Before I begin let me make it clear that I completely recognise the irony inherent in what I am about to write.
Some of the hottest issues in Irish blogging over the past year have been things like the El Paso incident, The Irish Blog Awards, the bloggers reaction to the Dublin riots and most recently the IT@Cork/Web 2.0 fiasco. What have all of these got in common? Blogging of course.
If we are constricted to talking about what newspapers and the radio covers then we’d be a very very boring community and dictated by business interests and the interests of demographics. The “big” stories are what “they” tell us they are. This sounds all hippie and conspiratorial about “the man” but hopefully you get me.
I completely agree with his point, and I do get what he means. If blogging became a place for us to discuss something that everyone knows about already then it would be a fairly dull affair; it’s nice to hear other people’s opinions on world events but that is why forums and usenet groups exist. As I’ve said before, blogging is a great resource for the average person to promote what they feel needs attention. Perhaps they want to sell something or generate interest in their product or perhaps they feel there has been a great injustice, or even a small one that has gone unnoticed by the traditional media. In my opinion, blogs are a many purpose tool and have thrived on that basis.
With all of that in mind I can see Piaras’ point when he says:
It isn’t hard to think why some people hold blogs in such disdain given the fact that there’s all this chatter about the phrase ‘Web 2.0′, but in terms of some of the biggest stories which have been in the news recently such as the Afghan hunger strikers in St. Patricks Cathedral, Irish bloggers have been relatively silent.
It can’t help but concern me that the only thing bloggers really get going over is blogs; of course a multitude of issues are discussed across the community every day but none of them see the scale of interest that an issue of blogging does. The ‘conversational’ aspect of our media seems to be saved for incestuous discussions on ourselves.
I am as guilty as any on this, out of the four examples I listed at the beginning I have discussed three here and before anyone thinks I’m calling for these topics to be ignored I would state that in my opinion, they got the attention they deserved. Besides as blogging in Ireland finds its feet it is only natural that it discusses the matters that are caused by it, and that effect it directly.
Perhaps it’s not that blogging is being discussed too much in blogs but that other topics are instead ignored or contained. It is great to see issues being thrashed out across blogs, in comment pages or in actual blogged responses and responses to the responses, the great conversation at work, but why is it that this only happens when blogs are the agenda?
The El Paso issue needed to be discussed, the Dublin riots highlighted some quality blogging in light of poor journalism, the Irish Blog Awards demanded publicity and afterwards kudos and IT@Cork needed the vocal support of its audience, but is that all bloggers are willing to get up in arms about?
On a personal level, I’m not going to stop discussing blogs here, or not get involved in discussions elsewhere because I don’t see that as a solution on any level but I do feel an opportunity is constantly being missed when people decide not to point out another blog or post or interest, decline to comment even when they have something to say or refuse to engage in a discussion for whatever reason.