A Problem with Apple News Sites

Yesterday a few major Apple news sites reported that the Apple developer system had been hacked.

MacRumors: Apple Developer Site Down as Developers Report Possible Hack

Daring Fireball: Apple Developer Site Down, Perhaps Due to Accounts Being Hacked by Russians

Engadget: Apple Developer Site Hacked. Names and Addresses Possibly Compromised

Loop Insight: Apple developer site may have been hacked

IDownload: Apple Developer Site Hacked, Some Info May Have Been Exposed

That wasn’t true.

Late last night several of the stories were updated to say that it was a bug.1

This is not a rant about the sad state of news reporting or the depressing scramble to get attention from an overcrowded market. I hope it’s not a rant at all. It’s simply to suggest that Twitter, Facebook, and every other mindless regurgitation service is not a good source for journalism. It may be a good source for something but I think it’s bad for writers. It’s far too easy to grab a story headline streaming by and create a link post.

I understand the fear. It’s not just about advertising dollars. Why publish on the internet if you don’t want to be noticed and to be part of the conversation? But, Twitter streams make for bad thinking. I think my RSS feed (ironically) proves that. Every day it fills up with the same headlines linking to each other. Few add thoughtful commentary. Few add anything at all. Which is weird to me, because that’s exactly what I want. I want to hear opinions and ideas from good writers, not pull quotes with a trailing off-the-cuff remark.

I also think podcasting is bad for opinion writers. Writing takes time but it also gives time. It gives time to think through your ideas and form better ones. I’ve rewritten many sentences in this very article. There are certainly still typos, but the ideas have improved with each edit.

Podcasting provides an outline for ideas but it does not provide much introspection.2 Several writers that I once respected for their deep insight and critical thinking have become mediocre podcast talkers. It’s not because I think they were phonies. It’s because they traded the ease of recording for the difficulty of writing. Podcasting is fun. Ideas flow unedited and once they are out, they are gone. “Follow up” is not editing.

On the recent episode of the Upgrade podcast, Jason Snell made an interesting point about the value of Apple speculation.3[ He tells the story of MacWeekly and the justification for rumor-news. It was used for corporate IT to plan large purchase decisions. I think rumors have value. I enjoy them myself. They should not be mistaken for thoughtful substance. They are junk food.

The reason I’ve walled off Macdrifter link articles behind Hobo Signs was because I wanted to clearly show that they weren’t my work. They are source materials. There is no guarantee I’ve reviewed them or even thought much about them. Sometimes I provide commentary but often they are just links.

I like link articles as much as the next person. But I felt disingenuous mixing those on a site that also provided commentary and opinion. It blurred lines I didn’t want to blur at a time when regurgitation looks like the successor to original content on the web. I don’t wonder why indie blogs are dying any more. Link posts are killing them.

  1. Or, as is often the case, totally new clickable articles were written to say that the original article was not true. Double points!!! ↩︎

  2. There are some podcasts that involve research and script writing. Those are obviously thoughtful but I think that’s because of the writing part, not the talking part. ↩︎

  3. See, I don’t think podcasts are bad overall. I just think they are not a good substitute for thoughtful writing. I love podcasts. ↩︎