February 16, 2013

Breaking News

Flipping through my RSS feed I was once again reminded that being first isn’t always the key to success. In this case it was web publishing, and Boing Boing in particular. The blog had just run a post about how Darth Vader tackled the Hoth battle in The Empire Strikes Back, originally a Wired story. I had seen the story being mentioned at least a dozen times already, over a 24 hour (or something like that) period of time.

In conclusion, Boing Boing was late on the ball, which you might think was embarrassing considering this is a pretty typical Boing Boing story.

The thing is, it doesn’t matter.

Boing Boing readers will enjoy author Xeni Jardin’s short commentary on the story. Some might’ve seen the link already and have read it, but others have neglected to click through until now, the story given credibility by being featured on Boing Boing.

Credibility is the thing here. Boing Boing is known to be a great source of things to read, watch and experience, so it doesn’t matter that you might’ve seen this particularly story before. Either you’re pointed to a great story, or you feel good about finding this before the great Boing Boingers did, your great taste heralded by all.

What did Boing Boing have to lose posting this story as late as they did?

I say nothing. A smaller site might have search engine rankings or similar online magicks to fiddle with, but Boing Boing is a powerhouse and weighted as such. What’s more, their flow of posts is fairly balanced, a curated list of things online that works because it works. Pushing stuff out just to be breaking a story might not be their thing, I would say it is not, nor should it be. People read Boing Boing for what they are, not because they are breaking stories or fighting for finding the best of the web first. Because Boing Boing are not in that business, and they are wise not trying to be, that’s a fool’s game.

So you’re late to a story, mulling over to run it? Ask yourself this: What can I add?

Then add it, post it, and use your voice. People that aren’t in the breaking news business should not act as they are.

Thoughts? Let @tdh know on Twitter, or find me elsewhere. There is also a newsletter.