Simple Syndicating?

So on Friday — I was also accused on the campus nag mailing list of “sing[ing] the happy praises of buzzwords following by long emails on how things should be.”

I wasn’t directly accused, but it was in reference to me, most recently posting about RSS and blogging, instead of what the author would like to see more of on the nag mailing list.

That’s okay, it comes with the territory of talking about emerging technology I guess.

I wrote Friday about our Engineering web meeting and talking about RSS feeds and mentioning that the web meeting briefly segued into a discussion about content and content review, the gist of the discussion being that most content needs some kind of review — unfortunately that got tied up with whether or not one publishes content via an RSS feed.

It’s somewhat interesting that the same day the “blogosphere” erupted into an indictment about some very harsh commentary, by Michael Gorman, president-elect of the American Library Association — who said, among other things:

“It turns out that the Blog People (or their subclass who are interested in computers and the glorification of information) have a fanatical belief in the transforming power of digitization and a consequent horror of, and contempt for, heretics who do not share that belief. … [The Blog People] read what they want to read rather than what is in front of them and judge me to be wrong on the basis of what they think rather than what I actually wrote. Given the quality of the writing in the blogs I have seen, I doubt that many of the Blog People are in the habit of sustained reading of complex texts. It is entirely possible that their intellectual needs are met by an accumulation of random facts and paragraphs.”

He’s also written previously:

“Unfortunately, if there are writers of genius, or talent, or even basic competence out there blogging, I have yet to find them. In the early heady days of the Internet, we were promised that, in the future, everyone could be published. Alas, that promise is being fulfilled, which should remind us all to be wary of what we wish for”

Fortunately, Gorman’s Librarian peers, especially Karen Schneider are talking back and taking Gorman to task.

(all via: Ed Cone, Scoble and numerous other outlets)

Gorman has an childish axe to grind, and he does it in an exceedingly insulting fashion. But I agree with part of what he says.

A good portion of weblog writing is bad writing. A whole lot of content needs review. My writing is at times atrocious, as my copy-editor girlfriend would gladly attest to. Content review should absolutely, positively, unequivocally be part of any publishing workflow — especially with news, marketing, and support information. (This “ewe” code being used to help get this very commentary on the web has a draft/moderation feature for sites with multiple authors).

But that shouldn’t stop one from publishing their content via RSS. If anything, that gets the content in front of even more editors. And like Karen Schneider said in her response — blogging (and RSS) provide “an immediacy and intimacy you can’t get from any other form of publication, and it has widened the information world so that information is increasingly a conversation.”

One of the core design features of the Internet is that there are not, and should not be single points of failure. When a router fails, the Internet traffic “routes around the damage”. That’s become allegorical for information publication, software, and other points where “control” interrupts the data flow. The internet (or one’s constituency) routes around the damage. Heck, I’ve seen it with myself when I’ve sat on something for too long, I get routed around.

Michael Gorman will be marked as damage, and the Internet, the American Libraries, etc. will route around him.

I don’t want that happening to NC State.