How not to be a Wordpress Hero

* Note: This post came from a version of this blog that got lost in a server failure. It's been restored from old RSS feeds, Google caches and other sources. As such, the comments, links and associated media have been lost.

There's a group of fellow journalists who are getting really sick of what we're calling Wordpress Heroes. What is a Wordpress Hero? Back home, we'd call them All Hat and No Cattle. A Wordpress Hero is someone smart enough to setup a blog and fire away with grand ideas, but too dumb to use things like, oh, evidence, reporting, examples and other such annoyances. All talk, no do.

I'm all for conversation, sharing ideas, throwing things out there. What I'm tired of are people who make grand sweeping statements and do nothing to back them up.

So, in the spirit of being constructive, here's three simple ways to not be a Wordpress Hero when writing about "the future of journalism."

Use personal experience. The thing that drives me most crazy about Wordpress Heroes is that they're all full of ideas ... for someone else. Do it themselves? That's crazy talk. The only person who can make innovation happen is the person who is willing to suffer the consequences. I didn't write that but it's true. So either be ready to do what you write, or be ready to admit that you won't or can't.

Use research. Research is not linking to another blogger's opinion. Research is numbers, facts, examples of things you are talking about. Best kind of research? Your own, from your own project. See step 1. There's a lot of people writing about "the future of journalism" and a precious lack of actual facts being talked about. Don't add to it.

Be humble. Got an idea? Great. We need all we can get. Have no idea if it will work? No problem. That's what makes new ideas fun. Don't have the first clue how or the power to make it happen? That's fine. Still want to write about it? Go ahead. But do yourself and everyone else a favor: admit, up high and in clear language, that you don't know how to make this idea work or don't have the power to put it into play. A particularly annoying trait of the Wordpress Hero is writing with absolute conviction about things they know nothing about. The fix? Admit you know nothing. It's okay. No one knows exactly what they're doing with journalism on the web. If such a person existed, we'd be doing what they said and all would be well. That person doesn't exist, and you aren't that person. Neither am I. Admitting it is okay. It makes you more credible.

People have asked me why I haven't updated this blog in so long. Part of it has been that I'm too busy actually building something. Another part is that I'm sick of all the noise. The worse things get in the industry, the less we need Wordpress Heroes.

By: Matt Waite | Posted: July 17, 2008 | Tags: Journalism | 0 comments