Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The ultimate in redunancy

Is there anything more redundant and ultimately pointless than an April Fool's joke post on a blog? Think about it. The whole point of an April Fools' joke is when a fabricated story is communicated from a source otherwise known for reliability and truthfulness. Sound much like blogs to you? I didn't think so.

Here's a look around the Canadian blog scene to tell you what I mean:
  • Duane dropped a joke on us with his post "Johnston to return to pitch: sources". The 24th minute, I suppose, is somewhat of an exception as it has, on at least two occasions, broken original news, and also has the man-on-the-scene mojo with commentary on the recent Columbus PD - TFC supporters dust up. Still, a large percentage of the content on the blog is commentary on MSM news stories. The fact that the unnamed sources in the story are quoted instead of spoken of in generalities also tipped me off.
  • I thought some canadian guys would have avoided the temptation for an AF post, since they already do the same thing more or less weekly with their Reserve Squad content. It's hard to resist, I suppose.
  • Sam of the Canadian Stretford End at least makes it obvious, so we don't need to waste precious seconds and brain cells wondering whether there is any shred of possibility to the joke. (The chances that the CSA would even consider allowing a coaching vacancy fo be filled within a few weeks of the job opening up are so remote that no matter who Sam had named, I wouldn't have believed it).
I didn't mean to use this as an opportunity to shit on my fellow Canadian bloggers (and I don't use this expression lightly after doing the requisite, stomach-turning research on a certain banner. Yup, I nearly vomited). Rather, I meant it as an introduction to a mini-treatise (and who doesn't love a good treatise) on the role of bloggers generally, and specifically as we relate to Canadian soccer and soccer in Canada.

* * * *

I've already mentioned that a lot of blogging is derivative. I'm no exception. I did a quick scan of my last two dozen posts, and the majority are links to news with some mild commentary on top. If you look around the (admittedly small) canuck-soc-blog scene, you'll see the same thing. After the Mitchell firing, near identical posts appeared in the usual half-dozen places, including here, with little original to contribute.

What original content there is is usually excellent. Sam got an interview with Julian de Guzman in which he asked some of the more important questions. Jon, of the Wandering Canuck, did the same recently with Tomasz Radzinski (keep up the bloggin', Jon.)

But for all those who say that the mainstream media, especially print, is in its current situation because people are now getting their news from blogs, I point to every blog where 70% of content is lukewarm content on news stories. Let's face it: in Canadian soccer especially, we don't need more opinions, we need more news. On account of a recent video I watched (again, I'm scarred) I don't want to use the line about assholes, and how everyone's got one, but I think I just did.

What I've tried to do here, with varying degrees of success, is to carve out somewhat of a niche that isn't being served elsewhere. The nice thing about the reams of data available online is that it is easily compiled. I provided some statistical context to the MLS vs USL debate. I've been tracking Canadian content for a while. I compared coaching eras, nearly all of them dismal. I think these are important stories to tell, and since I'm more of a numbers guy than a writer, I fire up the spreadsheet and go to town.

I'm not saying I've been entirely successful. If I was really nailing what was important, I feel like I'd get more traffic. My most popular posts, by far, are the live blogs I've provided of events like the CONCACAF Champions League or men's national team matches. And live blogs are just about the most derivative content genre of all.

The last element that I think has value is the appreciation of writing for good writing's sake. On blogs, this usually takes the form of humour. I think this exists in degrees at all of the Canadian blogs I frequent. (An excellent example from another sport is the Drunk Jays Fans, particularly because they are good and narrating themselves into stories about the Jays).

Whatever we're doing in blogging about Canadian soccer, I think we can do better.

* * * *

Speaking of original content and humour, here is the last dispatch from my 2" Radzinski contest winner:

subject: Redzinski Redux [ed - I'll leave "Redzinski as is, in case it was intended]

Hi Jon,

So the intramural season ended, then school, life, colds, travel interfered in a big way. But I can present to you now the final results and efficacy of the Radz doll. Our last game was another scrappy, hard-fought, injury-inducing match that ended a disappointing 1-2, leaving us to narrowly miss the playoffs. But not all was gloomy. Just to recap, that gave us a record of 2-2, which is an impressive improvement over last seasons 0-4. Again, the results were:


giving us a total goals for/against of 11/4 and a difference of +7. I am glad that I do not remember last seasons difference.

So what is a 2" Radzinski doll good for? Two wins and a +/- improvement of about... 20... anyways, a lot.

No new pictures this time, but thanks a lot for the opportunity to experience the magical powers of this little Polish-Canadian effigy.
Thanks to our winner for keeping us up to date, and congratulations on the most Canadian form of success: understated and underwhelming.

All hail Radzinski!


Sam said...

Sorry but I couldn't resist the April Fool's joke after last season I read the day of Champion's League QF game on last years April Fools day that Ronaldo was injured...

squizz said...

Are you just angry because everyone's on twitter except you?

Seriously though, good post. I'm going to assume you're not banking on SCG being the ones to raise the standards, though.

J said...

I think your podcasts raise the bar.

You may think I'm joking, but I like it better than the Footy Show podcasts (smarmy Sharmy is the problem for me).

squizz said...

Well, thanks for the kind words.

Also, thanks for being one of -- seemingly -- only a handful of people on Earth who comprehend that "The Reserve Squad" is invariably satirical.