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Monday, November 21, 2005
Why the OSM Matters
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 11:57 am

Why all the critiques of OSM over the last week? Is it, as LaShawn Barber suggests, simply envy? I won’t wholly discount that some have been coming at the issue from that perspective, but this really isn’t the issue. One of the more prominent bloggers who have commented heavily on the enterprise has been Ann Althouse, who has a very successful blog in terms of traffic and exposure, so it is rather ridiculous to suggest she is motivated by envy.

Now, I have not read every shred of criticisms that have flown through the ‘sphere, and again, I have no doubt that some of the criticisms have been crass and based on jealousy.

First off: bloggers are critical by nature.. This is largely what we do—think aloud about stuff, and we are likely to be especially critical about something going in the blogging world. I don’t that that has anything whatsoever to do with envy, and everything to do with the nature of the beast.

Why the criticisms?

There is a list of legitimate issues that jump out:

  • The lack of obvious purpose is the main problem. What are they? a newswire? a portal? an advertising consortium? More importantly: do they know?
  • The main page is simply unimpressive.
  • The Xinhua News Agency? You have got to be kidding me (also here).
  • The name thing simply bespeaks of poor planning. Slashdot notes the story here. Harshly Mellow has an extensive post on that issue as well.
  • The whole seems to lack an orginal presentation of blogs to a wider audience, which always seemed to me to be an essential part of the entire idea.

In short: there is a lot to consider and discuss without being petty or just criticizing for criticism’s sake. Indeed, as I noted yesterday, there are members of the OSM editorial board who have similar concerns. Further, contrbutor Laurence Simon has a list of issues he thinks should be addressed.

None of this has anything to do with envy or with being critical just to be critical.

More importantly: why does all this matter? Bryan of AWS notes something that I was thinking about but hadn’t already written about:

as the first major funded cross-blog initiative to come down the pike, OSM is a huge part of blogospheric history, whether we want it to be or not. If it fails, it will be a failure that will haunt the blogosphere

So, as a major event involving bloggers (and, indeed, some key bloggers) OSM has implications worthy of Blogospheric consideration. Looking at the degree to which it is actually is reflective of the blogging enterprise is a worthy consideration, and in general I have been unimpressive by its ability in this regard.

The degree to which OSM’s roll-out and main page can be easily criticized makes it easier for the MSM or other non-bloggers to dismiss the entire blogging enterprise as nothing but a bunch of amatures and hacks. As such, there is shared interest in how this will go.

Dan at the Riehl World comments on the envy issue as well.

Some others commenting:

  • Richard Hall of connexions.
  • Wonkette.
  • Jeff Jarvis (who makes a list of good suggestions).
  • Armed Liberal, who was part of the early days of PJM/OSM comments and notes, as I do above, that the OSM venture ultimately reflects on the Blogosphere.
  • Cardinal Martini comments on Dennis the Peasant and the whole OSM Kerfuffle.
  • Never Yet Melted has links to various OSM stories.
  • And here’s Dennis’ latest.
  • Fontanta Labs at Unfogged has an amusing post on the subject.

I suspect that the “commenting” is far from finished.

Update: Part of today’s Traffic Jam.

Filed under: Blogging | |Send TrackBack

California Conservative linked with PajamaGate: OSM vs MSM — Will The Blogosphere Go Corporate?
Searchlight Crusade linked with Links and Minifeatures 11 21 Monday (Late)
Politechnical » Herding Cats into a Quagmire linked with [...] ogged down in a quagmire. Already there are predictions of disaster. Does OSM’s fate affect the blogosphere? What about the clicque-ishness? To me, that’s a built-in fact of blogging- and [...]


  1. Good summary.

    I would like to see them succeed (assuming that Dennist the Peasant is exaggerating in his woes of involvement in the initial birth of the enterprise, otherwise the founders have a bit of a problem with what I regard as ethical and moral behavior). My issue is with how little communication there was with the 230+ bloggers who signed the non-disclosure/non-compete contract but who didn’t “make the cut” of the 70 that are included in OSM.

    At the least it is bad public relations, especially among the target audience, but it also speaks of a lack of understanding of the bigger picture.

    For OSM to succeed, those runnning it need to understand that their audience and their contributors/workers are the same. This is rare (if not unique) in business. Typically the vast majority of readers for any blog are bloggers themselves. Unless OSM has plans to package the content to appeal to non-bloggers, and then find a way to publicize the site outside of the blogging community, they MUST understand their target market of bloggers. Alienating that target market by the manner in which the Pajamas Media sign-up was handled indicates a complete lack of comprehension.

    Comment by Jack — Monday, November 21, 2005 @ 12:11 pm

  2. […] ogged down in a quagmire. Already there are predictions of disaster. Does OSM’s fate affect the blogosphere? What about the clicque-ishness? To me, that’s a built-in fact of blogging- and […]

    Pingback by Politechnical » Herding Cats into a Quagmire — Monday, November 21, 2005 @ 9:11 pm

  3. Links and Minifeatures 11 21 Monday (Late)

    I’ve been wondering when this shoe would drop: GM Job Cuts Fail to Assuage Investors

    Trackback by Searchlight Crusade — Tuesday, November 22, 2005 @ 1:12 am

  4. PajamaGate: OSM vs MSM — Will The Blogosphere Go Corporate?

    We’ve always wanted to use “gate” in something.
    This morning, Glenn “Instapundit” Reynolds cheerfully reports: GET IT RIGHT THE SECOND TIME: OSM is going back to “Pajamas Media.”
    “About time: I liked …

    Trackback by California Conservative — Tuesday, November 22, 2005 @ 1:00 pm

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