Friday, November 18 2005

Dear OSM™,

I tried to find out what your reason for existing is, but I’m afraid I didn’t make it past the “From the founders” letter. Quoting:

At OSMTM (Open Source Media), we believe that to be true—that freedom, openness and transparency in media is an inevitable result of the technological advances that have given every citizen the chance to breathe deeply of the news, thought and opinion that hovers in the ether between us.

1. Note that HTML has a perfectly good mechanism for encoding a trademark symbol, &trade;. Using <sup> guarantees that cut-and-paste will transform your name into OSMTM.

2. “A, B, and C are”, not “A, B, and C is”.

3. “every citizen” has been given this chance? Really?

4. For that matter, “every citizen” has? Citizen of what, precisely?

5. “…breathe deeply of the news, thought and opinion…”?!? Sounds like you’re trying to attract ads for bongs and hookahs.

6. “…hovers in the ether between us”?!? Never mind, I see you already have enough bongs of your own. Did someone actually read this nonsense before posting it?

And where faceless, “objective” editorial boards once handed down opinions and endorsements, bloggers sound off, the numbers on their public sitemeters lending them unassailable credibility as voices for the rest of us.

I was going to point and laugh at the absurdity and awkward phrasing of the part I highlighted, but I simply can’t get over the juxtaposition of that line of bullshit with the scare quotes you put around the word “objective” in describing the sort of media companies you say you’re different from. “Editorial boards are just something to sneer at, but hit-counters are The Rock of Gibraltar, baby!”.

OSM’s mission is to expand the influence of weblogs by finding and promoting the best of them, providing bloggers with a forum to meet and share resources, and the chance to join a for-profit network that will give them additional leverage to pursue knowledge wherever they may find it.

I’m sorry, but this sentence simply doesn’t parse right. Is it “expand the influence by ‘finding and promoting weblogs’, ‘providing bloggers with a forum’, and ‘the chance to join a network’”, or is it “expand the influence by ‘finding and promoting weblogs’ and ‘providing bloggers with a forum and the chance to join a network’”?

[Mind you, I’m not at all sure how your network is supposed to give someone leverage (additional, no less) to pursue knowledge, much less ‘wherever they may find it’, but I’ll let that one go for now.]

From academics, professionals and decorated experts, to ordinary citizens sitting around the house opining in their pajamas, our community of bloggers are among the most widely read and influential citizen journalists out there, and our roster will be expanding daily.

Apparently your community of bloggers is missing some key knowledge about the difference between singular and plural nouns. Also, when one is addicted to lengthy sentences, mastery of the serial comma is essential for clarity.

[And who decorates experts, anyway?]

…but the next phase in the democratization of ideas has begun.

Only a phase, is it? Nothing to get excited about, then.