Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Do You Trust Bloggers? Can You Trust Bloggers?

Last night, around 11, when normal working people go to bed. I was going through one final browsing of the hockey Twitter community. It seems like every website is on there, including official teams, bloggers (both of the bantam [us] and heavyweight [Mirtle] classes), and hell even some players. But this caught my eye.
Wyshynksi Here's something to ponder: HNIC asked the bloggers they invited on their playoff preview show if bloggers can be trusted.
This got me thinking, not any sort of epiphany or anything like that, just the whole lying in-bed-since-I-can't-sleep-and-this-will-give-me-something-to-write-about-tomorrow kinda thinking.

So essentially can Bloggers be trusted? I suppose yes and no. This Secondary Media phenomenom known as blogging, creates "unique" niche areas of readerships, covering regional fandom, that I think can be categorized pretty easily.

There's the Unabashedly-Biased-and-We-Don't-Care-If-You-Don't-Like-It type sites. These are all over. Photoshops of any and all varities, topics, and targets. Shameless defense of even the most egregious elbow to the head, fist to the grundel, or any other offense. It's the world against their team, and they revel in it. Can these bloggers be trusted? Well sure, as long as they write about your team. Otherwise, it's tough to even type in that URL.

There's the Can-I-Angle-This-Into-A-Real-Beat-Sports-Writers-Job? type sites. These sites are always well run, beautifully fact checked, and offer unique regional access and insight into the teams they cover. These editors of these blogs truly love hockey, and their teams, however instead of shameless fanboy plugging, they come off as more objective with their pieces. You can probably look to most of the SB Nation blogs for examples of these. I suppose you can say these sites look and feel more professional, lending themselves to trustworthiness. So can you trust them? I guess that's their whole aim, if they aren't trusted, then how are they going to get that beat writer's job in Saskatchewan? Gotta pad the resume somehow right?

There's the We-Bridge-the-Line-Between-Main-Stream-Media-and-Blogosphere sites. These are some of the largest blogs out there, Kukla's, Puck Daddy, etc. Still the hints of fandom, humor, inappropriateness and references only hockey fans would get from the blogosphere, but the hockey knowledge and platform to spread the good hockey news to a massive audience. As some of the most viewed sites out there, they have the widest discrepancy, with loud detractors, but a silent majority of fans. Just browse Puck Daddy comments if you don't believe me. Trustworthy? Why not? If TSN and HNIC think so, I would too.

There's the I-Do-This-On-The-Side-of-My-Real-Reporter's-Job sites. Each major newspaper, who employs a beat writer to cover hockey, almost always has an accompanying blog. Quick updates, lines for that evening, rumors from inside the rink, these types of sites give a true insider's look into an organization, which as we all know, as fan's we crave. As a supplement to their paper's running pieces, these blogs can be fantastic. Kurtenblog, Sabres Edge, Empty Netters, James Mirtle, you can go on and on. If you can't bring yourself to trust these bloggers (journalists) then you have some serious Mommy and Daddy issues.

There's Rumor-Mongering sites. I could single out HockeyBuzz here, but I won't, because Eklund has carved out a great community of bloggers (of each and every aforementioned variety here) to go along with his rumors and trade talk. Obviously these sites wouldn't succeed without something greater to go along with it. However, you'd have to think that these types of sites take the biggest credibility hits with each incorrect assertation. But maybe that's just me (I know it isn't).

Ok so there's 5 categorizations of 'blogs, I'm sure I can delve deeper, but I don't want to anymore. But looking at that, where does BanginPanger fit in? Are we even posting anything that warrants needing trust? Do I sound needier than your ex-girlfriend? I certainly know we aren't creative enough to have carved out a unique niche. Can we be trusted? Muhuhuhuahahahaha. Yeah, I wouldn't trust us either.

In all honesty though, I don't think anyone is trying to mislead others with their features, pieces, thoughts, etc. It take's too much time, and a lot of effort, even to write something as simple as the ONUS pieces. Why waste your opportunity? I trust everybody (except certain sites in category #1).

So what have you? Do you trust only the websites you read religiously? Do you have your BS fly swatter out at all times? Stick to the big guns? Eh? Eh? Did I miss a major category?

Here's the HNIC Video if you care to watch it...I didn't. It's 7 friggin' minutes long!


jamestobrien said...

After that crazy Deadspin/Costas thing happened I've been kind of numbed to the major media blind bashing of blogs. They're angry that newspapers and magazines are getting shellacked, so they're lashing out at the people who do much of what they do -- and for free! (Usually)

I have a journalism degree, so I understand the concerns, but it does kind of crack me up that newspapers went from "the media outlet that normal people distrusted" to suddenly having this absurd moral high ground on bloggers. Remember, the media is less trusted than Congress according to some polls!

Good stuff, Vance. I think CLS and BP share a certain level of not fitting neatly into the categories that define most hockey blogs. And I think that might be the point, even.

Nuuuuugs said...

Great post. Some of us just love hockey so much and have so much to say about it that it comes spewing out like vomit. Hey if someone offered to pay you for blowing chunks you'd take it. But let's be real, who's going to give you a paycheck for yacking on their shoes?

Spec7ral said...

6th category: Hockey Dump. An exercise in childish profanity.
Nice post, as usual. said...

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Fact: BanginPanger is not meant as an insult to the one and only Darren Pang, nor do I claim to be him. The views and opinions presented on BanginPanger are of my own, and no other namesake of the site, the NHL, Buffalo Sabres, Washington Capitals, or anyone else.