As an early pioneer of the blogging landscape — blogging before anyone even called it blogging — I had developed rules about what constitutes a good one. Update daily. Say something intelligent. Engage with your readers. If you have nothing to say, to paraphrase Chrissie Hynde, seal your lips.
I read a lot of technology blogs thanks to my work — possibly too many. Years ago, when I began to eschew printed tech journals for various online sources, I had set up a series of book marks in a single folder that, for me, sampled all the relevant topics for my job as a Macintosh-based designer. For the most part, these blogs contained original content with occasional links to recommended sources.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen the advance of the blog that pretty much does little more than quote something else, and if we’re “lucky”, the author will wedge in a pithy quip somewhere. I will admit, I’ve taken to that practice of late, but I have John Gruber to thank for it. For those who don’t know, Gruber has become one of the leading bloggers on all-things-Apple, and for the most part his DaringFireball.net blog does exactly what I’ve described above. Quote, quip. Quote, quip. Quote, quip. And this practice for whatever reason has attracted enough viewers to make blogging his full time job.
Gruber has his detractors, but most of them cite him as an apologist for Apple. I like Apple as well, but I do think his comments, when he makes them, spring from an objective point of view. Typically, I agree that Apple gets a bad rap from its critics, most of whom are geeks who fondly remember the bad old days when technology was incomprehensible and unmarketable to the general public. If Apple has done anything, it has brought extremely powerful tech to the mainstream. Geeks hate that.
But having followed Daring Fireball for a few years now, I’ve concluded that there’s no there there. Occasionally, he writes a lengthy review of Apple’s latest product (sent to him by Apple), or reporting on an Apple event he went to (invited by Apple), but mostly we get quote, quip, quote, quip, and the quips can really grate. The too-cool-for-school attitude wears thin quickly, especially when sprinkled with his love for the Yankees and his muddled political views. (Shut up and play your guitar, John).
The emperor has no clothes and I have too many other choices for my info. I don’t need Gruber to edit my feed.