Farewell. The Flying Pig Has Left The Building.

Steve Hynd, August 16, 2012

After four years on the Typepad site, eight years total blogging, Newshoggers is closing it's doors today. We've been coasting the last year or so, with many of us moving on to bigger projects (Hey, Eric!) or simply running out of blogging enthusiasm, and it's time to give the old flying pig a rest.

We've done okay over those eight years, although never being quite PC enough to gain wider acceptance from the partisan "party right or wrong" crowds. We like to think we moved political conversations a little, on the ever-present wish to rush to war with Iran, on the need for a real Left that isn't licking corporatist Dem boots every cycle, on America's foreign misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq. We like to think we made a small difference while writing under that flying pig banner. We did pretty good for a bunch with no ties to big-party apparatuses or think tanks.

Those eight years of blogging will still exist. Because we're ending this typepad account, we've been archiving the typepad blog here. And the original blogger archive is still here. There will still be new content from the old 'hoggers crew too. Ron writes for The Moderate Voice, I post at The Agonist and Eric Martin's lucid foreign policy thoughts can be read at Democracy Arsenal.

I'd like to thank all our regular commenters, readers and the other bloggers who regularly linked to our posts over the years to agree or disagree. You all made writing for 'hoggers an amazingly fun and stimulating experience.

Thank you very much.

Note: This is an archive copy of Newshoggers. Most of the pictures are gone but the words are all here. There may be some occasional new content, John may do some posts and Ron will cross post some of his contributions to The Moderate Voice so check back.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

FB and Twitter are the New Blogging

By John Ballard

I just had this exchange at Facebook...
John Ballard -- Every big website, from print and broadcast media to manufacturing and service outfits, seems to have what they call "blogs." The meaning and application of blogging, once the domain of amateurs and wannabes of various stripes, have been co-opted by professionals, many of which probably have editors or "policies" governing content. Blogs like that are to what blogging set out to be -- what frozen or freeze-dried foods are to the original products. I want to say with Groucho, I don't want to be a member of any club that would have me for a member. 
I found over the last several months, as Newshoggers was obviously drying up (everybody but Ron and I drifted away, traffic was clearly in a funk and the place never really got any comments/feedback to speak of...) I have found myself at Facebook and Twitter, both of which are real-time places, often with others online and available all the time. I've "met" more people I will never actually see or even speak with on a telephone that I ever imagined.
Facebook and Twitter are the new blogging for me 
Ruchira Paul -- I know. Bloggers were the town cryers and leafletters of the mid 2000s. It was free for all (in more senses than one). Blogging is just not that much fun any more. I use FB a lot (I haven't yet joined Twitter). But I don't feel like commenting as seriously and substantively here as I did and still do occasionally, as on blogs. Every forum has its own special character.

I'm posting here at the new site to practice playing in the wysiwyg sandbox. 
I can't help remembering my old blog Hootsbuddy's Place which I lost when I fell victim to a phishing scam. The blog was linked with a g-mail account, Google owned both blog and email, and when the Google-bots flagged the site as a spam source that was the end of my contact. 

As the reader can see, the blog is still out there on the Internet, with two hit counters still operating, getting sixty-five or seventy hits a day, and showing up in Google searches. I figure it has about three thousand posts. 

It's ironic that I can no longer go there, but it seems Google is not run by living people. I tried in vain for almost a year to correct the problem but to no avail. All the good wishes, helpful (but ineffective) suggestions from people in the support groups and all my personal messages to anybody I could think of were to no avail. Google, it seems, is run by robots, not people. Just like my old blog!

When our Direct TV was having a standoff with Comcast over content they took off the kid shows that my grandchildren watched. We already pay too much for Direct TV and my wife was ready to fire them and find a new provider. I fired off a Twitter message to Direct TV and received a reply within fifteen minutes, assuring me that they were working on the problem, and my grandchildren would soon be able to watch their shows again. (Which they did, incidentally.)

My point is that some of the biggest companies in the country have learned the power of the Internet and how rapidly a public relations failure going viral can totally ruin their day. Consequently they have living people on duty 24/7 whose only mission in life is to soothe people like me when they come across potentially  radioactive Twitter messages. 

I recommend this tactic for any problem with big companies that are overlooking customers or consumers. 

In fact, it's time that Google set up a Twitter monitoring section and assign people with actual authority to resolve problems like I had when my old blog got hijacked. Now that would be impressive!


  1. Twitter is alright, but too short form for detailed commentary. As for FB, well, let's just say a fair proportion of my family is either indifferent if not outright hostile to most of what I'd post, so I tend to keep such things separate, so blogs are still something I quite like, though more for reading these days.

    Customer service, on the other hand, is something a lot of companies need to do a better job of, both in social media space and real space.

  2. Right on both points. Twitter is for aphorisms and stringing links together but little else. There are a couple of places to curate a string of Twitter messages into something looking like a coherent narrative (Chirpstory and Storify) but none of them has gone anywhere.

    And yes, Facebook is as radioactive as an inter-generational assembly of all the people you know, most of whom will never like each other and only consent to be bunched together out of courtesy to you. It may be a more viable forum two or three generations hence but at this time it resembles a diverse crowd trying to decide if they really want to form a nudist colony.

  3. I'm not a twitter person and use facebook to push blogposts and some social stuff. Neither are a substitute for online pamphleteering aka blogs.