17. November 2005 · Comments Off on An Inauspicious Beginning · Categories: General, Site News

Ann Althouse is blogging about the new OSM site:

Would you drink a fluid out of something that said “Bloggers Do It In Their Pajamas”? I think of bodily fluids. But no matter, now the bloggers can do it in their Open Source Media. Or as somebody already quipped: Open Sores Media. Swapping semen for pus, bodily fluids-wise.

I don’t find that particularly clever (or original, it seems), but I disagree with Charles Johnson, who feels that it is particularly tasteless. A quick scan of the almost 400 comments to his post reveals quite a few which are truly tasteless. But whatever; I’ve always maintained that good taste was something best rendered by fine food and drink, not good blogging.

But I have to agree with Ann on some of her other criticisms as well. I find it quite curious that our first featured post would be a fictional “live-blogging” (by Jeff Goldstein of Protein Wisdom) of the New York roll-out – especially since it isn’t really that great a post. And the Gaza border deal (“Compiled by OSM Staff in Barcelona”) story isn’t very well written. Some clumsy prose in a blog post can be forgiven, but feature articles should have more polish.

There are some other things I’m pretty unimpressed with: The Blogjam debate premised “WHY WE FIGHT: Is Washington really growing more partisan day by day?” between illustrious bloggers Austin Bay, Brad Friedman, Max Sawicky, and Sgt. Mom (who some of you might be familiar with 🙂 ) wasn’t very enlightening (sorry dear).

What particularly caught my attention was that no-one challenged lefty Max Sawicky’s (MaxSpeak) initial assertion that “[I]t prevents important things from getting done.” Most of what I’m sure he sees as “important things” is just mischief – as most of what government does these days is. As such, political gridlock is a good thing.

And then I have numerous nit-picks. For instance: what is Michelle Malkin’s logo doing just floating around out there on the homepage, with no link even attached to it? She’s a contributor, not an advertiser. Strange. (Update: Now it’s been replaced with “Kudlow’s Money Politics”)

Anyway, while it would have been nice to see something a bit more impressive while all eyes are upon us, I remain philosophical, and hopeful: It’s common for start-up operations to have some kinks that require ironing out.

Update: Jon Henke at QandO Blog and James Joyner at Outside the Beltway have roundups of the mixed reactions, both inside and outside of the OSM organization, to the roll-out, as well as the site itself. And John Burke at The Editor’s Weblog is highly skeptical:

Despite the fact that bloggers and mainstream media are under one roof on the site, as of now there is no synergy between the two. To make OSM a successful project, the news stories it cites should be linked to the bloggers that comment on the same subject, thus creating an easily navigable package that combines the original reporting with blogger opinion.

The problem with this is that this has already been done to some extent. GoogleNews and YahooNews combine mainstream media stories with blogs on their aggregators so that the reader knows which blogs are commenting on the news. With the present OSM model, readers would have to search out for themselves the blogs with the commentary they’re looking for.

An additional feature on OSM is a “Blogjam“, essentially a debate between a few of the bloggers on the OSM blogs list. It starts off with each quickly stating (typing) their opinion on the matter in question and then they defend their position with subsequent postings.

The idea has potential and the underlying point is that now, with new media, anyone’s voice can be heard. But it’s like a radio or television talk show debate, except not as interesting. You actually have to read what they think and the postings aren’t necessarily in order; you sometimes have to scroll down the page to see what one blogger said about what another had said four or five postings previous.

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