Thursday, February 23, 2006

Daniel Lyons

You may wonder why I used a random name in the title of this blog post. This name is not so random however. Daniel Lyons happens to be the name of a reporter for Forbes magazine. So then why still did I put his name in the title? Because Mr. Lyons seems like the type of guy who googles his own name on a daily basis so he can read stuff about himself. You see Mr. Lyons isn't a fan of blogs. He's so not a fan that he doesn't even bother to research what the etymology of the term blog is. Here's a helping hand to Mr. Lyons, it's not Web Log, the correct term is weblog as pointed out by the esteemed Mr. Kottke.

Mr. Lyons writes in his article (Forbes November 14th 2005 issue) that blogs are bloodthirsty, vitriolic lynchmobs only out to destroy small businesses.

"Web logs [sic] are the prized platform of an online lynch mob spouting liberty but spewing lies, libel and invective. Their potent allies in this pursuite include Google and Yahoo." (p. 129)

I think this is an unfair assertion on Mr. Lyons part. First off I've only ever used my blog to destroy one business but come on, the stab-o-matic was a dangerous product and the company should have known better than to market it to kids 2+. Funny? Perhaps, but my point is that just because some bloggers are only preoccupied with so-called flame wars, we are not all that way. It would be like me saying that all Forbes magazine reporters don't fact check (see Web Log).

Mr. Lyons argues that bloggers aren't held accountable by anyone. Now I've touched on this before but I feel the need to go further on this point. This is just ridiculous in the age of Heather Armstrong (, Melissa Lafsky (, Jessica Cutler (the Washingtonienne) and even the Waiter ( Dooce, Opinionistas and Washingtonienne all caused the loss of these womens jobs. Waiter blogs anonymously so that he doesn't (1) insult anyone and (2) lose his job.

Mr. Lyons also argues (as seen in that paragraph quote) that Yahoo and Google are complicit in this horrible online hate speech. Let me refer Mr. Lyons to a document he himself should, but apparently isn't, aware of. I'm a big fan of this document, I spent some time working on behalf of this document and I read it on a regular basis. This will sound cliched, but it's important to note, that there is such a thing as the Constitution and in this "Constitution" is something called the First Amendment. Let me quote that for you here just in case you don't have it handy:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the rights of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
(Amendment I)

I'm not coming out and saying that I am a member of the press, I am however coming out and saying that I am a person who is protected from having my freedom of speech abridged. That is why Google, whose motto is "Don't be evil" can be seen as complicit. Google understands that while they offer a service for us to post to a blog, they do not have the right to censor what we choose to write about.

I'd like to end by saying 3 things. First, I hold no ill will towards Mr. Lyons because of number two. Second, he's obviously making broad generalizations based upon individual examples, in an effort to hide his lack of research on this topic. Third, I am terribly, horribly sorry for this incredibly long post.


Anonymous Amogh said...

God, why is this so long? I could only make it halfway through.... I have no idea how this ends....

9:55 AM, February 24, 2006  

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