Maciej Ceglowski on Audioblogs

Cory Doctorow posted this link to an MP3 of Maciej Ceglowski parodying audioblogs. My capsule review – cute in a full of shit, stacked-deck-argument sort of way. He did get all the tropes in this new medium in there pretty well, but his arguments are ludicrous. The “we don’t need this, we already have another way to do it” is the utility infielder of rhetorical devices, always waiting to be used against something new. Textual weblogs are a former recipient of this device but tag, audioblogs, you’re it! He also calls recording audioblogs “self-indulgent”, which also used to be the criticism against text blogs. Tag! Trying new things is to be discouraged, so knock it off.

I had been enjoying listening to audioblogs and enjoying creating audioblogs. From the feedback I was getting, other people had been enjoying listening to mine as well. Little did we all suspect, we’re all a pack of dumbasses and shouldn’t all be enjoying this. If we were all literate, we’d be writing all this down. Maciej actually says that, instead of recording audioblogs we should be focusing on writing better. It’s hard to tell how much of that is sincere and how much is trolling. I’m assuming that mostly it is the latter. If you don’t like them, how fricking hard is it to not listen to them?

Update: Here is a link to some of Maciej’s paintings. I’m not sure why he thinks this rich media makes his website more interesting. If he were more literate, he would work on writing better descriptions of those scenes instead of wasting his time painting them. After all, “the internet was built on text,” right?

Update #2: I see the genesis of the manifesto in this comment that Maciej left on Suw Charman’s weblog. People tell me that he meant the manifesto ironically, but he’s saying the same thing here and it seems straight up.

13 Replies to “Maciej Ceglowski on Audioblogs”

  1. Hacks, Blogs, Rock’n’Roll macht auf ein Audioblogging-Manifesto aufmerksam (4 Minuten lang), das auf hinreissende Weise Horsts Argument deutlich macht. Warum ich so von dem Beitrag so begeistert bin? Weil Maciej Ceglowski es schafft, den Widerspruch …

  2. Did you notice the music? It turns his word right into the opposite of what he’s saying. Of course audioblogging is crap, if you just record your words. But this is not the point of it. Use the (audio) medium for what it’s for. Music, Sounds, Voices, but not dull reading.

  3. I did notice the music – hard not to when it drowns out the words. I guess the subtlety was lost on me, because I don’t understand how the music alters the meaning of the words. Not having access to the irony, I was forced to interpret it literally. I thought he was just trying to record it in the style of a bad audioblogger, in order to stack the deck for the argument that audioblogs are crap. I’ll admit that I might be misinterpreting it, but I note that Joi Ito seems to equally think that it was sincerely meant. If I missed the point, I’m not alone.

  4. Claiming that this critique is invalid because ‘audioblogging’ is somehow ‘new’ ignores the many decades of precedent that exist in radio. Old-as-new is a frequent blogger/newbie tactic, so it’s not surprising that you’d use the flimsy “You just hate our new toy/Ignore it if you don’t like it!” rebuttal in justifying yourself and your audioblogbuddies abuse of the glorious world of text that is the blogosphere.

    If you want to be on NPR, go volunteer at your local community radio station. Don’t destroy the beautiful blog landscape that has so many have worked hard to create in your selfish pursuit of a Xeni-esque gig on the radio.

    Please, think of the bloggers.

  5., now accepting comments that are free of dissent!

    Note: Comments containing any rebuttal to OP’s thesis will be deleted! Woo!

  6. Oh yes, “the many decades of precedent that exist in radio” because almost millions and millions of “average” people had access to a broadcasting tower and a studio in their living room… What of the fact that what the internet allows us to do today just wasn’t possible 20 years ago, for the common person? Was the telephone not new because two people have been able to “talk to each other” for thousands of years?

  7. In the future everybody is recording “personal logs” in audio. Well at least they do on Star Trek. And Star Trek’s on TV. So it must be true.

    The audio bloggers of today would have to be the genesis of that practice.

    P.S. :-J

  8. Thanks Gordon and Pete. I wouldn’t get too wound up about this. The posts from “Bad Sulu” and “Dogcow” both came from the same IP address, and both of them came in funny, not having loaded the form first like any normal user. There is some shenanigans happening. And of course, I haven’t deleted any comments.

    I’m coming to the belief that anyone talking about the “purity of the text blogosphere” is trolling. That’s like the purity of Vienna Sausages – something made of too much stuff of widely varying origin to have much purity. Of course, the presence of audio on blogs diminishes nothing, and doesn’t detract from “the glory of text.” Nor do I think audiobloggers are “selfish”, that’s just silly talk. This is not some zero sum game, that audioblogging is “diluting” the text blogosphere. It’s just one more tool in the toolbelt, useful for some things, useless for many.

  9. as Maciej is so straightforward about it. Sometimes in doing something stupid, we still do something good. Listening to it without any subtext in mind makes him look like a big troll. What a pity

  10. Malte, I don’t know. Your suggestion that it was ironic made me think about it in a new way. I’m now thinking it is a hybrid, with some things in there meant sincerely (like, all the stuff he said on Corante), some of it purposefully overblown for comedic effect, and some just parodying the whole medium and its cliches. Although I think taken as a whole it is full of shit, there are good points in there that I am taking to heart. I do agree that just reading out what you would have posted is silly, but that’s not what I or anyone I listen to does.

    I consider the audio portion in some ways a working draft mechanism for the text blog. Maciej thinks it is bad that information is going up in a way that can’t be googled. Well, that’s maybe not so bad. Fewer people listen to my audio entries than read the text, and they tend to be a rarified group of people who tend to care more than most, and are more likely to comment or IM or email me feedback. I post some ideas that are not fully baked in the audio portion, get feedback and let them simmer before I put them down in the more formal and more permanent and broadly available text form. To my mind, that is a way that the audio is not detracting from, but adding to the quality of my text entries.

    I will also note that when Maciej left his comment on Joi Ito’s blog asking him to cease and desist from his techno-remix of it because he didn’t grant permission, that left a bad taste in my mouth. I have one of my episodes in which I embedded a CC license in the comments (non-commercial, use at will but must include attribution one). That reminds me that I need to do it consistently for all of them.

  11. After exchanging a few words with Maciej on IRC (he won’t tell me his intention) I opt for the most simple solution, he may just have done for fun, without realizing there might be more to it. But we can think it further…
    The problem with google appears to be the same a it is with pictures. So we need to tag audios the same way we need to tag pictures to give them (machine-readable) context and this might work as good as it does for pictures (which it doesn’t quite well right now, I think). There might be a sort of flickr for audio one day (and for video, too). We’ll see.

  12. I don’t agree… Making content accessible in more than one format seems like a good idea to me. Use case: Someone who has problems reading, either due to lack of familiarity with the manguage, vision problems, etc. Providing content in audio as well as textual format is a good idea. The text can be indexed, searched, printed, and the audio can be heard in places where reading is not easy or possible…

  13. Malte, you are reading my mind on the tagging. In fact, last night I was looking at the IDV3 format web page at and trying to see what it would take to read in those frames. It shouldn’t be too terribly hard to build an indexer that could read those tags out of MP3s and index based on them. If people would tag with their comments, then an MP3 search engine could be built as a straightforward enough thing where one was actually searching across the metadata.

    Pete, let me revise my language then, as “silly” isn’t appropriate in the cases you point out. I don’t have any interest in doing it that way, but I shouldn’t detract from those who do.

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