Maybe that headline is a little strong, but it seems like that’s what this Advertising Age article is really saying. I suppose I should have seen it coming – last week, when I was looking for possible pictures to go with my blogging is good for your health post, most of the images attached to keyword blogging were negative.
What the hell happened to the blogger as media-cultural hero? In Gould’s case, it didn’t help that during her tenure at Gawker, she was known for being ultra-snarky, so there’s an obvious bit of turnabout-is-fair-play-ism at work here. Of course, anybody who read Vanessa Grigoriadis’ New York magazine deconstruction of the bloggy “culture of bile” last fall knows that Gould is just a bit player in a larger drama. In March, Michael Arrington, of TechCrunch fame — in the wake of the suicide of advertising exec Paul Tilley, who many indelicately speculated had been distraught about attacks he’d endured from ad-industry blogs — wrote a post titled “When Will We Have Our First Valleywag Suicide?” about Gawker Media’s Silicon Valley blog and the distress it causes in its often blindsided subjects. And then Ricky Van Veen, the editor in chief of College Humor, writing on his thoughtful (generally noncomedic) personal blog, speculated that Gawker Media’s cruelest bloggers could be, yes, murder victims if one of their more thin-skinned targets snapped.
As for the notion of the self-actualized, non-wage-slave blogger? That’s turned out to be, for many semi-famous bloggers, complete bullshit. Never mind all the hype about the select few blog stars, mostly in the tech realm, who are actually getting rich doing what they’re doing; they’ve invariably fashioned unhealthy, obsessive-compulsive-disordered lifestyles for themselves way worse than anything any old-media slave drivers ever concocted. (See: GigaOm blogger Om Malik, heart attack victim at 41.)
Good thing I don’t care about who reads my blog, or else I might actually be concerned. Besides, the blogosphere is much like the real world — only a select few actually make it into the big time, thanks to good looks, expertise or plain old hard work (make that obsessively compulsive hard work), and in Arianna Huffington’s case, good connections, while most blog in obscurity. But media darlings? Seriously?
I think not.