The “Game” of Tech Journalism

Former TechCrunch writer MG Siegler penned an interesting piece on his personal blog entitled “Just Win, Baby.” In it, he argues that tech blogging is a game. He says that playing the game was his primary method to keep motivated (though not his only one).

Here’s the crux of his post:

“Tech blogging is a game. Most of those still doing it probably won’t admit it, but it is. That’s the only way you can think about it if you aim to be the best. Competition pushes everyone. With blogging, as with all things, you have to be in it to win it.”

All right, MG. I’ll bite.

You can get pretty far if you think of the world and its challenges as a game. It’s a game to pick up somebody at the bar. It’s a game to move up the corporate ladder. It’s a game to land the big deal or get acquired for millions or billions.

I’ll admit that it’s an approach that I’ve used to get through periods where my motivation has been low. Find a story that will knock it out of the park in terms of pageviews, or write a piece that gets makes waves in tech and gets read by high-level execs. So yeah, in that sense it’s a game.

But it is not my only motivation, and it certainly isn’t my underlying motivation. I also want to make an impact. I want to learn from the companies and engineers I talk to. And most of all, I want to put myself in a position where I can change the world for the better, because that is what I believe to be my ultimate responsibility as a human being (corny, I know).

How does this relate to my job as a technology journalist? I believe my mission and responsibility at Mashable is to impact as many people as possible with my work. Helping them understand how to use Google+ is just as important to me as calling companies out when they start talking crap. Both help my readers stay informed. Pageviews are a measure of how many people I’ve reached with my work.

In my years meeting and chatting with the people who have done the most to change the world, I’ve found that none of them thought of their jobs as a game. Steve Jobs cared about building the best products in the world, regardless of what the direction was doing. Clinton & Obama certainly don’t play games with Gaddafi or Iran. The same can be said for James Watson or the Dalai Lama.

So yes, competition and “the game” are incredibly useful catalysts for producing great things. But never forget the reason why you’re playing the game in the first place. And most of all, don’t let the game itself be your motivation. If you think of life as a game, you will always lose.

Risqué and incredibly awesome image courtesy of Modblog.