ willingness to stroke the egos of tech reporters in exchange for headlines. The following 12 tics are the icing on my insufferable cake. If you have any of your own, or just want to tell me to shove it and stop reading these sites if I despise them so much, feel free to let me know in the comments!

1. Slideshows. Especially slideshows that are one image/page. If gddamn Buzzfeed doesn’t use them, you don’t have to.

2. Attributions listed below the post. This is shady and shoddy journalism, for it at best de-emphasizes and worse obfuscates the source. (1)

3. Headlines that are two sentences of keywords, strung together with a minimum of prepositions.

4. Headlines that follow this formula: [adjective] data startup [startup name] lands/gets $[number] Million in Series A/B/C to disrupt [noble cause like social network for cats] market.

5. Headlines that follow this formula: “I’m quitting/Why I quit [currently cusping or widely-used technology]”

6. Headlines that start with “Why.” Especially headlines that start with “Why you should…”

7. Interstitial ads. These days, very few advertisers use the PPC model, so the “click on stupid page-encompassing ad for computer-cleaning software, then immediately leave computer-cleaning-software site” behavior doesn’t make blogs any money.

8. Posts that purport to report on a new app/software/platform etc but actually offer no information beyond what can already be found on the app’s press release or website.

9. Posts about a new app that make it pretty clear the writer hasn’t tried the app. Sort of an addendum to 7, but needs to be said.

10. Posts that think any words that come out of a successful VC’s mouth are gospel, and must be printed as such.

11. Lemming-like worship of Marissa Mayer. She’s smart, she made some excellent UI decisions at Google, and she hasn’t done much at Yahoo! beyond buying Stamp and giving the employees she hasn’t cut iPhones.

12. Posts whose (conscious or subconscious) purpose is to humblebrag. Steve Jobs is such a peach for engaging in an email battle with lil’ ol me. I’m going to reward his democratic attitude by publishing our correspondence!

13. Posts about features that could possibly be on the next iThing.

1. Unless you were one of those people who actually relished flipping through 970 pages of Infinite Jest to get to the endnotes.

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One thought on “Stuff Tech Blogs Do That Bother Me”

  1. I enjoyed your article. Yes there are many things in Journalism both web-based and paper based need to be improved on. Journalism is often very one-sided and often lacking in research and integrity. There is much in effect they need to improve on before they post their next latest, greatest blog.

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