Thursday, June 30, 2005


Thursday Thoughts: Blogging

Blogging has been the subject of debate in recent weeks. Gerry O'Sullivan touched on the debating aspect of it, while Richard Delevan explained how he had become disillusioned with it. Deaglan over at Res Publica has touched on the issue as well. With that said, I thought I would offer my two cents on the issue and I'm probably going to rub some bloggers up the wrong way when I say this but here goes:

Blogging is just a fad.

I can just imagine all those bloggers falling off their seats at this very minute but that's my opinion! Some people tend to think that blogging will be revolutionary and will signal the demise of journalism as we know it. I don't. Some people tend to think blogging will lead to more and more people turning away from traditional news outlets like newspapers, TV and radio. I don't. Some people tend to think blogging will one day hit mainstream. I don't.

Blogging is just a movement. And, like many movements, it will reach its high point and quickly fade away. As far as blogging goes in Ireland, the high point may have already been reached. For example, let's look at Slugger O'Toole. Will we ever see another blog that challenges its supremacy? Unlikely. Slugger is like the Microsoft of Irish political blogs. It dominates all others. Personally, I've no problem with that as I never intended to compete with it which is why I try to mix things up by adding humour and games and to basically touch on areas outside of Irish politics. To find a niche in the market-place so to speak.

Some bloggers however appear to want to be in Slugger's position and be at the forefront of the blogging movement. The blogging movement will not last though in my opinion. For example, let's look at those who blog now. Will they be blogging a year from now? Maybe. Then again, maybe not. Frankly I'd be surprised if I am as I'm sure I'd like to get away from the whole scene by that time. I'm sure a very high percentage of those blogging now will not be blogging a year from now as they will move on from it.

Many see bloggers as would-be journalists influencing widespread opinion but I think this is a naive way to look on blogging. Look at someone like Kevin Myers. He writes an article while the public at large discuss it. Bloggers however usually allow comments and are held accountable. This, in my view, decreases the power of the blogger's article. The flip side though is that blogs without comments can end up doing badly in the blogosphere and have a small audience.

Alot of bloggers equate their posts with the articles that journalists write however I would equate posts by bloggers with pamphlets that are handed out on streets. The fact is, some will browse through it and may find what's there mildly interesting but most will either ignore it altogether or throw it away. Many for example have probably stopped reading this particular post by now!

Bloggers are in danger of getting too carried away with delusions of their own self-importance. Most bloggers should take blogging for what it is - a chance to be heard. A voice. In this small blog of mine I've spoken to people of all traditions, some with very different views to mine. I've spoken with people from Dublin to Belfast, from the UK to New York. One comment I remember fondly was left a couple of months back by an individual from Chile who commented on a post I had made wishing Ireland good luck in a World Cup qualifying game. He wished Ireland good luck and said he hoped both countries would qualify.

This, to me, is what blogging should be about - communication. Hearing from those across oceans and continents and acknowledging their views. This is what blogging is. No more, no less. And, as far as I'm concerned, that's nothing to be disappointed about.


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