5.16.2005

Short Shrift Memo

Return with us now to the golden bygone era of thirty days ago. New baby Sploid was howling along, kicking energetically as its umbilicus withered and its type size expanded. Sploid was not the first GM blog with two co-editors, as that appears to be Gawker's modus operandi as well. However, it's the first GM blog (as far as we can tell) that splits blogging duties into discrete shifts as regular everyday practice. Hence the Sploid shift memo, typically from Ken Layne to Choire Sicha and vice versa. The cosmological media blogger mind-meld awakened, recognized a tiny spark of novelty, and immediately loved it to death.

Sploid doesn't have "posts" in the classic GM sense (or in any sense really), so Layne and Sicha may only monologue in the shift memos. The early memos adhered very lightly to the purpose of an actual shift memo, pointing out possible breaking news to the oncoming shift, or dumping links close to the outgoing editor's heart but not worthy of BIG HEADLINE treatment. There is apparently some sort of rationale as to what kind and how many Sploid headline links go up in a shift, and it would be interesting to try and reverse-engineer that rationale from a day's worth of headlines. Perhaps "interesting" is too strong a word.

Anyway, the pretense of actual shift-memo utility was quickly dropped, and the Sploid memos are now almost entirely made up of Layne and Sicha pontificating and/or kvetching about mundane personal details and travails. Layne warns against the dangers of McDonald's fruit salad and reports on his neurotic dog's adjustment to California; Sicha responds by describing his own mid-youth crisis. It's like they've discovered blogging all over again.

As with venerable codger (in Internet time) the Onion, we usually find the Sploid headlines sufficient unto the day in terms of humor value; we rarely click through to an actual story. That means we scan Sploid's front page in about thirty seconds, and without a new shift memo, we click on nothing. Of course, if we did click on a headline, we'd be leaving Sploid anyway. We don't know what this means for Sploid's advertising and internal pageview capacity as compared to other GM blogs (their ad rates are still undeclared), but it would seem reasonable to assume Sploid is not going to develop much else in the way of original content. Which is kind of a shame really. Why can't Sploid have its own version of Ed Anger?