Professionals are Professionals
By Michael Mulvey on March 26, 2008 9:39 AM
So I've been thinking about this Newsweek article, Revenge of the Experts, and some of the more solid responses to this article like The Experts vs. the Amateurs: A Tug of War over the Future of Media and Crowdsourcing vs Expertsourcing: A Misleading Comparison
Here's a great piece of the Newsweek article:
In short, the expert is back. The revival comes amid mounting demand for a more reliable, bankable Web. "People are beginning to recognize that the world is too dangerous a place for faulty information," says Charlotte Beal, a consumer strategist for the Minneapolis-based research firm Iconoculture. Beal adds that choice fatigue and fear of bad advice are creating a "perfect storm of demand for expert information."
I'm not going to reiterate the articles I noted above (I just found more at BuzzFeed)
My response to this article is quite simple. In life, a small handful of people rise to the top in their selected fields. They rise to the top because a few key ingredients:
a) they're driven
b) they're talented
c) they have the right connections
d) any combination of the above
This equation applies to the world of blogging and online journalism as much as it does any other 'professional' field. Some people like to dismiss blogging because it has an amateur connotation associated with it. Fuck these people.
I read Daring Fireball daily. Jon Gruber is an excellent writer ...and researcher ...and thinker. I don't distinguish him as any less professional than any of the news sources his routinely tears down even though it would be easy to regard him as just a blogger.
Ironically, he routinely points out all the inaccuracies and fallacies in the "real journalists'" articles (for a taste of his asshole-ripping, check out, How Leander Kahney Got Everything Wrong by Being an Irredeemable Jackass).
Robert Scoble is another great example. Even before he was associated with FastCompany he was a popular blogger. He personally drives me nuts and his head is waaaaay too big, but it's very, very evident why he is where he is today - drive. Dismiss him as a jackass all you want, but he loves what he does (and he loves himself). Ego has a lot to do with where you end up in life.
So if we look at the Newsweek article in a different light, "Revenge of the Experts" is a correct title. In the early days there were a lot of poor blogs, but as blogging has matured, the professionals have risen to the surface - whether or not they're associated with a professional publication or not.
The premise of the article is still very incorrect - as some of the other articles I mentioned above also note. User-generated content is not out and many of the examples the article gives as 'professional' examples