Jan 17, 2011, 8:32 AM EDT
This is not about baseball. It’s about blogging. Those of you not interested in the meta-stuff, feel free to stay on break a little while longer. We’ll call you back when we get back to work.
This post from Michael Arrington at TechCrunch is from last September, but it was just brought to my attention this morning. It’s about the way in which it’s quite easy for an experienced and savvy blogger to manipulate reader opinion, play to the crowd and all of that, often without the readers even realizing it. Arrington goes so far as to posit that “any blogger worth her salt could start, say, an extremely successful militant religious cult.” I think that’s putting it too strongly, but there’s a core point: a blogger can — either if he tries or if he’s merely careless — create a community of readers who think in lockstep, agree with whatever the blogger says and shouts down dissenting opinions as heresy. And for as nice as it is to have minions, this point should not be forgotten:
Remember this, though. When you’re reading something here that’s getting you really riled up, stop. It may be that you really should be thinking the exact opposite of what you are. And if you find yourself floating through a post agreeing with all the subtle pandering, wake up! And call us on it immediately.
I don’t know that any blog is immune to this phenomenon, this one included. I mean, I never write anything that isn’t truly my opinion — even at my most Swiftian moments I’m striving to make it clear that my tongue is placed firmly in my cheek — but I’m sure I’m not 100% successful at it. I probably frame issues in subtle ways such that a casual reader can be manipulated, even if it’s only for a moment. I’m sure I also do some lazy things on occasion, knowing on some level that, because I’ve got something of a track record, readers will let me skate from time to time.
But that’s not cool. And even if I’m not 100% successful in avoiding it, I certainly want to. I want the jokes and the tone and the vibe of this blog to build on itself over time, but anything I write should, at its core, stand alone on its own merits, or else it’s not successful.
I think you guys do a pretty good job at calling me out on my baloney, but I think I need to crack the mental whip on myself a bit more, and I can certainly stand you all doing it. Please, do it.
Anyway, just an observation I found interesting this morning. We now return you to your regular baseball programming.
- Source: Josh Hamilton rejected a trade to a National League team because he wanted to go back to Texas 1
- Deal done: Josh Hamilton traded to the Texas Rangers for cash considerations 19
- Pitchers batting is dumb and the DH should be universal 346
- And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights 81
- Alex Rodriguez hits 659th career home run, now one shy of tying Willie Mays 53
- Max Scherzer doubtful for next start due to thumb injury 5
- Protesters converge on Oriole Park at Camden Yards 149
- It sure sounds like Adam Wainwright suffered a torn Achilles tendon on Saturday night 44
- Pitchers batting is dumb and the DH should be universal (346)
- Comment of the Day: do not underestimate the seriousness of the anti-DH crowd (180)
- The early leaders in MLB’s “Franchise Four” thing have been announced (166)
- The Royals and White Sox had a benches-clearing fracas, five players ejected (161)
- Protesters converge on Oriole Park at Camden Yards (149)