In his post “Reality Distortion“, Evan Yares asks an important question: “Given all the marketing hype and reality distortion out there, how does a person in the CAD industry gain a bigger perspective?”. He says, “No matter how it’s structured, a vendor-hosted conference can never provide real perspective.”
Vendor-hosted conferences are becoming all-expense paid vacations for members of the press and some members of the press have been frank enough to admit it. Vendors and the press seem to have a “you-scratch-my-back-and-I’ll-scratch-yours” kind of a relationship, since both need each other to further their business goals. Vendors go out of their way to please journalists, and one would expect that any sensible journalist will return the favour. After all, the press need the vendors (not their readers) to advertise on their magazines, web sites, newsletters, etc. Journalists have to walk a fine line every time they write something. They tend to let all hell break loose when praising a vendor but choose their words carefully when they criticize. If they push too hard they risk having to pay for the next vendor-hosted conference, or even worse, being not invited or blacklisted altogether. And then there is also the fear of significant loss in ad revenue for their publication.
Given this scenerio, I believe that real perspective can be found on unmoderated blogs. I say “unmoderated” because a blog where reader comments have to be approved by the blogger is actually a one way conversation, similar to a magazine article, product review or newsletter.
Another thing which helps a good discussion is the ability to post comments anonymously. This is particularly helpful when discussing controversial topics. I noticed that out of the 112 comments on my blog, 28 are anonymous. That’s 25%. Hell, I must be talking some real controversial stuff.
I have come across only a handful of journalists who give the devil his due, and I find their writings worth reading. I understand that being a journalist is not as easy as it may seem and I appreciate what they do. I am thankful that I am a blogger and not a journalist. I know I would have made a lousy journalist.