Friday, July 9, 2010

Proud to be the Uncredentialed Blogger...

I’ve been on the fence recently about what might seem the silliest thing. Should I become a credentialed blogger or not? I am sure to most people it seems the no brainer. The league in its quest to play nice with all forms of new media has been handing out credentials to any everyone who might possibly have enough spare time on their hands to set up a blogger page and type a few words that might be peripherally about IndyCar racing. As I have been watching fellow bloggers report from races with their new access gained from credentials, I have begun to wonder if I should go the same road. After all a year ago when I started this I had the dreams of eventually parking in the credentialed lot and getting out of dodge in a timely fashion at the end of events.

Long beach, Indy and now Iowa have come and gone and I have yet to send THAT e-mail to THAT address. I think it comes down to three things really.

The first item was probably summed up best by a tweet Pressdog sent today. “Robin Miller never eats at the Media Buffet, because he doesn’t want to owe the man anything”. Truth be told, that is why the league has been so willing to entitle bloggers, to keep them on good terms. Previous leadership in the league played punitive vigilante with the media that covered the series with any sort of critical perspective and ultimately created ill will that permeates press coverage of it to this day. The league does not want to create anymore Gordon Kirbys or Robin Millers.

For good reason too, once a blogger posts, it is out there in the blogosphere and can be searched and scraped and unless someone deliberately takes a blog down, it does not go away. So if a prospective sponsor doing their due diligence research on the league contracts with a company like Scout Labs (or one of their competitors) to do a blog scrape, they search “IndyCar” and words like “crapwagon” or “Ridebuyer” or worse start showing up in the analytic search results, the sponsor opens their eyes real big and begins to ponder what exactly are they getting themselves into. In a world where scrapes only find “mentions” that are not paired with “hits” a single Hater read by no one counts as much as an objective and fair writer read by thousands. Good relations, hopefully leads to more positive blogging. It’s not that I am that negative of a blogger, but if I want to write “It’s an unadulterated abomination that JR Hildebrand cannot get a full time ride in the IndyCar Series” I’d like to be able to say it unhindered by the extension of patronizing hospitality.

The second reason is this, if I were credentialed, I feel like I would need to treat this endeavor with more respect. I would need to spend more time editing and fully thinking through everything I post. I would feel the need to post more often, all in order to live up to what at least in theory would be a privilege and acknowledgement of respect. Ultimately, hobby and pastime would become obligation. I have a feeling that is part of the reason MyNameisIRL has gone silent. Life is full of enough responsibilities, sometimes we need to manage and prioritize those lists. Right now I need a hobby – not an obligation.

The final thing really relates to the nature of my contribution to the discussion. I initially thought my contribution would be to bring a perspective from the Advertising and Media view of the world to the discussions of the day. Which is probably still a third of what I do (I feel less hurried to do this since I found “The Indy Idea” RP does this well and I imagine must work for an agency or someone who does media research. I work in product research where the view is a little different). The rest is combination Idea generation for thought or promotion and then the final bit, the part I most enjoy are my “Onion – Like” stabs at humor via fake news posts. None of this should require “enhanced access” to be generated on my part. In theory I am a big advocate in differentiating the “what you want” from “what you need” in life and for the casual places in life where I can be pious towards this moral pursuit, this is one such opportunity.

So today at Iowa I was watching my credentialed peers work the event: thinking to myself I am happy where I am and I don’t begrudge them for where they are. Many of them have skills, talents and a work effort that justify their credentialed status. Credentialed blogger or Fan with a Blog, the latter is fine with me. Though of course two months from now when I am shelling out $50 for a pit pass at Kentucky I will casually ponder my position in the world, but I belong where I am, a smart a$$ from the peanut gallery.

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