E-Waste Barnacles exceed 7,500 in December


Before bragging 7500/mo page reads, we need to recall an old journalism proverb which I first heard from my father (a Journalism professor) and later heard from Andrea Carneiro, then Mass DEP Public Relations guru.  They say about every story which appears in the newspaper:
  • Half the people who got the paper didn't even see the story {IT}.
  • Half the people who saw the story didn't read IT.
  • Half the people who read the story didn't finish IT.
  • Half the people who finished the story didn't understand IT.
  • Half the people who understood  the story didn't agree with IT.

This little proverb helps to explain why pros don't get too excited by headlines, and don't over-react when a critical story appears.

In the digital age, I think this holds true except that the HALFs probably need to be exponential-ized.  Of the half that saw it, 99% didn't read it, of the 1% who read it, 99% didn't finish it, etc... We have much wider broadcast and much lower digestion.

All that said, of the 7,500+ page views we got in December, we know that it was double the number in October, and that October was double the number in July.  We also know that the geography of the regular readership is increasing.  You don't count the blip of a one-time reader in Uruguay.  But if Egypt or Turkey or India becomes a reader every 12 hours, it may mean some penetration.

Blogs are not a serious challenger to journalism.   An opinionated hillbilly with a keyboard and a blogger account is going to run out of things to say, or out of ways to say the same thing.  But in the trade press market, where the subject is in a narrow niche (like "e-waste") a blogger can throw spaghetti at the wall.  And if the trade press is smart, they'll see what sticks and provide coverage on their own. 

If Fair Trade was given half the coverage it deserved, in proportion to the "electronics exports are bad" story, I would never have started this blog.  From this perspective, blogs are the barnacles that can right the listing ship.  I read the Wikipedia article on "e-cycling" (not even an accepted term, I don't think) and found it riddled with innuendo and hearsay and passive voice.  According to the article, it's no longer 80%, but now 90% of used electronics are burned in primitive conditions.

This is all about safety in dangerous jobs.   I went over to China expecting to see crude recycling, and when I saw extremely sophisticated re-manufacturing factories, I reported this back to Basel Action Network, first thing.  That was seven years ago.  I've tried to come up with ways that Americans can partner with reuse operations, retaining value in the USA economy, creating more jobs (testing increases employment per ton compared to shredding).   It's pretty discouraging.  At times, depressing.  It makes me incredibly sad to see the Techs of Color ignored in every discussion.  I don't want to exaggerate or to be dismissive of crude recycling.  But I want to know why people don't want to know what is really going on.  Planned obsolescence, environmental crusaders, recyclers seeking to raise barriers to entry into their business, gray market watchdogs, they have all created an exaggerated story.  It is easier for the Geeks of Color to buy elsewhere, or to accept poorly sorted and tested loads, than to engage with a complex of interested parties who appears to wish they did not exist.

I wish CBS would look into documenting the proper recycling before the refurbishing factories all close.  They might see what NPR Marketplace and the Sacramento Bee documented... recycling done right by good people in nations which cannot afford a new device every two years.

1 comment:

WR3A's Robin Ingenthron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.