Word of the Day

According to the US publishers of the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the most frequently searched word on their online site this year has been “blog”… It’s interesting to note that in an election year, five of the other nine words were political terms (eg “electoral”, “sovereignty”). “Cicada” probably earned its ranking due to a plague of the pesky beasts in the North-East. I’m not so sure why there was so much interest in “defenestration”. It’s an excellent word, and one of my favourites. Maybe a sign of the economic times?

This post could now take off in two directions. One might be for me to talk about how spiffy words are, and how much I want an etymological dictionary for Christmas. (Last year I got a hardback Bartlett’s Quotations, a necessary reference for the discerning blogger.) But I’ve got that sorted – my flatmate’s getting me one.

So, let’s take another tack. Reuters spins this story with the claim that:

Americans called up blogs in droves for information and laughs ahead of the November 2 presidential election. Freed from the constraints that govern traditional print and broadcast news organisations, blogs spread gossip while also serving as an outlet for people increasingly disenchanted with mainstream media.

What do Troppo readers think? To what degree do blogs represent a source of news or commentary on politics for you? Did you follow the Australian election on blogs? If so, which blogs did you frequently visit, and why? Why do you like reading blogs? How much time a day do you spend reading blogs? Why do you like commenting on blogs? What’s your favourite Australian political blog, and why?

About Mark Bahnisch

Mark Bahnisch is a sociologist and is the founder of this blog. He has an undergraduate degree in history and politics from UQ, and postgraduate qualifications in sociology, industrial relations and political economy from Griffith and QUT. He has recently been awarded his PhD through the Humanities Program at QUT. Mark's full bio is on this page.
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2022 years ago

I get my news from the paper’s generally, occasional bits come from the blogs.

As many know, I avidly followed the elections via blogs. Mainly the left wing ones, as birds of a feather often do. Occasional visits to the right wing ones to obtain the dark sides views (they were incredibly quiet in Aus until after the election).

Way too much time every day reading, commenting and thinking.

Commenting gives an outlet to some of my internal frustrations that arise from the rest of the world not seeing how damn sensible my ideas are.

Back pages was my favourite politico-blog. Chris always provided a good read and thought provoking topics. That attracted a wide audience – which led to a high quality of interaction and debate.

Tim Blair’s site may do the same for the right leaners.

2022 years ago

What do Troppo readers think?
# Chocolate… no: underpants.

To what degree do blogs represent a source of news or commentary on politics for you?
# Great source of useful links to news. Good for breaking news but often this is surrounded by a lot of spin. Probably the best commentary because blogs comment on the media commentators as well as the issues.

Did you follow the Australian election on blogs?
# Yes. Avidly.

If so, which blogs did you frequently visit, and why?
# Back Pages. The calibre of bloggers was great – academics, party flaks, speech writers, policy makers mixing it up with armchair pundits such as myself. A wonderful mix of informed and ill-informed; the too acedemic and the too emotive. Quiggin and Troppo because they were frequently linked from BP. Since they were so frequently linked I’d check in every now and then anyways.

Why do you like reading blogs?
# The desire for the new and the need for it now! Immediacy, the cut and thrust, clashing personas: it is an electronic stage play. And also because of genius like “What about the drug-crazed cyborgs?” by Don Arthur

How much time a day do you spend reading blogs?
# Far too long. Three-four hours

Why do you like commenting on blogs?
# Intellectual stimulation and challenge. Thinking about other things than the mundane. Ego. And because it’s like drugs. I see commenting on blogs as no different to having discussions with my friends.

What’s your favourite Australian political blog, and why?
# BP as above.

2022 years ago

I get quite a bit of my news from blogs (although I am in the unusual position of listening to the news all day for a living; if I didn’t the proportion from online sources would be higher)

Why? Think about it this way:

Tim Dunlop v Greg Sheriden
Ken Parish v Gerard Henderson
Chris Sheil v Miranda Devine
Mark Bahnisch v Andrew Bolt

The list goes on (and you can substitute Phillip Adams or some left op-edist/rightist bloggers if you want). Who do I want to spend my day reading, who is going to inform, educate, entertain and provoke? It’s what the kids call a no brainer. Partly this is because newspaper writers have constraints of space etc bloggers don’t but really the substance of alot of blogging is also superior.

2022 years ago

You’re spot on there Amanda. The ability to read something AND to be able to comment on it is amazing.

It also would be good for a lot of these established commentators to have to endure the rigors of blogging rather than the sweet knockdowns of the letters pages.

2022 years ago

“I’m not so sure why there was so much interest in “defenestration”. It’s an excellent word, and one of my favourites.”

And may I add you’ve just inspired me to dig out by copy of Dario Fo’s Accidental Death Of An Anarchist! Best. Defenestration. Related. Play. Ever.

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Always loved the title of that play, Jess. What’s it all about?

My favourite defenestration is the Defenestration of Prague in 1618…

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Thanks heaps, Amanda. Would be happy to go head to head with Andrew Bolt anytime! I seem to remember reading that he has started a blog. Perhaps inspired by MsFits and/or the Pandagate saga…

2022 years ago

“What’s it about”? Let’s see, Jess has told us it involves defenestration, and looking at the title… hmmm.

Maybe an anarchist falls out a window?

Nic White
2022 years ago

haha thats not actually Andrew Bolt, its someone taking the piss. One of the Daves if I remember rightly.

Being reasonably new to the blogging arena I just read CB’s election campagin roundups and Ms Fits just for laughs until a few weeks ago when I started reading the rest of the blogosphere. Everyone’s good in their own way I think, its intelligent comments and discussion coupled with a range of good topics uncovered and assessed by the blogger that really makes a blog, which is why the smaller ones dont do as well.

2022 years ago

I have a job that involves being online all the time (that I’m at work), so I read a lot of blogs. I don’t think of them as a source of hard news, but opinion and commentary, yes, of course. And idiosyncratic information.
Nothing has yet replaced Back Pages as the Australian party-political blog.

2022 years ago

That Andrew Bolt blog – one of the Daves? Not to my knowledge, but what do I know?!

It’s a high-larious political kinda play It’s about an anarchist falling out of a window.

Some plays don’t actually make good reading – they need to be performed on the stage as God intended – but ADOAC isn’t one of them.

2022 years ago

And that slightly confusing and\or poorly written last line REALLY means – read it. You’ll laff. It funny and good times make happy. Chortlism.

2022 years ago

Ahem. Excuse me for DOMINATING this comment section, but I feel I should point out my trendy little strikethrough code (intended for the “high-larious political kinda play” line) didn’t work. And now I look like an idiot. And I’ve compounded it with my last two posts.

I’m running away now, if anyone needs me I’ll be hiding under the bed with some Communists.