Congratulations to Rafat Ali on three years of publishing the excellent PaidContent.org. Amazing. Great job pal!
Rafat used to work with (as opposed to for) me back in the dotcom era, as did Xeni Jardin of Boingboing fame.
You see, these two powerhouses did amazing work at Silicon Alley Reporter, Digital Coast Reporter, and VentureReporter.net. However, they have both moved on to be huge entrepreneurs and personalities. As I watched this happen it hit me: had I been the one holding them back all these years?
I think the answer to that is, at the end of the day, yes.
That’s a heavy moment to have as an entrepreneurheck, it’s a hard thing to accept as a human. Xeni and Rafat worked in my framework for a couple of years and did amazing stuff. Then they created their own framework and did work that was as good, and in most cases, better! On top of that, they are reveling in their own vision: Xeni is producing Xeni, and Rafat is producing Rafat.
Now, there were some great things that came out of working together. We all learned a lot. Xeni and Rafat both built huge rolodexes and sharpened their skills. I know they are very proud of the work they did at SAR.
However, the fact remains that blogging without being filtered is more fun then being filtered at a magazine.
When I realized how much more *fun* it was to write unfiltered I realized my role as Editor was gone forever. The best writers in the world are not going to accept being filtered any more. They are not going to accept having their work cut up so it fits around the advertising. Nope, the advertising will have to adapt to the writer, and frankly it should have always been this way.
The best writers will select their headlines, not their editors who always make them “sexier” in order to boost rating.
The best writers will select how long their stories are and how long the quotes are, as opposed to their editors chopping down and manipulating quotes to make them more dramatic.
The best writers will not have their stories killed or buried by spineless editors.
Sure, some old-school New York Times and Wall Street Journal writers are too old or too scared to make the jump to unfiltered, but they will be retiring soon anyway. Some, like Dan Gillmor, have already made the jump.
These old school journalist will say they don’t experience the downside of being edited I’m sure, and maybe they don’t. but I think the reason they don’t experience the downside is because they haven’t tasted the sweet, sweet nectar of being an unfiltered blogger. Sure there is value in being edited, but being unfiltered is just so much fun.
Bloggers have joy, journalists have jobs.
Me, well I’m psyched to not be the editor any more. Being the advocate, coach, or support system is just so much more rewarding.