Chatting about blogging about …

John Quiggin answers the question “Are blogs chatrooms?” with the obvious response: NO.

But he also inserts a throwaway asserton that:

Political blogs like this one are intended as competion for mass media such as newspapers, and have had at least some success in this role.

Speaking for myself, I don’t see blogs that way at all. Certainly there’s often a coincidence of subject matter, and I’m interested in developing an audience. But that’s about it. Blogs are much more intimate and idiosyncratic (even group ones like TA); many of us frequently insert personal diaristic vignettes to leaven the relentless boredom of politics. I don’t recall seeing reminiscences about Fred Hillmer’s home life in the SMH; in fact I still retch reflexively whenever I recall Margo’s revelations about her toiletry and smoking habits.

Bloggers seldom attempt to gather or report the news, we just analyse and “fact-check” it from an individual perspective. Without the mainstream media to alert us to stories, political blogs wouldn’t exist.

Lastly, at least on blogs with comment facilities, interactivity is quite central to the total “product”. Political blogging is up close and personal dialectic, which does indeed render it somewhat closer to a chatroom or email discussion list than any mainstream news medium. Blogging is not “competition” for newspapers; it exists in a symbiotic relationship with mainstream media.

PS – Scott Wickstein has been interviewed about blogging by a journo named Greg Tingle, who apparently runs a website that isn’t a blog though it’s blog-like in some aspects (it’d be nice if he got around to updating his blogroll though).

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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cs
cs
2022 years ago

As I’ve never been to a ‘chatroom’ – gees, does that sound like elites getting together or what; do they serve chardonnay? – I do know about the similarities.

On the other hand, blogs do seem to present quite a bit of media competition to me: certainly in the op ed and editorial departments, particularly given they often reflect on o/s news and opinion. They also compete very strongly in the news analysis area. Only yesterday Surfdom was out with an analysis of the Bush speech about a day before the Oz media (and a much better analysis to boot, to which Tim D has already posted several follow-ups …keeping him well in front). Moreover,many blogggers have analytic expertise or access to expertise that puts the media well in the shade.

And here at Troppo, off the top of my head, the analysis of the Carr speculation was well ahead of the curve … The History Wars was read and blogged on three times before it had even been publicly launched, let alone swamped the opinion pages … and, why, the Matt Dunning for Wallaby hooker story was foreshadowed months ago …

Perhaps without the media political blogs wouldn’t exist (I suspect they they would actually … and they would take on an even larger and more important role), … but this misses the sharpest point … without the specific Australian print media, blogs would certainly continue to thrive … for that’s where the real competition is being felt …

cs
cs
2022 years ago

err ‘… I don’t know about the similarities …’

Ron Mead
Ron Mead
2022 years ago

I haven’t heard of chat rooms serving chardonnay or even latte, Chris. Anyway I’ve got off chardonnay since it was hijacked by the bourgois left (Paddy’s latest term for the chattering classes) and tend to go for sauvignon blanc, especially from Marlborough country across Tasman Lake. The left haven’t cottoned on that particular drop yet so I can drink it in peace for a while.

cs
cs
2022 years ago

Funny thing Ron, I’ve never liked chardonnay (always been a semillion drinker … as was Menzies, as I recall), don’t drink latte, and I’ve never been to a chatteringroom … I’m having an identity crisis here …

wen
wen
2022 years ago

I guess in some ways Weblogs are chats – directed conversations, anyway. But I think its the unique ability of weblogs – with their comment facilities – to sometimes operate at the ‘level of anecdote’ (as a scornful friend puts it) that makes them so valuable.

The more we hear and attempt to understand one anothers’ stories (and our ideas are part of this) – the better we connect.

wen
wen
2022 years ago

Wine can be useful, too.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

LOL!!!

I was just picturing El Quiggo trawling some sleazy chatroom looking for hot macroeconomic action. “Anyone here up for one-on-one Keynesian domination?”

Ya gotta love him!

Ron – that bloody awful Biddy woman in “Grass Roots” – the one who combined the characters of Bronwyn Bishop and Lady Susan Renouf in a singularly unappealing incarnation – was forever swigging Sauvignon Blanc whilst plotting the downfall of democracy. For me, it’s irredemably associated with mercenary property developers and the nouveaux riches…

Ron Mead
Ron Mead
2022 years ago

OMG, Geoff. I’ll just have to stop drinking it as a political statement. But I’m gonna keep drinking it because it’s my “flavour of the year” and anyhow I’ve still got a couple of cases of Tuatara Bay. Yum Yum.

wen
wen
2022 years ago

Nouveau riche is okay by me (genteel penury can be a little wearing). Perhaps I should stop drinking cream sherry.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

wen – cream sherry is very Bloomsbury Group….though I’m sure you’re much nicer than Virginia Woolf :)

Niall
2022 years ago

Nup, chatrooms and messenger software are totally and completely different to Blogs. Often I’ll see something that, were it an expression via chat software, I’d be replying straight away. With a blog, the content has to be worth the effort to open that box and type in what you wanted to say. Which probably means this post was worth replying to….
Personally, I’d like to see an online debate of sorts, just to see how it would go. The amusing point from my perspective is the demeanor of proponents when face-to-face with each other, as it were, even if it is virtual. Would Hanscombe be as obnoxious if fronted by Sheil, verbatim? I doubt it.

Ron Mead
Ron Mead
2022 years ago

Cream sherry, Wendy! You must be older than I thought you were. Next you’ll be extolling the virtues of Barossa Pearl.

wen
wen
2022 years ago

I was joking – more of a champagne girl, really. But there’s nothing more satisfying than getting good and sloshed on $5 – and sherry’s got to be better’n ‘Passion Pop’.

wen
wen
2022 years ago

Oh dear. Describing yourself as a ‘girl’ is a desperate ploy – and, sadly, generally means you’re not….

Scott Wickstein
2022 years ago

I used to haunt political chatrooms before I discovered blogging, and I can assure you that people are quite a deal more obnoxious there then anything you see in the blogosphere.

mark
2022 years ago

I was on general-chat USENET newsgroups, which would occasionally be visited by trolls looking to start an argument between warring factions on different political groups, and us. ‘Course, nobody minded. Go the gun control! Death to the death penalty! Family court bias! And so on.

Like Scott’s experience, these people (and Yours Truly, I suppose) were far less pleasant than most anything (Emperor Misha, LGF commentors are an exception — TBlair commentors aren’t) the ‘blogosphere has to offer.

Robert
2022 years ago

Blogs remind me of the newspapers of yore — frequently amateurish, overtly political, often more sporadic than regular (though the best ones were reliable), and reliant on an audience but not necessarily trying to corner the market. They also relied far more on second- and third-hand reports found in other newspapers. Their journalists were not like the modern reporter, and the articles mixed editorial comment and personal experiences in with the story.

Thankfully, blogs don’t rely on advertisers and massive capital outlays to publish, so there is much less risk that this media will be aggressively consolidated into a handful of similar voices.

bailz
bailz
2022 years ago

dude, don’t knock passion pop.

Dan
Dan
2022 years ago

I think the key difference is durability. You know when you post a comment to a blog, it’s there in perpetuity (albeit at the mercy of blogspot, in many cases). Off-the-cuff comments can easily come back to haunt you, so you’re (notionally) more inclined to think before you hit “post”. In chatrooms, once your flames scoll off the top of the screen they might as well be gone forever. I guess another moderating force is the fact that blogs are privately “owned”, in a sense, whereas chatrooms tend to be regarded as public property. Most of the time, however much bloggers might disagree, they respect each other enough not to piss on the rug in someone else’s space. Also, the length thing – if someone’s taken the trouble to write a long post (or even a couple of paragraphs) about their opinion, dissenters are more inclined to study it and respond thoughtfully. In a chat room, it’s often just a matter of flames begetting flames.

Gianna
2022 years ago

“Political blogging is up close and personal dialectic, which does indeed render it somewhat closer to a chatroom”.

Good to know, Ken, because along with banning my access to anything with the suffix ‘blogspot’, work has also banned several (but not all) other sites, including yours. since they’ve banned access even to blogs without comment facilities, I have to conclude they consider even the sound of one person chatting to be a ‘chatroom’, lonely as that sounds. they haven’t banned news sites, so they clearly differentiate between major news outlets and ‘minor news inlets’ (as Tim D. so charmingly put it).

ps what would i give for a good drink…even passion pop, i think, at this point…

trackback
2022 years ago

Blogrounds

Following the release of the George Bush action figure, Evil Dan at The Spin Starts Here alerts us to a new range of miniatures for the intellectual. The lifelike plastic dolls include William Shakespeare, Albert Einstein, and Nancy Pearl,…

trackback
2022 years ago

Are blogs chatrooms?

On the Monday Message Board, Gianna asks “Are blogs chatrooms”, and observes: my view is that perhaps blogs with comment facilities could be seen as chatrooms, though it puts the blogger more in the role of moderator than writer, i…

trackback
2022 years ago

So have we seen this before?

NICE COMMENT from Robert Corr over at Troppo: Blogs remind me of the newspapers of yore — frequently amateurish, overtly political, often more sporadic than regular (though the best ones were reliable), and reliant on an audience but not necessar…