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
Comments

TO: Stephen Green
RE: Fear for the Future

"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." -- Stephen Green

I'd suggest that you don't sell out.

That's what has done in FM radio.

Regards,

Chuck(le)

Posted by: Chuck Pelto at August 21, 2003 at 02:32 PM

It's hard to see blogging going the way of FM radio. Maybe bigger pundits will go that way, but with since there's no barriers to entry to blogging, fresh new voices will always be able to take their place.

Posted by: Scott Wickstein at August 21, 2003 at 03:03 PM

Some nice points there. I especially like Colby Cosh's quote:

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?

Exactly. Most blogs that I've read (okay, not that many) are way funnier than the papers.

Posted by: TimT at August 21, 2003 at 03:07 PM

Solent green is people.

Posted by: Ferg at August 21, 2003 at 03:44 PM

I have a link on my site to an item in "The Economist" on how to make money from blogging. Funnily enough there is no mention of the obvious method (besides being an ISP or server provider), converting your blog to midget porn.
Easy money, and you don't even have to think up gags.

Posted by: Habib Bickford at August 21, 2003 at 05:00 PM

I'm trying, Habib.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at August 21, 2003 at 09:33 PM

where are you getting the midgets, andrea?

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at August 21, 2003 at 10:28 PM

You could get them from Spinal Tap's "Stonehenge" set -- I hear they are looking for work ever since they trot upon the Stone.

Posted by: Jerry at August 21, 2003 at 11:38 PM

One point- you may need gags if you are going for the S&M market.

Posted by: Habib Bickford at August 21, 2003 at 11:47 PM

well, here's one: two amoebas walk out of a bar. one says to the other "is that the sun or the moon?" the other replies "gee, i don't know; i'm not from around here."

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at August 22, 2003 at 12:40 AM

Missed the invite. Kidding, but my neophyte as* throws in his two cents

Posted by: beets at August 22, 2003 at 06:31 AM

Does anyone know where I can find Tim's post about Australian Forces in the Solomons and the Socialist Alliances idiotic objections to it? I have a friend that I'd love to post it on to...
I've looked in the July and August archives, but I can't seem to find it...

Posted by: TimT at August 22, 2003 at 10:53 AM

TimT,
This has Tim's thing on the Socialist Alliance. For some reason it's not on the Bulletin's archive page.

Posted by: ausduck at August 22, 2003 at 06:33 PM

Thanks, ausduck ... it didn't occur to me that it would be in one of Tim's Bulletin columns...

Posted by: TimT at August 22, 2003 at 06:44 PM

http://www.thebeggars.net/meet_tony.htm

http://www.thebeggars.net/hirl.htm

Posted by: L. W. at August 23, 2003 at 08:00 AM

While we're on the subject of blogging -- can anyone recommend a good, free comments system for a Blogger/Blogspot page?

I've been looking, but I haven't yet found one that works.

Posted by: Evil Pundit at August 23, 2003 at 09:49 AM

Pr Q graciously acknowledges:

Jack Strocchi suggested the OECD country reports, which I wouldn't have thought of.

This must be the first recorded case in History of a grandmother publicly thanking her grandchildren for teaching her how to suck eggs.

Posted by: Jack Strocchi at August 23, 2003 at 11:18 AM

Can't help with the comments- you can attach a chat room with bravenet, but a bit unwieldy. i can't even get jpegs to post on blogspot, so i'm looking for a MT server.

Posted by: Habib Bickford at August 23, 2003 at 11:38 AM

Thanks, Habib.

I'm starting to look at the possibility of a MT server as well. The system seems much more versatile.

BTW, if you want to post jpegs on blogspot, just host the image on an external server that supports remote linking, and put an image link in the code. Works for me.

Posted by: Evil Pundit at August 23, 2003 at 11:52 AM