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Summary:

A wake-up call to the mass media, imploring them to get their terminology straight.

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

AppleInsider, PowerPage, and Think Secret are not blogs!

Surprised? You should be. After all, the approximately 4,826 mass-media stories that have covered the Apple lawsuits against these sites have all focused on the “Apple vs. bloggers” angle.

The what? Apple versus who? These sites aren’t blogs any more than C|net is a blog, or espn.go.com is a blog. Just because they publish exclusively on the Web doesn’t make them blogs. Just because they publish news doesn’t make them blogs.

TAB is a blog. MacInTouch might be considered a blog. MacMinute is definitely not a blog; it’s news. It’s Mac-related news, but it’s news, not a blog.

Anything that calls itself a blog is, as far as I’m concerned, a blog. But the converse also applies; if a site does not claim to be a blog, it isn’t a blog. The three sites in question have been around since before the über-trendy word “blog” — as a shortening of “Weblog” — ever existed. AppleInsider, PowerPage, and Think Secret are not blogs.

The mass media outlets have turned “blog” into a dirty word just as Republicans did with “liberal” in the 1980s, and it’s time for that to stop.

It’s no big secret that I despise the rumour sites. John Gruber has covered all the salient points in the “why rumour sites are bad” argument, and he’s right. The rumourmongerers are hurting Apple, primarily by building up expectations that can’t be met.

That’s no excuse for shoddy coverage by the mass media. AppleInsider, PowerPage, and Think Secret are not blogs, and by associating them with bloggers, the media are impugning the credibility of bloggers everywhere. “Blog” should not be a dirty word to be used in discrediting an opponent’s argument.

If the mass media needs a catchy epithet with which to attire unscrupulous wanna-be newshounds, well, what was so wrong with “rumourmonger”? It was good enough before the dot-bomb, and it’s good enough now.

  1. I think that you make a mistake. For me and for a lot of people, Think secret, Apple insider and other ARE Blog. What is your definition of blog. This website are organised like blogs, because THEY ARE blogs. They are organised by date, you can leave comments, you have RSS Feeds and all the functions which define a blog … How could you say and explain that Apple insider is not a blog ?

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  2. Thank You! I have been waiting for someone to speak up. I have been really annoyed with the media referring to those sites as blogs. As you said, Think Secret is as much of a blog as CNET. While Think Secret may not have the ‘credibility’ of other news sites but they are in no way a blog. A Blog is an online diary, which may contain facts, news or other minutia that is directly affecting someones life. A blog is a place to get your opinions out in the open or to let people you know (or don’t) what is going on in your life. Many people use the blogs as a way to express their opinions about different social topics, school, work or whatever.

    Pierre-wtf are you talking about? “They are organized by date” -therefore they are a blog? News is usually organized by the day on which it occurs.
    How does having an RSS feed make it a blog, every major news service has an RSS feed-Online version of the AP wire. Most news web sites allow you to post comments about articles, even the New York Times.

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  3. I agree. The first time I ever saw any of those sites referred to as blogs was in stories covering the lawsuit. It seemed odd to me imediately, I thought the people writing these articles were not familiar with mac sites. All of the sites predate the blog-thing, they added rss late in the game and still don’t have trackbacks. Just because the main feature of blogs is their date ordering doesn’t mean anything ordered by date is a blog. That is too generic, macintouch.com is 11 years old and uses that format, I don’t think it is a blog. Frankly blogs aren’t very unique, if you take away the name there is nothing to really distinguish them from any website. I think it suited the free press angle of the stories to call them blogs, which people associate with the-new-journalisim, hype is as hype does.

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  4. These are commercial websites. Period.

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  5. Very well said. I thought I was the only person who thought of that fact. I’m glad you have pointed this out.

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  6. I agree, as well. Although some sites might have blog elements (such as an archive, dates, and such), most of the aforementioned sites are commercial. Most blogs are people ranting about things or telling how truly boring their lives are. You gotta look at what the content is, not how it’s organized.

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  7. you are right, they are not blogs because they don’t have spirit of blogs, but I’not suprised by the articles published by journalists… it could be regarded as blogs because they are organised like blogs. You know that they are not blogs because you read it for a long time, but what would have you thought if it were the first time you came ?

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  8. I think a journalist with better credibility than those whose credibility he would off-handedly impugn would do some background research and use some common sense, and then realise that these sites aren’t blogs.

    But that’s just me.

    cl

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  9. I think that today a “blog” means more than some specific kind of site or content organization. I beleive, that in today’s social web structure, any blog could be called “news” site, and almost any news site can be called a “blog”. Its just a matter or perception of information delivery.

    On the other hand, all these media announcements that make bad name for a “blog” concept, are of course wrong, they connect a word “blog” with a “rumor” which has bad connotations for common folks.

    Cheer up, people. You’ll be much happier when most of web will be blogging, not “making news”.

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  10. Pierre – think before you draw parallels.

    I run a personal photos album powered by the open source Gallery engine. It technically meets all the criteria you mentioned. Organized by date? Check. Viewers are able to leave comments (and vote)? Check. There’s an RSS feed? Check.

    I really don’t think anyone would call my photo album a blog!

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