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BloggingOn 3.4 – Megablogs Part I: the Huffington Post

My sneaking suspicion is that this blog (nay, website) is online news for people who really don’t want to get their news online. (read: older folks) Check out the front page, designed to look much like a newspaper front page (though not quite as slick as everyone’s favorite satirical news-source), bold headlines, irritating columns and all. Just in case you haven’t quite warmed up to this whole “internet thing” yet, the Huffington Post (or “HuffPo”, as they apparently want you to refer to them… fondly, no doubt) will help soften the blow by making you feel like you’re reading an actual newspaper.

Appearances are not the only indicators of old-fashioned (read: outmoded) news-type signifiers. Let’s peruse the “Blog”, shall we? This section of HuffPo is basically an over-large collection of op-eds and editorials (more on HuffPo’s namesake shortly). All of these people seem to be well reputed or credentialed in some way. The link for each article is accompanied by a picture of the author’s grinning snarky mug, and a “bio” link beneath their disembodied head. This is a news blog for big kids who are not of the generation in which irony and cynicism are standard issue. For some reason, they still think they need to “trust” their news sources. Hey! You old fogies, mistrust EVERYONE. It’s so much easier.

A few more indicators of a distinctly “older” audience: ads for prescription drug coverage, lower mortgage rates, and… Deepak-f@ck!n-Chopra.

Oh, and… Arianna Huffington. I remember being vaguely interested in the Detroit Project, and I’m pretty sure I saw her on the Daily Show a few times, but don’t recall her being all that funny. Does anyone else think her blog is the work of a ghostwriter? (How’s that for a meme worth spreading?)

So, all in all, HuffPo is a harmless little left-ish website of a blog. It doesn’t create a community in the way that Kos or MetaFilter attempt to. Anyone can post a comment (as far as I can tell), but not just anyone can contribute an article. The news stories seem to come mostly from the AP wire, BBC and other reputable news sources. Even the self-proclaimed “Blog” section is not all that bloggy. Like I said, it’s more a random collection of op-eds, and not too many authors put an effort into making their articles part of the blogosphere by adding hyperlinks and the like. I know, a hyperlink does not a blog entry make, but why not play on the strengths of the medium? Flashy animated are nice, but interactivity is so much nicer.

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