The other day I was in a meeting with two colleagues of mine, talking about blogs. One of them was in Public Affairs, like me. The other was from a different department. My colleague from the other department could not understand why anyone would read a blog and take any of the information as truth. He called blog writing “[shoddy] journalism” and “didn’t know anyone that read blogs”. As someone that works in social media for a living, this got me a bit amped. I work on Monsanto’s social media efforts daily with different projects including our Twitter account, among other things.
While what he said caused me to immediately go on the defensive, it also caused me to put myself into his shoes. The baby boomer generation, like the one my colleague is a part of, was raised on traditional media. Therefore, he is not as familiar with blogs and twitter, etc. as members of younger generations that grew up on it, including mine.
As a member of the Millennial generation, I would like to believe the majority of us caught on quickly to Web 2.0. I can understand why he may not automatically trust bloggers, I or others my age don’t always believe every blogger either. I learned that critical thinking goes right along with participating. My colleague was correct that some of what is written can be shoddy journalism. Unfortunately, when it comes to blogs, not every person is going to be reputable and check his or her facts when writing about a topic. When it comes to the more interactive internet, reading multiple blogs and fact checking are often a part of the process of ensuring what you are reading is true. Because it is so easy to publish something that may not be the truth, readers must form their own opinion.
One of the reasons Monsanto According to Monsanto started was because there were so many inconsistencies and, in my opinion, outright libelous things being said about Monsanto, particularly in the blogosphere. What better way to address what is being said then to respond using the same medium?
It’s important to note that while what we write is opinion, it is based on facts that we often cite in our posts. Anything you read here is straight from the horse’s mouth, not hearsay or rumor. If it takes reading a few blog posts to trust me or the other writers, that’s fine. I would do the same thing, too. What I wouldn’t do, is call this blog shoddy journalism.