There was once a time when ‘web 2.0′ was a byword for innovation on the web, and if you wanted to know what was happening in the web 2.0 world there were few better places to start than Mashable. Those days are now long gone: web 2.0 is stale, and Mashable seems to be bulking out with an increasing number of fillers. Today I took Mashable out of my RSS feedreader.
Both Mashable and web 2.0 are victims of their own success. When social software was the preserve of the digerati it was an innovative environment; when the digerati’s parents joined it’s focus moved to becoming a stable environment. As Mashable gained a wider readership it gained a less discerning readership, happily chomping down whatever stories Mashable fed them.
As I fist started complaining about the slipping standards of Mashable for over a year ago, what was the straw that broke the camel’s back today? “50 Majestic MySpace Music Layouts“.
Personally I am a fan of all stories that make the Finns look silly; a justifiable penance for the creation of the Moomins. Last week Mashable reported that the Copyright Information and Anti-piracy Centre had disconnected a Finnish government office for downloading music illegally. I love the idea of disconnecting people who illegally share files, although the problem will always be with those who are downloading on someoneelse’s network. Is this story true? It sounds unlikely, and I could only find a reference to it on Mashable, and TorrentFreak (who they reference) on Google News. Nonetheless it provides the opportunity to have a little rant about the constant mentioning of 1984: the book’s cover accompanies this particular Mashable ‘article’, and it is also mentioned on a previous Mashable article the author references.
Reading the blogospere it often seems that the only book anyone has ever read is 1984. Whilst I am a fan of Orwell’s work, I don’t necessarily think that every occasion any level of surveillance is mentioned it is necessary to compare such surveillance with Orwell’s dystopian vision. Surely there is some Godwin’s law equivalent for the invocation of 1984 whenever a government tries to restrict a technophile’s unfettered use of a technology.
It was only a couple of weeks ago that I last questioned the slipping standards of Mashable, and I find I am doing it once again. Ironically regarding an article defending the so-called citizen journalists. Professional journalists have been calling into question the quality of so-called citizen journalism, the article responds by insulting the traditionalist’s looks and stating she has ‘senile dementia’.
I am constantly amazed by the arrogance of the blogosphere, willing to point out the speck in their enemy’s eye whilst ignoring the plank in their own. Little of what appears in the blogosphere equates to our traditional idea of what journalists do, instead most stories rely on information collected by the mainstream media (Tech sites are often a notable exception). Also editorial standards are extremely low, as exhibited in posts that merely insult individuals on unrelated factors such as looks. Rather than bitching the bloggers should take some of the criticism on board and work out how they can improve.
There are advantages of mainstream media, and advantages of the blogosphere, but we are mistaken if we believe they are in the same game.
I have subscribed to the Mashable feed for quite a while now, but lately I feel as though there has been a downturn in the quality of the posts. Surely today’s “Kevin Rose: Mobile Web is the Next Big Thing” is a particularly low point. If someone had said that mobile web would be the next big thing in the pre-WAP days it would have been a novel proposition worthy of note, but now?
The mobile web has finally reached user’s expectations, and as such it seems a bit late to describe it as the ‘next big thing’. My hope for the mobile web is that there will be a new group of innovators that will be wise enough to ignore their own press. The factor that differentiates between the most successful and the rest of us is less to do with ability and more to do with, for want of a better term, luck.
I have never particularly been a fan of absolute freedom of speech, I believe that too often such a policy provides a platform for the more disgusting elements of society (Oxford Union hang your head in shame) and we need to impose certain limitations. Whilst most people would agree with certain limitations, for these limitations to be acceptable they have to be the limitations we impose.
Few complain about the deletion of hardcore pornography or racist hate speeches from YouTube, and any who do defend such rights are idiots, but these values are based on what is acceptable behaviour in the West. Other cultures have different values and ideas of acceptable behaviour, most more conservative, but some potentially more liberal. Is it any more acceptable for us impose our values, than for a more liberal society to impose their values on us?
Mashable draws attention to the ‘hypocritical’ YouTube censorship in Taiwan, but when we accept such censorship in the West we should be careful about who we call hypocritical.