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Nihilism, Futurist Traditionalism and Conservationism

What's a "make work" blog?

12 08 10 - 18:40

This phenomenon hit the internet in full stride only a few years ago, when it became clear that big media won the internet. They did this by consistently providing real investigative content -- the type that requires a trained, professional, paid journalist to investigate -- while blogs offered opinion.

Now, opinion is the most ill-defined word in the English language, because if it's a person saying something, then it is an opinion -- whether that opinion is true, mostly true, more true than your opinion, or the statement is entirely concrete in its factual nature and true ("ANUS.com is a website", "There are four marbles in this bag"). But when we talk about opinions in terms of blogs, we're talking about people adding "spin" and "color" and "flavor" and "vibe," and most of all, re-stating the paucity of facts in such a way that it tends to lend credence to the point of view with which their audience comes pre-programmed.

That's not to say that newspapers are not biased. In fact, newspapers found that if you didn't want utterly bland just-the-facts-ma'am style reporting, you need something to make a conclusion from, and that usually was a broader agenda. "This further proves that individuals are oppressed by social institutions" if you're a liberal or, if you're a conservative, "This further proves that the selfishness of some individuals is wrecking our social institutions."

When people looked back over their blogs in 2006, they realized quickly that they had become spin doctors. The news stories all came from big media; other than a few people on the ground at large events (already reported on by big media), blog "content" was opinion in the sense of "conjecture" and "personal spin." It was about personality, re-interpretation, simplification and dramatization, not "information," which was the keyword on which we sold this whole intertard thing anyway.

The result was that blogs chucked in the towel, and many just became straight up "make work" blogs. Make work means unnecessary work, like putting spin on stories that anyone with half or more of a functional brain could parse. Make work means dressing up someone else's work in a socially-friendly surface, pandering to your audience, and claiming it's "work." That's why they call it make work: it's work for work's sake, justifying itself on the basis that someone out there likes it.

Here's a prime example of make-work, borrowed from a social networking site:

(You have to see the full article to see the image; if you view it from the front page, you get a hilariously tiny and unreadable image.)

On top, the real news story by a major news outlet that has hired people to (a) do the research (b) write the article (c) fact-check it (d) edit it. Below it, we have the blog that one guy's cramming out the door, hoping it makes sense enough to get him Google advertising for the month so he can pay for his crummy city apartment.

Which one do you really need? The wire service, of course -- you don't need the blog, but he probably has idiots reading it because they like the way he phrases it in soothing terms that appeal to their confirmation bias by echoing their existing ideas.

This blog aims to be the opposite of make work because who needs more bytes of random placatory crap littering the intertard?

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