Writing – Photos – Travel – Crafts

Blog Wars!

Posted by admin in General | Media | Wake - (0 Comments)

I have recently found myself engaged in a blog battle with photographer Bryan Soderlind. It all started because of a review I wrote about the highly-anticipated wakeskate video Fun Boots! In an attempt to spice things up, I opted to take the angle of how I made my boyfriend wait for action while I watched it, in order to illustrate how excited I was to see this movie.

Bear, as he’s known in the biz, decided to take my moment of vulnerability and run with it, posting this blog on his site. If you don’t want to read, basically he said that I shouldn’t ruin the mystique of lusting after Nick Taylor by telling people I had a boyfriend, but in much more colorful terms. I got a good laugh, commented back, and began plotting my retaliation. Actually, I had no plans to retaliate until inspiration struck. Bear has plenty of mockable attributes, and I felt like I could easily exploit them on my own plethora of blogs. So I crafted this response:

Bryan “Bear” Soderlind Receives Million-Dollar Artist Bail Out

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Lately I have been listening to a lot of talk radio. Portland has an awesome AM station that boardcasts Air America and other liberal and awesome shows. As it turns out, it’s more interesting than the 6 gigs of music on my iPod. So that, combined with the fact I have been really opinionated lately, prompted me to say yes when I was invited to be on the radio myself.

Cyrus has actually been trying to get me to come on the Extreme Scene in SF for awhile, and Saturday night, it finally happened. If you want to listen to what I had to say, you can do so here. But what is much more amazing than my actual thoughts, is that shortly after the show ended, my parents called. Through the magic of facebook, they had found out I was going to be on the radio, figured out how to listen, and then actually did so. My mom explained that she had to not only find the site, but then figure out how to listen and download something! That’s a lot of technology for an old person, so I am really proud of them. Oh, the internet.

It’s sort of entertaining to me that every time I write a post urging freelancers to get paid for their writing or photography, it gets people riled up. There was the 6 page hate thread on the message boards, and the latest post about it indirectly encouraged much discussion on other blogs after some personal interaction between the mags and the contributors (weird, right?) So why is getting paid for services rendered such a hot button issue these days? Well, I figure it has to be that society doesn’t see value in writing or shooting action sports. These jobs are so great, we should be begging to do them for free, right?

Well by that logic, I have a new idea. Any job with any personal benefits should be done for free. Here are some examples.
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I have been trying to get an interview done for alliancewakeskate.com for awhile now. Unfortunately, the person I am having one of my writers interview, was born before the 80′s and doesn’t seem to understand the concept of web. He just keeps asking “will it go in the magazine” instead of just answering the questions for a site that is checked by pretty much every wakeskater in the world, and will be seen by more eyes, and by more people who actually care, at that.

Wakeskating is it’s own animal, it’s small, no-budget, etc etc. But my employer and I are investing all we can into producing quality content for a website that helps to promote the sport. The best possible content. Unfortunately at this point, there’s not much we can do monetarily, but hopefully that will change. (And I should note, we are trying.) However, it brings up something that has been especially relevant lately, what with the economy and all.

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Not only is blog the worst, and most ridiculous word in the English language (yep, it’s acceptable in Scrabble), but I am obsessed. Like, more obsessed than I am with online scrabble (and as I’ve already made one reference in this post, you can see that’s a lot.) Friday I went up to Mt. Hood with no intention of journalising in any way. I didn’t even bring my camera. I was going to just ride for fun, because it’s the holidays, and I don’t feel like anyone who is paying cares about homey shred sessions.

As it turned out, Friday was pretty much the best conditions I’ve ever ridden at Meadows. We rode all day with sweet pro shred Darrell Mathes, and there were even a few runs with one of the morons from Jackass. Most importantly, it was deep as hell and I rode for an unprecedented four hours. The whole time all I could think was, man this would be one hell of a blog, and I could probably even get paid for it. So now I know, never count out blogging as a possibility. As sad as it may me, I’ve gotten to the point where if I can’t blog it, I don’t even want to do it. Pathetic really.

Later that night Jen had a Pot Luck to which most people brought no pots of food (lots of crackers and beer.) I almost forgot, remembered 20 minutes before I was supposed to be there, whipped up some pasta primavera (thanks 30 minute meals!) and still managed to be one of the first ones there. My favorite Portland blogger George and I swapped college stories and talked about the internet, and thank god he was there shooting photos so my skate session in a dress will get blogged.

I awoke today to find it was still snowing in Portland and my flight to Vermont was cancelled. I am rebooked on one tomorrow, but not feeling super confident that will take off either. I’ll be sure to blog about it either way!

The Internet is fucked. I’ve just decided that it’s a lost cause. Of course the problem is pretty soon it will be all that’s left in media, so if any writers, photographers or filmers hope to have jobs in the future, it’s time to have some standards.

As the purveyor of multiple low-to-no budget boutique websites, I hate to say this, but stop giving your content away! This weekend I had a videographer send me a video for possible publication on AWS. I checked it out and emailed him back saying I would love to use it and would like to get additional assets to make it really strong. Of course this morning when I check the message boards (a bad habit I can’t seem to break) I see he’s posted a link to the video, the same video he wanted me to publish, on what is basically our only competition.

I get it. People are impatient. They want to get famous and see their name in lights, but would you rather be published on a site with theoretical standards, or a site where any one can post anything? The thing people have to realize though, is the reason many websites fall into the low-to-budget category is why bother spending money, when you have to compete with something like YouTube? It’s just not worth it. Why pay if you don’t have to? And since everyone seems to have this “gotta have it now” attitude, its almost impossible to have any standards of quality on the web.

Last week the wake community suffered a casualty of the economy and the state of print media as The Standerd pulled the plug. The high-quality photo-heavy mag had already stopped paying for photos months ago, and it really came as no surprise that it didn’t last. Of course I immediately sent out emails trying to get whatever content I could out of it. I got an email back from one of my favorite wakeskate site contributors, Gavin Jocius, who happens to be in grad school studying media, confiming exactly what I am talking about and my greatest fears.

“I was reading ‘The Long Tail’ for one of my media classes. In it, the author mentions Tim Wu of Columbia University’s notion of ‘The exposure culture.’ It reminded me of AWS.com and the Standerd, i.e., in today’s digital realm ‘exposure’ has become a substitute for currency. It is much easier to get people to send stuff for free because of the exposure that they get. Many online magazines can get good content for free because of the exposure culture that fuels the Internet. The days of getting paid for freelance work are long over….IMO. Enter the era of the ‘exposure culture.’ In the future, we will all be famous to 15 people.”

Because wakeskating is new and small, and there aren’t a ton of publications about it, its easier to see this happening, but it’s obviously going on everywhere. I don’t expect people to stop posting videos on YouTube, and obviously if you are just starting out, you have to come up with a way to get your name out there. But if you are doing something good and worthwhile, you should try and get paid for it, or at least give it to someone who needs the help and you want to support. Otherwise we’ll all end up having to sort through a ton of crap just to find something remotely worthwhile.

I’ve taken to saying “I am going to blog this shit out of this” no matter what I am doing, because for some reason I now have like 15 blogs on different subjects going. There’s this one, of course, and then Alliancewakeskate.com, Futuresnowboarding.com and Yobeat (which let’s be honest, probably isn’t getting updated anytime soon.)

All this blogging makes me tired, although I do enjoy that I get to tell everyone my thoughts and sometimes I get paid for it. I just posted my first snowboard-related story in a few weeks on Future. Actually, yesterday I took Jared riding for the first time this season. The snow was sticky and we didn’t make it off the advanced bunny slope, but it was sort of fun. We had fun taking pictures of each other “getting some” and here’s the one I got of him.

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Mostly my time has been spent on Alliancewakeskate.com. It’s worth it though, all 30 people who wakeskate seem really psyched on the site. I kid, I kid. There are at least 50 people who wakeskate.

There have been several things I meant to blog the shit out of recently, but haven’t, such as the wierd Last Thursday artshow I went to. I heard it described as “a field of psuedo hipsters in a sea of bad art” but Lovejoy’s art was pretty cool. Here’s a picture of that so you can feel like you were there.

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And I also went to check out the new Atmosphere store, which I would expand upon but there’s a Future Blog in the works. I will give them the exclusive!