About Forbes :: Fear Mongering :: Old Story, Oft-Repeated

Meet fear-monger Daniel Lyons. Depth is not a characteristic one will expect in his next story. Why? His most recent one for Forbes was so “wading pool” in depth. Daniel apparently doesn’t know not to dive in the shallow end.

Daniel Lyon’s article? a lack of depth
…chicken little?…

I didn’t write about this when it first came out. The reason? I wrote about it a year ago. Not surprising that someone like Lyons has inevitably come along. And, he won’t be the last.

November 14, 2004, I wrote about how fear has started to emerge about blogs. I, however, did not take the rather unfortunate over-the-top style of Lyons.

There was quite a dust up. Lyons was particularly pounded by “blog believers” strung out on koolaid.

In the November 14, 2005 issue of Forbes, Daniel Lyons goes tabloid (sensational) with his lead:

Attack of the Blogs: Web logs are the prized platform of an online lynch mob spouting liberty but spewing lies, libel and invective. Their potent allies in this pursuit include Google and Yahoo.

Meet Daniel “Chicken Little” Lyons, according to Tom Murphy – No honestly the sky is falling down Foxey Loxey…..

Foxey Loxey: This is the Voice of Doom speaking! Special bulletin! Flash! The sky is falling! *

Although over the top, Lyons’ article does make some good points. That is the sad part. He could have done a service by alerting business people to ‘some’ concerns about blogs. Now, his tactics are the story. Not the realistic concerns he raises. Lyons chose to bury the line (near the end) about how his article only refers to a small, small sliver of the blogging world. A splinter, if you will. We all know how aggravating it is to get a splinter in our finger, right?

Blogs are something that all companies/corporations should be tracking. Definitely tracking. Some might even benefit from participating through actively commenting – or, starting a blog of their own. But, not all will benefit. Many may suffer if they do not pay attention, though. However, Lyons – like so many ‘journalists’ today – wanted to try and capitalize on fear. So, he goes over the top.

This over the top style isn’t really new, now is it? Dee Rambeau calls our attention to a Peggy Noonan article that warns against doomsday, nay-sayer “raise the heat of the dialog” tactics in order to break through the clutter. The frequency of that practice will likely only get worse. Lyons is just piling on. “Pile” being the operative word according to the koolaid sipping blog believers.

Think about it. One new blog every second? and the number of blogs doubling every five months? The clutter is increasing – almost – exponentially.

Richard Edelman also takes up the argument for a more reasoned and rational view of blogs. He rightly soaks the ammunition Lyons used to try and make his case.

Interesting, Edelman does use one unfortunate example of his own. He cites the case of “Eason Jordan, a former senior executive at CNN, who resigned in February, 2005, after a blogger at the World Economic Forum reported Jordan’s allegation that journalists had been “targeted” by American forces in Iraq.” Then, Edelman remarks that “(I) can confirm that the blogger’s account was accurate, though I must also say that the ground rules for the panel were clear–all comments were to be off the record.”

Well, that’s the problem. There aren’t any rules any more. At least, there are not any rules that you can expect everyone (citizen journalists) to follow en masse. Anyone that truly believes “off the record” means anything anymore – at least in a world with blogs – is clinging to a fantasy. And, there isn’t any reason to fear that, if you are aware.

Think of public speaking. Stage fright stems from not knowing the potential outcome of the effort. So, what do you do? Arm yourself. Practice. Prepare. Prepare some more. Then, you will at least be armed and ready. That’s what Lyons should have been writing about. Learning about blogs. Not fearing them.