Feeds

For ambulance-chasing bloggers, tragedy equals opportunity

Rush of blood to the Wiki

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

No human disaster these days is complete without two things, both of which can be guaranteed to surface within 24 hours of the event.

First, virus writers will release a topical new piece of malware. And then weblog evangelists proclaim how terrific the catastrophe is for the internet. It doesn't seem to matter how high the bodies are piled - neither party can be deterred from its task.

For the technology evangelists, the glee is barely containable. The daily business of congratulating each other jumps to a whole new level with all the bloggers marveling in unison at their ability to detail real-time tragedy.

December's tsunami, which left over 100,000 dead in Asia, rapidly became an excuse to trumpet the superiority of those using this new technology. Although far more people read first hand reports from friends via email, it was the weblog evangelists who touted it as a breakthrough.

London's terror bombings left over 50 dead yesterday, but that was beside the point. The real significance of the attacks, burbled one blogger, "is yet another exemplary case study in using this electric medium as both a means and a space in which to communicate". Digging deep into her contacts book for an impartial expert, a reporter for The Guardian got as far as a colleague.

"Blogs excel as an arena for people to exchange first-hand experiences and many witnesses to the events in London told their tales online while bloggers from around the globe sent messages of support and condolences," we learned.

It's almost beyond belief that for some technology evangelists, the health of a society can be measured by the fact that the routers are humming and the packets are flying.

If Garry Trudeau is right, the media's fascination with computer networks is almost over, and the message may start to be valued more than the medium. Yesterday, several veteran writers who use the weblog format urged others to put the event into perspective.

"Now is not the time to point to a ‘wiki’ setup to collect information about the bombs in London, and smugly say how much better it is at covering the news than the New York Times," wrote Shelley Powers. "Now is not the time to bring up the incriminations of why this happened and use it as fodder and ammunition in this stupid oneupmanship that characterizes too many of the popular web sites.

"Don’t use this event to promote weblogging."

Seth Finkelstein called it for what it is: "ambulance chasing".

So who's more tasteless, the VXers or the technology evangelists? Both represent extremes of cynicism, but in one way, it's the latter. Just as some people find that they can sit impassively through TV coverage of human carnage, only to be moved by an image of an injured pet, others only see a human tragedy when it's validated by a computer network. ®

Related stories

One blogger is worth ten voters - Harvard Man
VXers release 'London bombing' Trojan
VXers hit new low with tsunami-themed worm
Google's No-Google tag blesses the Balkanized web
The Thudpucker Proxy
Patriotic bloggers finish Segway across America trek
After blog experiment, Illinois village 'vanishes'
Segways banned from happiest place on Earth
Howard Dean's Net architect blasts emergent punditocracy
Blog noise is life or death for Google

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more
Oh yeah ... and a 30% cut for Amazon to seal the deal
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Nintend-OH NO! Sorry, Mario – your profits are in another castle
Red-hatted mascot, red-colored logo, red-stained finance books
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.