PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images
CNN hosted GOP presidential debates. It may now be debating whether to buy social media and tech blog Mashable.
But what difference does that make? According to Quantcast, Mashable pulls in around 16 million page views a month and has a robust audience that accesses the site's content through what it's really good at, social media. To me, that's what Mashable is all about. It's TechCrunch optimized for Facebook and Twitter. In my own experience, that's the only way I ever access Mashable content: by clicking on Twitter links from the Mashable account that features founder Pete Cashmore's handsome, and now quite possibly rich, mug.
Does it make sense? Actually, I think it's a bargain. CNN is SUCH a mature brand that for it to grow into social-media and a more modern type of tech coverage, it needs to either build a Mashable itself — or go shopping. Is $200 million too much to pay for 16 million PVs and 5 million monthly unique visitors? That's forty bucks per user per month. Bringing those readers into the CNN fold at that price is probably far less costly than what it would take CNN to develop a Mashable on its own (Mashable has been around since 2005).
Michael Buckner/Getty Images for SXSW
A South by Southwest attendee at a panel discussion. As you can tell from the uniform, not a blogger.
Blogging is definitely entering a surly, complex middle age. What started out as a frisky means of self-expression, a way to comment on the news of the day, and a highlight reel of the World Wide Web has become a business. And some folks think that the business of blogging is in the business of getting away with whatever it can.
Or they're just...dealing with the fact that blogging-as-business has developed a hyperactive metabolism that provokes infractions.
Take for example Henry Blodget's mea culpa after pasting the Wikipedia entry on the My Lai massacre into a recent blog post at Business Insider. It's no longer pasted in. Because, as Blodget puts it, Gawker freaked out. Maybe Gawker was right to freak out. But then again Blodget does write plenty of posts that are fairly dense with real business analysis, so it's hardly his pattern.
Nick Denton is the man who founded Gawker Media. He doesn't much like commenters anymore.
Nick Denton is one of those Blog Lords whom, if you blog at all seriously, you have to pay attention to. But you also have to expect Denton to routinely exasperate. Such as when Gawker Media redesigned its blogs to be far more iPad friendly — and reader unfriendly. Or just today, when CNN reported on some comments that the Great Provocateur made at South by Southwest:
In the early days of the Internet, there was hope that the unprecedented tool for global communication would lead to thoughtful sharing and discussion on its most popular sites.
A decade and a half later, the very idea is laughable, says Gawker Media founder Nick Denton.
"It didn't happen," said Denton, whose properties include the blogs Gawker, Jezebel, Gizmodo, io9 and Lifehacker. "It's a promise that has so not happened that people don't even have that ambition anymore.
"The idea of capturing the intelligence of the readership -- that's a joke."
It's Monday, and that means that I post the audio of my weekly joust with Andy Dean on his radio show — a show that's now seven months young! So congrats to Andy on that. He's trying to bring me out of the darkness and into the light, so on Friday we spent some discussing the sins of Paul Krugman, op-ed columnist for the New York Times and sworn foe of conservative viewpoints. Krugman hasn't given up on his position that we need more government spending rather than less right now. Andy is horrified by this prospect. I actually think that Krugman, in a recent blog post, actually did something unusual and glossed over a rather significant piece of spending under Reagan — defense spending.
I think we could use more of that right now, for two reasons: We need to refurbish aspects of our military, especially Navy ships, which guard the world's sea lanes; increased defense spending could also function as a kind of non-partisan stimulus is a political environment that far too divided to pass the kind of stimulus was saw early in the Obama administration.
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An elderly man feeds pigeons on Syntagma Square on November 3, 2011 in Athens, Greece. Greece stands on the brink of economice collapse as political disagreements continue concerning the financial aid package proposed by the EU.
At this point, the Greek debt crisis probably seems like it's been going on forever. It hasn't, but it seems to defy resolution. Last Friday, the country finally defaulted, in a strictly technical sense, on part of its sovereign debt — an outstanding slice of private bondholder debt that was insured by the dreaded credit default swaps. The agency that determines whether those swaps — which amount to a bet that a country won't be able to keep up with its bond payments — should pay out said, "Yep, Greece has defaulted." Felix Salmon and John Carney provided a good explanation on Marketplace at the end of last week.
The main issue for Greece is just how long it's going to have to suffer. The austerity measures that are being forced upon it in exchange for more bailout money from the European financial authorities are setting it up for a decade of pain. On the plus side, Greece stays in the eurozone and has access to financing through the currency union; something can always be worked out...however...s-l-o-w-l-y. On the minus side...well, there's all that austerity and aforementioned pain.