Shameless self-promotion

Years of bitter experience have taught me that if you don’t blow your own trumpet, it’s fairly rare that anyone else will do it on your behalf.

As readers may recall, a couple of months ago Tim Dunlop wrote an excellent analytical article about blogging for the Evatt Foundation. It was titled If you build it they will come: Blogging and the new citizenship, and attracted quite wide attention both in the blogosphere and elsewhere.

Subsequently Evatt webmaster/editor Christopher Sheil asked me to write a follow-up piece to Tim’s article. It’s just been published on the Evatt website. As befits a sceptical centrist, I take a slightly less rosy view of blogging than Tim, though by no means wholly negative. It’s called Monitorial citizens? (Bloggers as) the New Fire Alarms. Go read (or not – see if I care).

Update – Tim Blair has a much shorter piece on blogging in The Bulletin.

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law), civil procedure and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 20 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in the early 1990s.
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Gummo Trotsky
2021 years ago

‘Many bloggers direct their commando research skills towards exposing the flaws and biases of mainstream commentators. A favourite target is The Independent’s Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk, whose name is now blogger shorthand for the line-by-line demolition of an argument; few are the major columnists who haven’t been “Fisked”, sometimes by a writer with no journalistic background or experience.’

Hmmm. I wonder who’ll be first to give this article of Tim’s the treatment.

Liked the Evatt article, Ken. When can we expect the tabloidised version for the wider readership?

Scott Wickstein
2021 years ago

Both are good articles, I rather like both. Ken’s is rather more realistic as to the expectations on what blogging can be, especially in the short to medium term.

Consider Instapundit. For all his traffic, barely 1 million Americans would have heard of him, I’d guess. That is not a great deal of public awareness in a nation of 280 million. Weblogs still have a way to go before being a political force.

However on the flip side is that of those small section of society that actually read blogs, the media and political classes are over-represented, and this enables bloggers to ‘set an agenda’ way out of proportion to the actual size of the readership.

Anthony
Anthony
2021 years ago

I liked your piece Ken, especially the quote from Zaller about the partisan nature of well-informed people.
Not that I’m advocating being ill-informed, but it nicely captures the observation that people aren’t going to have their opinions changed by information – instead they generally form an opinion first then seek support for it.

But I’m also wondering if the huge number of available bloggers means that they can’t really be counted as ‘opinion leaders’, but rather as ‘niche-pundits’. Does Tim Blair really ‘lead’ anyone’s opinion, or do people simply look to him for confirmation of their own prejudices? And if they don’t find it there they can look somewhere else. By definition, people who read a blog have access to any other blog and any other source of opinion/information on the internet, unlike people who rely largely on one newspaper or one television station. So if Tim Blair decided to turn left for whatever reason, I doubt his readers would follow, unlike (for example) when the Sun decided to support Labour over the Tories in Britain.

Gummo Trotsky
2021 years ago

Now I’ve downloaded the Zaller article, I have to admit that I find it interesting. Right now, I’m bemused by Zaller’s analysis of Figure 1 (which is a work of art in itself).

Assuming that “Level of political information” increases from left to right along the X-axis, it seems to show that while informed democrats were more likely to disapprove of Ford’s pardon of Nixon, they were equally more likely to favor impeachment of Clinton, while Republicans were more likely to approve of Ford’s Pardon of Nixon and disapprove of impeaching Clinton. I must be reading it wrong, but I can’t say that the caption gives a lot of guidance on the correct way to read it.

James Russell
James Russell
2021 years ago

Good work, Ken. I suspect I tend more to your view of blogging than Mr Dunlop’s.

mark
2021 years ago

Finally got ’round to reading it. Tres good.

wen
wen
2021 years ago

Enjoyed your essay, Ken. Was good to read something positive about Tim Blair – don’t always agree with him, but think he’s somewhat unjustly maligned. He’s just a piss-taker, isn’t he? – right out of the Furphy school – “Temper democratic, bias offensively Australian.” Probably harking back to the (irreverent, anti-wowser) Bulletin of yore.

tim blair
2021 years ago

Excellent piece. One minor correction: the phrase “Right Wing Death Beast” was coined by me in April.

Ron Mead
Ron Mead
2021 years ago

One of the good things about this blog is that all the contributors (as distinct from commenters) are real people with real names and even photos. Paul Sheehan has an interesting piece in today’s SMH about anonymity that’s has relevance to blogging.

In my view anonymous bloggers and commenters lose a lot of credibility because they refuse to identify themselves. And it’s mainly the right-wingers that are the perps – The Professor, EvilPundit, Bargarz, 24601, Strawman just to mention a few. Very few lefties hide behind nom-de-plumes. Although I do suspect that bloke who keeps bowling me wild wide balls that I almost invariably let go through to the ‘keeper and whose name is the same as a laissez-faire economist may be using a nom-de-plume that sounds like a person’s name.

mark
2021 years ago

Perhaps (speaking only of ‘bloggers here, not commentors) it’s the “dehumanise the enemy” approach favoured by such champions of decency as the good Professor that leads right-wingers to fear posting their real names. Much like, when things get heated, we all often feel freer to say horrible things about our adversaries when we don’t know them, we feel even more freedom to viciously attack when our opponents have *no hope* of finding out who we are.

[sits back to watch the fur fly]

(By the way, Ron, I take it you’re assuming that ‘blogging is a test match, and not a one-dayer?)

Ron Mead
Ron Mead
2021 years ago

Oh I dunno, Mark. Tim Blair is a pretty hard hitter and he’s not shy about his identity. The Professor is a much more sophisticated writer than he is and I feel if we found out who the Prof was we’d all remark, “oh, so THAT”S who you are!” The wonder to me is that Imre hasn’t, to my knowledge, issued a direct denial. And given his associations with TBlair he must know about the speculation. He’s probably revelling in it.

mark
2021 years ago

*disappointed*

Well, that’s not the bite I was expecting… :-)

trackback
2021 years ago

blogging and democracy

I see that Ken Parish has an article on blogging that is a response to the one by Tim Dunlop. For my comments on Tim’s article see here and here Ken is more sceptical about blogging than Tim, as he argues that the role of blogging is more akin to funct…

trackback
2021 years ago

blogging and democracy

I see that Ken Parish has an article on blogging that is a response to the one by Tim Dunlop. For my comments on Tim’s article see here and here Ken is more sceptical about blogging than Tim, as he argues that the role of blogging is more akin to funct…