Thursday, March 09, 2006


Thursday Thoughts: Image of blogging

This Saturday I listened to Dave Fanning's show on 2fm where Irish Blog Awards organiser Damien Mulley and award show host Rick O'Shea talked Dave through blogging and essentially what it was all about.

I must say I'm surprised at how little Irish people know about blogs. People were texting in asking what blogs are and where you find blogs etc. Is it still that much of a mystery?

Another thing that occurred to me as I was listening to the show was how blogging seemed to be perceived as some sort of geeky, nerdy pursuit. On the early part of the show they had people trying to get Glenroe put back on our screens (a campaign I fully support since I miss Miley) and surprisingly they seemed to be taken more seriously than bloggers. Rick O'Shea did his best to explain blogging but it seems like it has a very negative image associated with it. I couldn't help but feel as if Rick was defending blogging at the same time as he was describing it.

Being a blogger strikes me as akin to being a wrestling fan. Even though wrestling fans find wrestling entertaining, even though it has made a few people household names and even though it tends to do well in the ratings, it always gets stick from detractors who brand it "fake".

It seems to me that it's the same for bloggers. Even though we find it an entertaining pursuit, even though there are millions of blogs around the world and even though blogging has had an influence on world events, it still gets criticism from those who brand it "wannabe journalism".

Will blogging be able to improve its image? I think it's possible. I'm not one of these people who heralds blogging as the dawn of a new era, "gonna change the world" blah, blah, blah but I do think it has alot to offer. For example blogs responded quickly to the recent Love Ulster riots in Dublin and many bloggers got photos up of the day's events. That's a tiny example of how blogs can add to journalism as opposed to the overexcited nonsense about blogs replacing journalism.

To get back to pursuits with negative images, gaming was something that had a bad perception originally in the eyes of the public. It was seen as something enjoyed only by nerds what with games like Pong and Space Invaders and even when things picked up in the early nineties, Sega and Nintendo still seemed like they were gearing games towards kids. Then in the mid to late nineties Sony came along and games began to be seriously marketed towards older kids and adults until it got to a point where now we live in an age where computer games are seen as cool. Those who play Grand Theft Auto or Metal Gear Solid are not regarded as social lepers. Times have changed.

Blogging requires something similar. I personally feel blogs are let down with their reputation as being simply "personal diaries". While there are alot of bloggers who talk about how Cindy was being a real bitch at school and pondering over whether Corey will take them to the prom, there's a hell of alot of blogs which steer clear of the personal diary-esque style altogether and they need to be the ones who encompass the bulk of the blogosphere.

It's good to see an attempt made to explain blogging to the Irish public though and hopefully some Irish people know a little bit more about it as a result of today's radio show.

This Saturday the Irish Blog Awards take place and United Irelander is one of five blogs in with a chance of being named Best Political Blog. While it would be nice to win the award, we're all winners if the Boggersphere, Bloglaigh na hEireann (insert stupid Irish take on the word blogosphere) benefits as a result of the night.

(PS If any newspaper editors are reading this and want to give me a job, get in contact and we'll toss some ideas about)


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