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Great Moments in Blogging History (or Herstory for the PC thugs)Part 1

March 10, 2010

Great Moments in Blogging History (or Herstory for the PC thugs)Part 1

Some things in this world rival sanity. One of those things is the world of the blogger. Once touted as the Time Magazine ‘persons of the year’ now it has reduced down to being little more than a turf war by people pretending to be intellectuals against people who could not care less. Does anyone still believe that ‘Citizen Journalism’ exists? I have certainly lost faith in that concept almost as much as I have lost faith ‘Civic Minded Journalism’, ‘Honest Journalism’ and ‘Independent Journalism’. They all sound like lofty ideals for people getting into the business but like many lofty ideals they sound good but never seem to be realized. As for the great and lofty ideal of citizen journalism we might as well call it the end of another Hippie Fad. It started with such noble motives and his ended like the morning after Charles Manson decided to send his disciples into the Hollywood Hills.

 

If I was to point a finger to what went wrong then the list would start with the lack of accountability. Blogging was like Wikipedia in so far as it was self regulated, self manufactured, self serving and self indulgent. Anyone can edit Wiki and anyone with an axe to grind can change history or erase history. In blogging anyone can blog and many of the larger blogging sites also encouraged everyone to blog; the more bloggers on the site the better because each and every blogger was linked to a revenue stream. Every time someone clicks on an advertisement the owner of the site hears the subtle clinking of another penny falling into their coffers. Many may have started with libertarian ideals but the need for a positive cash flow can change priorities. Others may have started with a solid business plan and borrowed money to launch their great dream and then find 3 years later that the backers and financiers want to collect their pound of flesh. The temptation to take money from any disreputable source is bound to raise its head. The temptation to shun and deter those who are not cash cows is also bound raise its very ugly head. Blog owner’s become both the gate keepers, the king makers and the self imposed censors of their own empire.

 

Another point of failure relates to negligence. The image any company would like to portray is one of professionalism, strength and certainty about their future. The reality with most small businesses is that they are usually a one man show trying to create a veneer of a bigger company. Most blogging sites are very very tiny companies set up with just a few computers and servers or piggy backing off a server farm where they just rent space. In comparison to a successful business most blog owners are just a piker. In essence because of their small size they answer to no one and need never conform to any professional ethics or codes of conduct other than their own. If the owner of a blog site has limited professional experience then they may never know where they meant to act professionally. If they are very young then their ability to gain life experience is also in question. If they think that they are smarter than those who write for their site then we have a whole array ego based problems just waiting to be unleashed. Favouritism, Nepotism, Bias and revenge can all play their part in the head of a person who has set themselves up as the absolute authority and final word on what is right or wrong for a community that they invited. The real problem shows itself when a conflict occurs that requires intervention of an honest moderator. If the owner of the blog site is corrupted then their solution will be equally corrupted. They will often punish the innocent and reward the guilty. And because they own the site they feel self righteously justified to act in such a manner. (This does happen)

 

Double standards are another factor that seems to have weaselled its way into the blogworld. If person A complains about person B then nothing happens but if person B complains about person A everything happens. This I have seen time and again and have had reports from many blog sites that this kind of double standard is rife. Mind you the complaints can be as serious as racism and death threats. Blogging for many is nothing more than a social site where morality is suspended. For the sake of a cheap shot.

 

The final point I will make is that some bloggers consider their prose as an extension of their delusions of grandeur. They see themselves as the final authority and guardians of the subjects that they treasure. Anyone who dare stand in their way had better watch out as they are seen as challenging their view of the universe and as such must be destroyed.

 

I will be visiting this issue in the issue in the future with some added examples.

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