Tech bloggers and Virginia Tech

train wreck

Cluetrain derails in Blacksburg, Virginia, says Rogers Cadenhead, citing a number of tech bloggers who appeared to use the tragedy as a way to hype their favorite technologies, apparently oblivious of the carnage or the impression they were giving.

He has a point. It’s not that the tech bloggers are insensitive, far from it. Nor is it a matter of financial self-interest. Nope, it’s that too often the tech blogger world spins madly around in a tiny hyperspace, making endless self-referential comments, rarely peeking its head into the outside world, thinking its own universe is the one the matters the most. It’s not.

Making comments like that, especially so soon after the bloodbath, is politically naive to the point of obtuseness. I mean, they may be on the Cluetrain when it comes to tech, but they haven’t even found the station when it comes to politics.

Politics in the real world requires timing, sensitivity, and knowing what to say and when to say it. That’s how you get your point across, that’s how you win allies and change things. Not by immediately blogging about how a tragedy might result in smarter phone systems or pump up vlogging, then being astonished when others are appalled by your insensitivity. And again, these bloggers aren’t jerks. I know most of them by reputation. They’re good folks – but sometimes tone deaf when it comes to the political implications of what they say.

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