dan tynan on Feb 03 2008
As if the world needed one. Yet here this is. And the question that’s forming inside your brain is, Why?
One reason is purely personal: I wanted a place to collect all the various bits of writing I do for the half dozen magazines and web sites I work for on a regular basis. Think of it as one-stop shopping for all your Tynan needs.
Another: I needed a place to write about stuff that doesn’t always make it into those magazines and web sites. I get a lot of product, some good, mostly bad. And here’s one of the ugly little secrets that you won’t generally find in those magazines, sites, tech blogs etc: Most products suck in some way, and some suck all the way. I rarely encounter a product that actually works as it’s supposed to without a lot of fiddling. But most mags, sites, etc would rather not waste space talking about products that suck. (There are several reasons for this, which will be fodder for a future post.)
Here’s the third, bigger reason: Most tech blogs suck. (There’s a lot of sucking going on in this post, isn’t there?) Sure, there are those I rely on for research and staying on top of things – and I will be citing them in T.O.T. But the vast majority do no original reporting whatsoever; they simply piggyback on the work of paid journalists (like yours truly) to draw traffic. They’re repeaters, not reporters.
I’m not complaining, since these blogs often help drive traffic to the stories I’ve written, which makes my editors want to give me more assignments, which helps us pay our bills, which makes my wife happy. And anybody who can make my wife happy is OK by me. But they’re not much worth reading. Even those that venture beyond mere repeating and into opinionizing are usually woefully under-informed.
Meanwhile, many that appear to do original reporting often just repackage information gleaned from press releases or other sites. All the major gadget blogs fall prey to this at some point, due to the pressure to keep the blog posts coming. But to the untrained eye many of these posts read as endorsements. One of my goals is to write only about products I have personally tried — or if not, to make that point absolutely clear.
The other thing I’m vowing to do is pull no punches. If something sucks, I will say why I think it sucks. Hopefully, people will read this blog and offer their own opinions as to why it does or doesn’t suck, and we’ll have that magical Web 2.0 “conversation” everybody likes to talk about.
Yes, I guess this is my mission statement. Time will tell whether I remain true to it. And if not… I’ll just go back and rewrite it to fit the facts. Hey, I’m a journalist. That’s what I do.