Monday, February 14, 2011

Lots of Screaming Going on Around HuffPoLand

Published: Personally 2011.02.14

An Internet Radio Guy, Rick Smith (Link), reached out to me last week. He wanted to know my take on the HuffPo / AOL Merger. He reached out as I was at a basketball game - so I didn't make the show. But I did start to think about it, and what I am seeing other places on the web.

Arianna Huffington merged with AOL.

Good for her.

Arianna Huffington developed a focal point on the web - a left leaning focal point. Part of the mix was the bloggers and posters who made it a different place on the web. She cashed out. She made her money on the venture. That is the way it works. It is a business deal.

I have been here since August of 2009. I got really lucky to get a slot here. I have seen a lot over this time period.

I can only imagine Ms. Huffington may have gotten tired of the whining. She's hiring more and more moderators who were going through comment after comment. Before they reorganized a few months ago, I used to help out occasionally with the moderation when things got nuts. Some of the stuff that didn't get through was downright nasty and abusive and corrosive.

Posters were whining about the moderators.

She puts in a state of the art language filter to take the load off the moderators- more whining.

HuffPo tried different stuff to grow.

They added badges - whining.

They would add community moderators - whining.

It seemed no matter what was going on - whining.

We hear the sale is announced and guess what -whining - this time from the blogger class who feel they are somehow ripped off.

If I were Ms. Huffington (I have never had the pleasure of meeting her), I would think of this sale as a $300,000,000 bottle of aspirin. I'd be throwing my hands up saying these folks will never be satiated. (Robert Gibbs, anyone?)

Posters and bloggers who write (or wrote) for Huffington Post must realize what they are (or were) doing is driving eyeballs to this focal point. This was a team effort. It worked. Think of this site as the 800 pound gorilla.

I think some of these bloggers lost sight of something. What do you want to do and why are you doing it? It is a question that needs to be constantly asked of yourself and recalibrated with each environmental change and each post and posting entry. If you want to get paid - guess what - you need to figure another way to solve that puzzle. (I am still working on that one.)

If you want an outlet that can challenges the Right Wing web sites, look at what you are writing and why. Your sweat equity is the activism you seek. You cannot change the world the same way if you have a hand out asking for a payday. (It doesn't seem to be the way the Left works.)

Over the last week or so I read a lot of hand-wringing and sky-is-falling stuff. I would see pieces from other people who posted or blogged here ripping this site. You know what - if you had a slot here you sat at important crossroads of the internet. If you think what you are saying is that important that others will follow you - create your own site - become your own Arianna. No one is stopping you but yourself.

This is a business. It has a business model. Bloggers don't get paid. Those are the rules. Live with it. (When there is a site where the bloggers get paid, I would love to come and compete for a slot there. I know how to open a can of Chester, PA on somebody.)

As for me, I look at it as an honor and a privilege to have my name associated with THE Huffington Post. It has given me an outlet, and a resume as a writer. I am learning this writing stuff by the Helen Keller method of walking into walls and sticking my hands on hot waffle irons. I know my stuff has started to get out there. That is part of paying your dues. If I did get a paying gig with this somewhere, I wouldn't have an issue reposting stuff here after the fact - or writing specific stuff for this outlet. There is something to be said for being loyal to people that cut you a break.

As for the posters and bloggers who whine about this, guess what - you still have a forum here. Act like adults. I hear enough complaints that the other side doesn't act like adults.

The Left got its' fanny kicked in the last election. Stop with the circular firing squad and get your collective act together. The Right Wing in 2009 kept their feet moving.

It is a downward spiral that some of the folks are engaged in: complain by writing nasty things, it gets deleted by moderation, complain about the moderation, that stays up, other posters see this is garbage, and they move on to other sites. Repeat this cycle enough, no one remains.

What was a vibrant site with a left viewpoint becomes whined out of existence.

There is something to be said for being loyal to people that cut you a break. I think at lot of people owe some appreciation to Ms. Huffington.

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