August 21, 2003
BLOGGERS ON BLOGGING
Extracts from interviews done for the below-mentioned Bulletin piece:
Jeff Jarvis: The best thing about blogging: no editors.
Natalie Solent: I didn't think the following point up myself, but it really resonates with me: a few years back everyone was worried about how the electronic age was going to end up with us all fed by intravenous drips while gazing blankly at screens for every waking hour. As it turned out, though, the burst of growth in computer use came from people wishing to communicate.
Joanne Jacobs: Blogging is like the whole Bill of Rights wrapped up in one: Free speech, free press, right to assemble(virtually), right to petition for redress of grievances ... Well, I'm not sure blogging is about the right not to have soldiers quartered in your home. Maybe that's the ability to blog anonymously, so the mullahs won't send soldiers to your home to drag you off to prison or beat you to death.
Atrios: Obviously, remaining anonymous keeps me from parlaying the "success" of the blog into fame and riches, though aside from a few more media mentions or a radio appearance or two I doubt I'm missing out on much.
Colby Cosh: If traditional journalists truly are dismissive of weblogging, and some clearly are, it's bound to be out of fear, isn't it? I can't think of any other convincing explanation. Some fear is reasonable: webloggers are pushing the price of intelligent, informed commentary towards zero.
Glenn Reynolds (on how newspapers might deal with bloggers): Hiring them isn't a bad idea.
Natalie Solent: Writers are traditionally given two contradictory pieces of advice: 'be yourself' and 'consider your audience'. Blogging moves the lever hard over to the 'be yourself' end. Bloggers do not need to moderate their language, translate their quotes, conceal their prejudices, explain their Star Trek references, apologise for their taste in music or rein in their sentimentality.
Colby Cosh: If you have a surpassingly clever ten-word joke to make (and you often do), it can go straight up on the page; you don't have to scribble it into a notebook and wait six months to work it into an op-ed. Is it possible that, as e-mail revived the personal letter, weblogs may rescue the epigram?
Natalie Solent: The writers on The Corner do a lot of 'blegging' - asking readers to help them out with obscure information, cheerfully admitting that they want to know for their next column. It seems to work.
John Quiggin: I often make requests for help and get some useful stuff. For example, I was looking for books giving a favourable account of the Howard government's economic policies (there isn't much on this topic, and what there is is mostly critical) and Jack Strocchi suggested the OECD country reports, which I wouldn't have thought of.
Jeff Jarvis: Not only am I freed from deadlines (I can publish even sooner) and also from the limits of space (though most bloggers write more concisely than most print writers), I no longer have to worry about writing for the artificial audience of an editor; I write only for the real audience.
Stephen Green: My worry is that, like FM radio, blogging will someday be just as conformist and poll-driven as FM has become, and that the really independent voices will end up as little more than curiosities not unlike ham radio operators.
Joanne Jacobs: Blogging builds strong citizens 12 ways. (I couldn't remember how many ways Wonder Bread built strong bodies, so I googled it. But maybe you Aussies didn't get Wonder Bread commercials.)
(Note: Natalie Solent appears in this post but not in the article. How come? Because her excellent replies arrived after deadline. So Iíve slashed her payment.)Posted by Tim Blair at August 21, 2003 02:24 PM