Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Journalistic Bloggers - opinionated potpourri or vigourous public debaters

I don't often start a flame war but today a couple of blog posts came across my rss feed and forced me to ask the question are Irish Bloggers offering simply opinionated potpourri or has it lead to a vigour debate and conversation. The unfortunate truth is that potpourri is edging up those who would participate in debate and a growing herd mentality by a small influential group of bloggers is having leading to a net negative effect for Irish bloggers.

The posts that sparked this opinion from me are due to a spat between Dan Sullivan and Damien Mulley, who were arguing over the use of low english words in blog posts. As my blog is somewhat professional oriented blog and also holds material that I direct students to, it means that I have to maintain a swear free blog if possible. This incident has started me thinking about journalists in general and those bloggers who are aiming low rather than high in their use of the English langauge as well as the whole immediate gang-ish nature of Irish bloggers who seem to run to defend any blogger who is questioned about anything. Whilst defending victims is a noble endeavour, simply flocking to the defence at the drop of the hat without a considered reaction to the situation is the worse type of behaviour. The Irish blogosphere seems to be retreating rather than advancing as the `old guard' bloggers / nouveau commentariat are intent on retaining their opinions without opening conversations or constructive dialogues. Those who air considered alternative opinions are barracked, one only needs to refer to one post in this category by Karlin Lillington to see the typical behaviour of the commentariat mob. The end result is that active contributors are only valued until they rock the boat at which point they're ostracised to the furthest corners of the ether. This behaviour and the inherent attitudes of bloggers with this mentality is having a negative net effect for Irish bloggers, who unless incredibly thick skinned often simply let their blogs go fallow rather than have the horde raze their homestead on the Internet again.

The best arguments in the wider websphere on this topic come from two opposing articles, `All the noise that fits' and `The journalism that bloggers actually do'. An important from an excellent article on `Okay, Ready? My Coordinates for a Successful News Site' is that a news site should allow readers to connect and converse with each other. It is high time that Irish bloggers remember their roots and allow the conversation to continue so that we end up with vigourous debate rather than the opinionated potpourri it has begun creeping towards.

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