Wednesday, February 08, 2006

No meme from me

I do not believe its necessary to map out the Irish blogosphere according to political viewpoint. (Sorry RR I won't be taking up the meme) While it is of interest to note blogs which are written by certain groups which other people might find interesting – legal bloggers, music bloggers, lesbian and gay bloggers etc., I don't see why its so urgent to know how someone votes or which war they supported or not.

Richard Waghorne in his questioning of the make up of the Irish blogosphere is concerned at the awards and prominence given to them and what that says about Irish bloggers. And maybe even who got nominated and who did not? It is my understanding that the nomination process was if you got nominated you got onto the long list.

Also he queries the fact that there are many politically motivated gay people (overrepresented?) in Irish blogging. (I think there are about 6 or 7 of us and not all of them would even say that they are politically motivated!) This deserves a whole reply in itself. But quickly I would say that lesbians and gay men have been seen to be early adopters in many new technologies, new music, fashion, food and other consumables. Also the internet has been extremely important in providing ways for lesbians and gay men to meet each other and garner information about health, rights, culture, media etc due to the lack of power and resources and dominance of heterosexual imagery/culture in other media forms.

However I would definitely contest any notion that there is an over representation of gay bloggers in the blogosphere as a whole. But it might be that we are more noticed because our sexual orientation is important to us as our rights are denied, our sexuality is often assumed to be heterosexual because that’s what everyone else is. Heterosexual bloggers don't face automatic assumptions about their lives and expectations that lesbian and gay bloggers face. (And we might be more noticed because we're absolutely fabulous!)

I also contest that any potential liberal nature of blogging in Ireland is a threat to the future of blogging. In fact I would think that bloggers in Ireland are developing new ways of thinking and communicating about issues and concerns. This area is one which political parties elsewhere have seen to be important in informing and monitoring as others turn to the net for news and away from traditional sources. (In sociological terms I would think this is a prime example of a New Social Movement – great area for a PhD if there are any people out there screaming out for potential thesis topics.)

I could for example say that I believe there are a lot more nationalist bloggers in the Irish blogosphere then I think there are in society but that might be just the circles I move in and it really does not bother me either way. It could be because they post more, use the colour green in their blog templates (unless you are United Ireland and have gone blue to get noticed) and put up more pics of Gerry Adams than your average blogger but that's their choice. If I want to know more about a blogger I think its more important to read their blog and maybe have a look at who is in their blog roll than to see a meme saying who they vote for or would vote for.

We blog because we can do, its democracy in so far if you have a computer, are literate, have an internet connection and can publish to a blog then you are out there saying your thing on what ever. If people then read what you say, comment on it, think about it or even ignore it then well and good. When blogs start making news or creating news we'll know that bloggers in Ireland are making impact and indeed they have already. But many people don't blog so that they will be noticed or to get a job or a speaking gig or to boost the CV. They also do not blog to bring down the government or end someone's career or leak a story or blow the whistle. There is nothing stopping anyone from blogging from any political persuasion. And there is nothing stopping any blogger from being recognised and awarded for their efforts either. (We might reflect that bloggers are unrepresentative of the nation in terms of the fact that one has to be fairly literate to blog and have computer and internet access – in fact that might be far more useful than where you put your number one on the ballot paper.)

The systems which have been developed to set up the Irish Blog Awards have been more than transparent and inclusive and indeed quite representative of the Irish blogsphere in terms of the bloggers nominated and blogs nominated. Being non-diverse is something I think one could not pin on blogging Ireland by my perusal of the nominations list.


At 18:09, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agreed, completely.


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