August 5, 2004
Convention De-Briefing Rolls On: August 4-5
Wherein a reader asks: what is good event blogging and how is it done? Author responds: "So if you bring local knowledge, which is always people-based, into an event, the blog will produce local knowledge about the event-- and that's what you want." Plus: The Manchurian Candidate and the Kerry convention. And the post I wanted to write, but didn't: the song list.
August 4. Cedar Pruitt is the Online Content Manager for the Center for Media & Community at EDC, an educational nonprofit in Boston. She joins in the de-briefing with a practical question. “I’m writing a short article that attempts to be a primer for Event Blogging.”
Can event blogging be done well? If so, what is the framework for bloggers reporting on an event? What are the crucial elements that will aid the delivery of information of value?
An excellent question. I’m not an experienced event blogger, but I have tried it twice with two sprawling events: the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland (see this) and the recent convention in Boston (see that.) Others have done much more of it, and you should ask them.
Rebecca Blood recommends as high practice in event blogging the Daily Summit, a temporary weblog by David Stevens. His was done at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, held in Johannesburg in 2002. See also Rebecca Blood’s tips on blogging the convention (which apply to many other events) and her own reflections after Boston, where she volunteered as a celebrity “minder.”
Now your questions: Can event blogging be done well? I would say the only premise under which it is worth doing is just that: we can do this really well if we… No one knows that it can’t, so just assume that it can be done to a high standard and that you, somehow, will figure it out. If not this time, the next.
Next question was: what is the framework for bloggers reporting on an event? What are the crucial elements that will aid the delivery of information of value? Safety tip: you really shouldn’t ask professors about “frameworks.” They have way too many for your practical needs. Plus, half will suffer from the strange defect of looking obvious. Still, you asked. Now I’m obligated.
The solution to “what is the right framework for event blogging?” begins with a prior problem: finding, attracting and “holding” in one place—hopefully, at your blog—a motivated and interested-in-this-event user base. Who are the users, and what do you know about them and their stake in the event? should precede: how do I blog this thing? Solve the first problem and it will give out answers to the second.
I say this for the transparent reason that users and their needs offer basic guidance in “how to”—- like… make it useful and absorbing to them! But how are they going to find it, and who’s going to tell them where to look? And how will they still be using it six months after? And where will it take them? Solutions to those problems point you toward an initial approach.
Know your audience: isn’t that a bit obvious? Yes. (And I warned you.) But there’s a subtler reason for starting with users. Mary, our event blogger, will find it easier to succeed if Mary knows who sent her to this place— which user community she serves. And the more intimate she is with those people, the better her lines of communication, the easier it will be to do a great job.
If Mary thinks of herself as delegated, not just designated, to blog the Ajax Summit, then she has to be blogging Ajax for someone, a population, a public, a community, a “crowd.” Her success depends not only on her ability to extract knowledge, insight and story from the summit itself, but also the quality of her connection to that user crowd and its obsessions. For example, she might be one of them, a full-fledged and full-time member of the mini-public she is reporting back to. That’s a good connection.
An event blog is thus a four-way transaction: there’s 1.) the summit or similar event, attended by 2.) Mary, the author, recorder, and blogger, who is reporting back to 3.) users with their shared obsessions, and sending the results into 4.) the blog sphere and online world, which either will or will not react to the site and hook it up via linking and commentary to worlds unknown. No “framework” is worth anything if it cannot handle those four factors, and allow them to feed answers to one another.
Who are the likely, certain and possible users, what do they need to feel well represented by our presence at Ajax, and how well wired is our blogger to them? Often the users for an event blog will be people who can’t be there, but want someone there for them— their eyes and ears, yes, but also the hand they cannot raise, the question they don’t have a chance to ask, the astonishment they cannot experience directly.
So if you bring local knowledge, which is always people-based, into an event, the blog will produce local knowledge about the event— and that’s what you want to send back. I don’t believe in “covering” things in the abstract; there is no such activity. Same with blogging things.
Doesn’t mean you have to solicit questions from readers and ask them because you’re their on site rep. I mean you could, but there’s nothing magic in it. Good answers to: for whom am I blogging this? can derive just from thinking about it, by writing to one person as a representative of the whole, or by having really good data about traffic into your site. The important thing is to feel sent, and in a sense deputized to blog.
Some other things that strike me as crucial:
- Add new knowledge. An interview with a key participant adds new knowledge. So does a link to material not at the event but relevant to it. A reporter doesn’t just gather knowledge. She provokes it into existence.
- Preview as well as review things. I wrote six posts about the convention before it began. An event blog starts the narrative up before the event unfolds. I began mine the day the credentialed bloggers in Boston were notified, nineteen days before the convention opened. This early work gave me a story—a set of puzzles—that I brought with me to Boston, along with my laptop, digital audio recorder, cell phone, and credentials.
- Blog a Big Question. Your blogging, which will have many “little” parts, should try to answer at least one big question. For me it was: how come more and more journalists show up to cover conventions that mean less and less, according to those same journalists? By treating this as a mystery—where the answer is not obvious—I generated an assignment for myself when I arrived, a job to do in Boston. (Answers here and here.) Mary is ready to shine as event blogger when she has given herself a job to which no one else there has been assigned.
- Particpation plus. An event blogger, seems to me, should participate in the event, and be a human part of it, immersed. Do what the crowds do, go where the people go, and have that “average” experience, but also do what your average attendee does not do— which means heading back stage, interviewing players minor and major, attending press events, hunting down documents, digging up information, asking for things, connecting the parts, moving the camera up to 5,000 feet and down to underground level. Want to add value? Get ready to work twice as hard as the people who are there: participation plus. When they’re partying, you’re at a desk deciphering your notes.
- Night and Day. On the other hand, bloggers are ideally suited to incorporate into accounts of the day’s events what happens after dark, when conviviality takes over the agenda. Don’t settle for the day-side view because that’s like favoring the summit’s ego over its id. Many people told me that the real business at Davos was done at night.
- Simpler solution: have talent. There’s a whole other kind of answer to the questions you asked, Cedar. And that’s talent. Send a writer with talent—style, insight, economy, genius if you can find it—and let that writer find a language adequate to the event. Do it that way, and you may not need a framework. Few are willing to risk that, however. And talent is always scarce.
- Pair a blogger on site with one at home. Our blogger, Mary, is chasing down the event. She can’t be chasing memes on the Web. But the blog needs links and background stuff. It has to be tuned in to the conversation online, especially if others are blogging the same event and journalists are covering it. The easy answer is to have someone working the Net, while Mary works the hall. They do the blog together. Adds value.
I haven’t talked about inviting comments at the blog and feeding those into the coverage; using audio, video and still images; tapping Technorati, Feedster, Google and other services to enrich your account; pulling guest bloggers in, and other things that could make all the difference. One more factor to close this out: (I warned you.)
I think there is great value in putting your blogger into event situations that are strange, puzzling, unfamiliar, “from another world,” or just hard to understand— meaning: initially opaque and confusing. My final advice to Mary and the Center for Media & Community in Boston: Get yourself into those situations. Write your way out.
August 4. That hyper-local Jersey blogging diva with reporter’s chops, Debbie Galant, (see her nifty experiment here) writes in with what she admits is “off off topic” and not really a question. It began with her asking if I had seen Manchurian Candidate, a political thriller that seemed to rush from the headlines to the theatres .
In the same way that “Wag the Dog” marked a particular moment in politics and cynicism, it seems that this [movie] will too. (Particularly in light of the 2000 election and current speculation that this latest orange alert was actually political). It seemed very real, even for a thriller. But the convention seems so much less true to the spirit of the times. Like some terribly formal, old-fashioned parlor drama, or some kabuki dance. A form needing to be filled, but having no real relationship with our time. (My teenager was amazed to hear that they once actually picked candidates at these things. And a friend of mine who’s 41 only vaguely remembered that that was the case.)
“No real relationship with our time.” There’s big truth in that. However, conventions do have a real relationship to the politics of our time. For example, conventions are fluent in message-speak. Politics and politicians are fluent too.
It’s the politics that is sometimes tone deaf to the culture and what sociologist Raymond Williams called “the structure of feeling” in a given age. Awkward phrase for an elusive thing, but this, I think, is what Debbie gets at in her lament. Norman Mailer was, I believe, saying the same thing about the Democrats’ of 1960: “The life of politics and the life of myth had diverged too far.”
One could say, however, that it’s the job of the speeches, especially the “big” speeches, to address this head on. In at least one case—Obama—it actually worked that way.
Matt Welch, the blogger and writer for Reason, wanted to do the same story I wanted to do out of Boston. Neither of us got it. Welch writes at his weblog: “Of all the stories I wished I’d done last week, that one ranks near the top.” Me too.
It was the story of the musical choices at the convention— the songs they played, when they played them, and why, and what it might have said on the planes of politics and culture (not to mention logic.) In order to do that story the right way, the responsible way, we needed complete data about the songs—a play list—and access to the people who programmed it: the DJs for the Dems.
Well, I asked. I asked every office I had access to. Nobody had the list. Nobody knew how to get the list. Nobody had the necessary pull with the Kerry operation to get the DJ’s and producers to talk to me. I failed, and never wrote the post. (Andrea Harris of Twisted Spinster did: about one of the song choices.) Meeting in the corridors of the Fleet Center, Matt Welch and I talked in our “what if…” voices about stuff we would have said if the DNC press operation had been competent enough to provide us—two very interested writers—with information and access. (Of course, maybe I wasn’t competent enough in hunting it down.)
I mention this as an example of how the convention was tone deaf to itself, just as some of the musical selections were tone deaf— sort of like using “When a Man Loves a Woman” in a mattress ad.
A pop song cliche, “We are fam-a-lee,” one of the most played songs at the convention, is an occasion to ask about the limits and uses of family to describe a nation of 300 million or a political party of millions. It’s a very insidious comparison. In fact, we ought to ask if a theme song like that is an example of “family values” or an insult to them. Are we fam-a-lee? Or is politics more about the needs and interests of strangers?
Bruce Springsteen’s “No Surrender,” a tune I have memorized, contains this insight: “We learned more from a three-minute record, baby, than we ever learned in school.” My idea was to ask someone from the teachers’ union about that. My other idea was: wanna know how important African Americans are to the party? Read the song list. It would have been a great post. Matt and I knew it. But bloggers at the convention couldn’t make the convention any smarter than it wanted to be.
: Notes, reactions and links…
This post began with another, which led to another. See PressThink:
Post Convention De-Briefing: You Ask the Questions
Convention De-Briefing Begins: August 2-3
Matt Welch, Beautiful Day, Wretched Musical Choice.
For an example of a participant (presenter) blogging effectively from an event he’s a part of, see: Jeff Jarvis, Transparency and the news: Notes from Aspen. Here’s Jarvis adding new knowledge to Aspen, then sharing it with readers: A blog list for media guys. Here are his presentation notes, reproduced from Power Point online. Jarvis puts into practice a model of the transparent presenter.
Posted by Jay Rosen at August 5, 2004 4:45 AM
I just wanted to say thanks for your thoughtful answer to Cedar's question. I work with her at EDC, and have been exploring event blogging for the last year or so. Last December, I was a civil society delegate at the World Summit on the Information Society, which was actively blogged by David Steven and his DailySummit.net colleagues. Along with being a delegate, I had press credentials as well, so I blogged quite actively there and had the opportunity to work alongside David for several days. They were an extraordinary group of journalists, and the fact that they went out of their way to bring together British and Arab reporters on their team helped provide linguistic and cultural diversity that's often sorely lacking in event blogs.
Along with DailySummit, OneWorld TV and Highway Africa News Agency did some great work from WSIS, the former a group of young people conducting video blogging, the latter a group of Sub-Saharan African journalism students filing text, video and audio for South African Broadcasting.
I think your notion of "participation plus" is an important one, and it’s certainly something I’ve tried to do in my blogging . This past June, I participated in the UN’s planning meeting for the next WSIS summit, scheduled to take place in Tunis in November 2004. The planning meeting, which occurred in Tunisia as well, reached a crisis point when the Tunisian delegation tried to block one of our civil society delegates, a member of the Tunisian Human Rights League, from speaking during the plenary of governmental delegates from around the world. She’d just given an interview to the NY Times in which she was quite critical of the Tunisian government’s draconian Internet restrictions, and they were not pleased, to say the least. To complicate matters, our emergency meetings to resolve the situation were thwarted when large numbers of Tunisians overwhelmed our meetings, yelling, stomping and preventing delegates from discussing a compromise.
Since I was blogging the event as well as serving as a delegate, I managed to document the Tunisian’s tactics through text and video blogging. My blog entries, along with a handful of others produced by civil society delegates, were redistributed through various human rights discussion lists and were picked up by European media. Additionally, governmental delegations requested copies of the blog since they did not witness the incidents first-hand. Eventually – and to our surprise – the chairman of the conference announced that the Tunisian government’s objections had effectively been overruled by other delegations, and that our human rights delegate would indeed be allowed to speak. It was a very dramatic moment in a UN conference that no one expected to have any drama.
The civil society delegation is still examining the events that transpired that week in Tunisia in the hopes of avoiding being strong-armed by governments unfriendly to human rights in the future. One particular lesson that struck home for me is that we’ll have to be better organized for future events, particularly the actual WSIS summit when it takes place in Tunis a year from this November. I’m hoping that the folks at DailySummit.net will be able to participate in these UN events, for their coverage of the last summit was impeccable. But I also hope that we as civil society representatives will be able to organize a coordinated event blogging strategy, so we can ensure that all activities at the summit, both good and bad, get covered from a noncommercial, independent, civil society perspective. Coordinating these blogging activities with international human rights networks and independent media will hopefully increase the likelihood of mainstream media taking greater (or swifter) notice of crises and protests that might occur at these events, with greater understanding and empathy of the role civil society is playing to ensure online freedom of expression, human rights, etc.
Again, thanks for your comments….
Program Director, EDC Center for Media & Community
Producer, Andy Carvin’s Waste of Bandwidth
Blog a Big Question.
Jay's answer to his big question: Journalists really didn't know why they were at the convention and neither did the convention's spin masters. Both held, and were acting on, absurd views. The real reason the journalists were there had become (note the past tense), according to Jay, the obligation to write the next tail segment of a backwards pointing arrow and attach the new segment with backward looking prose. To note and document, in medias res, the historical authority that is present in any tradition/ritual. That was the unconcious, but real, pressthink behind sending thousands upon thousands of reporters and allocating three hours of network broadcast time.
Journalists were basically there for much the same reason they attend Easter Mass by the Pope - plus. The media, ever careful to provide secular, if not entirely neutral coverage, might describe the historical and ritual significance of the religious trappings and take note of any departures from tradition, but they are primarily there because Easter Mass at the Vatican is an important ritual for many of their viewers and editors/news executives want to be a participant in connecting their viewers, and their memories, to the current event.
But Jay suggested more than that (ergo the plus) when deciding to send reporters to cover political conventions. Jay claims roots:
I wouldn't say they are necessarily aware of it, but what editors and news executives are doing when they send crews to the conventions is claiming some roots in the republic, attempting to give themselves and their work some historical weight. And that aim is not inherently absurd.
Jay didn't attempt to report to his readers the consensus view, or varied (absurd) views, from journalists (he said, she said) about why they thought
they were there. Dissatisfied with the already apparent (and quickly confirmed by Mears) answer to his planned question, "Why are you here?", Jay discovered his own answer to his question (I said).
Jay did provide valuable information about how Rod O'Connor thought about the convention, and therefore insight into polithink about conventions and relating to the media. There was valuable information about Edsall's thinking about how bloggers could enliven the pressthink orthodoxy by providing an unorthodox view and ubiquitously available street corner conversation/debate.
But when Jay answered his own question, I was left feeling more informed about what Jay thought about what the press thought at the convention and less informed about what the press actually said about their thinking. I'm left wondering whether an independant editor might have asked if Jay had sufficient evidence that "the press" was acting in a way that reflected such absurd thinking, or whether there had been a change in their thinking (however slight) that manifested itself during the convention?
That must be part of what Jay meant when he described contributions a blogger could make that a journalist could not - and perhaps a pitfall of blogging.
Hello? (tap, tap) Is this thing on ...?
I can't stomach any more of this crap this morning.
I started skimming Jay Rosen's attempt, yet once again, to build blogging up by demeaning non-blogging.
The very "meme" of blogging as a separate and distinct, very special, form of writing is the bloggers Canon.
Rebecca Blood, one of the originators of the genre, confirms the delusion:
"Understand the role you've been given."
Cogent discussion, never said something called a blog is necessarily a bunch of bullshit lies in each and every case.. designed to impress the reader of the bloggers many and vastly wonderful talents. (May have implied that, but that's an over-application of the 80/20 rule or, rather, the 99/1 rule in the case of blogging.)
"Choose the role you will play. What do you like to write about? There are as many different weblogs as there are people. No matter what the DNC wants you to write about, instead, play to your own strengths."
Well, that'd be the difference between a journalist and a blogger. Ms. Blood is a journalist, (and a published author, iirc from way back,) no matter what she calls herself in this respect:
A journalist writes what they want to write about and plays to their own strengths, unless they are an idiot. The DNC played the journalists a lot less than the bloggers, because journalists have experience that pertains.
Bloggers just have their own highly inflated opinion of themselves, as their strength, and the coverage I saw reflected that so obviously I can't believe this discussion continues.
If bloggers had actually HAD ANY BRAINS WHATSOEVER, they would-a implemented the suggestions Ms. Blood had.
But the bloggers HAD TO BE THE STORY, and they still do.
Shameful, imo/o. So I agree with what Tim said although I haven't read Jay Rosen's appeal to the masses that he and all the other bloggers are doing something journalists CANNOT DO.
Bloggers are doing something no responsible writer would WANT to do, MAKE THEMSELVES THE LEAD IN THEIR OWN STORY, which is a not-too-subtle difference.
Meta-blogging is more-a the same-ole, although there's a grain or two of sand in the Sahara of all the meta-blogging going on.
You guys and gals ever spend much time reading actual news, other than about each other??
Mr. "Ben Franklin",
I'm not sure if you mean me when you address John Jay. I'm flattered, if so. My first name actually is James, but I go by my initials or my middle name of Jay, btw.
My last name is Toran, and I may have incorrectly assumed that most anybody bothering to read my essay-rants would already know my use of synonyms.
I believe what you are saying is you prefer reading essays than news.
My attacks against using self-referential loud-mouths as sources of anything other than entertainment is succinctly summed up in your comment "Everybody knows it [news, as reported by journalists] sucks."
First of all, you have a deficient understanding of everybody. Everybody is not a computer-phile, and most everybody does not have a computer, nor food.
Libertarians are "nut-cases" who get an inordinate amount of air time.
Libertarians started Blogaria as their method, and it's working. It almost made Dean the Democratic Presidential candidate.
Did anybody vette the politics of the bloggers at the DNC?? I only know of a few of them, (Dave Winer, Doc was invited iirc, Dr. Weinberger, Taeggan Goddard (sp?), off the top of my head). But most of those I'd heard of were vile in their attacks on Kerry during the run-up, and most've implied they are Libertarian and most probably voted for Nader in '00, or didn't bother to vote at all. That'd be because "there was no difference" where there, in hindsight, obviously was.
These guys and gals are quite successful at what they do, which is sell snake-oil like "Open Source", and *nix and other various nostrums.
These things are crap, and it's snake-oil as remedy.
And they're subtle, to some.
So yes, they are ONE of the greatest threats to anybody that places any value on reason as a methodology, precisely because they pretend their putrid politics is based on reason. And when it's shown that their crap NOT based on reason, well then they claim that this is where Pure Objectivity is not possible so it's best to avoid it anyway.
What I've been doing, primarily, is what the pros in sports have been doing for years. The coach will sometimes talk, indirectly, to their players through the press... Done in many areas besides sports, of course. I'm trying to point out that the press has become as infatuated with blogs as the bloggers have with themselves.
The Libertarians, who are about putting THEIR liberty and freedom ABOVE EVERY BODY ELSE'S liberty and freedom..
..well, they've apparently got the press snowed by posing as Democrats and Republicans, because I see so much of the kind-a crap your passing off get accepted as fact, amongst the journalists.
Because, most being PR experts either professionally or instinctively (best-selling authors, consultants and all that).. well they know the Press can sell things better than advertisements do, if they can be controlled or snowed.
And the Libertarians are are backed by those that hate America, so yeah I take it as just ONE more serious threat.
Btw, "Ben", Ben Franklin was an American.
Outta here, mebbe for a while.
"JamesJay: I would reply to your comments but I cannot make sense of them,
Sorry, I get that a lot. Never claimed to be a journalist.
"perhaps because they are loaded with such animus, jammed with insults and seem to express some kind of all-out disgust with bloggers, the origins of which, and the reasons for which, elude me."
As George Mason said.
It's an extension of disgust for techies who think they are superior because they understand tech. You ever read ESR, Jay, in article something like "How to ask a correction the right way"? I read down to this statement, "It's the programmer's RIGHT to be arrogant", and this is the *nix attitude that bloggers have copied.
It's okay for bloggers to be arrogant, because they are righting the wrongs that professional journalists commit (amongst all the other wrongs they wanna right, except they have no idea what they're talking about, most-all the time.). Meanwhile, bloggers emulate the WORST practices of journalism, and saying this is BEST PRACTICE.
"Bloggers are ridiculous, vain, deluded, lying-to-themselves, and mostly talent-less sons of bitches, who parade around like they're somehow important but they aren't, and their stuff is sub-trivial."
Bloggers CAN BE all these, and demonstrate that on a regular basis.
My problem is that bloggers are one or the other:
1) Not aware that they are being this way
2) Trying to say that THIS IS THE BETTER WAY TO COMMUNICATE
I can't tell, so I give bloggers "the benefit of the doubt" and assume #2. If so, it's a lie. When any person is BEING EXACTLY AS YOU DESCRIBE, then that would NOT be a good form of communication.
But the perception makes the reality. Any objectivity thrown into a discussion would rather crumble that supposed-reality pretty quick.
"And you are amazed that some seem to have bought the hype."
No, I sure did. I'm amazed THAT IT CONTINUES. This is apparently an example of a non-self-correcting system of communication, and that would be due to the fact that a person that is being "ridiculous, vain, deluded, lying-to-themselves, and mostly talent-less sons of bitches,"..
..well, Jay Rosen, can you explain how ANY person who is being that way is gonna see themselves at ALL honestly?? How is this possible...??
But blogging is supposedly THE ONLY AUTHENTIC HONEST WRITING, I'm supposed to believe.
Why?? And why does such a glaring and obvious self-contradiction go un-noticed, by bloggers??
"That's the best I can do in paraphrasing your view."
That's a pretty good paraphrasing of PART of my view of blogging.
"What 'cogent discussion' is supposed to emerge out of that? I don't see how it could."
Well, I'm the eternal optimist, in some respects.
But there isn't much point in trying to discuss the BETTER blogging vs. THE WORST TRIPE that is blogged as long as the fundamental starting point in ALL these conversations is that bloggers "get it" better than non-bloggers and all blogging is better than all non-blogging.
You'd intellect your way into the fantasy that bloggers would at least get blogging better than non-bloggers, but it is otherwise.
It's plainly and obviously a case of bloggers not being able to look at their own writing with even the LEAST bit of objectivity. Because objectivity is to avoided like the plague and is not wiki-like enuf and all those other memes...
If you're gonna buy THAT one, then no there is little cogent discussion possible. May benefit a lurker, however, who knows...?
"Another thing I don't get, JamesJay: you say today's post is another attempt "to build blogging up by demeaning non-blogging." Huh? The first question was: how does one do event blogging well? I answered it."
There you go.
Why was this the question?? Why was the question not "how do you do good writing about an event??" Why "how does one do event BLOGGING", like it's some special form of writing when it isn't special EXCEPT TO PEOPLE WHO HAFTA SEE THEMSELVES AS SPECIAL.
"There is nothing in it-- not a word I could find--that demeans "nonblogging." Is that even a category?
Just like danah didn't demean non-bloggers, when saying over at Salon which I got from here "article" "Demeaning bloggers: the NYTimes is running scared":
"yet this practice of self-reflection is precisely what makes blogging a valuable contribution to public discourse."
"Bloggers are highly critical, questioning creatures. Whatever their subject, they document their observations and examine them inquisitively."
I like danah so much I didn't post the reply I started at Many2Many (yet, still sitting there).
So I allow that maybe she is unaware of what she is saying about non-bloggers, by describing bloggers thusly.
I got news for you two.
(Mebbe I should spell it out. The stuff you folks say is SO SPECIAL about blogging has been going on for millenia. The difference between your definition of a blog and my definition of a website, can you address that question Jay??)
The second question was about the convention and American culture and it doesn't mention blogging. So I am left with one big "huh?"
I'm sorry, me too. Which second question...?
"Free-floating hostility doesn't make points that can be argued with,"
I think it is, rather, applying logic to the situation which makes it difficult to argue with. If you think I'm doing anything much different right now as I'm writing than what you're doing right now reading..
You would be mis-imaging all my "hostility". I'm just-a sittin' here typing away calmly.
What I'm writing about is one huge crap-pot full-a crap being presented as wisdom, so mebbe the subject matter intervenes and gives a false picture.
Why is the discussion not about writing, as Rebecca Blood's piece almost was, rather than blogging again...???
"and it certainly doesn't make for discussion. And I find it puzzling, weird that people come to blogs to tell bloggers how stupid and unimportant their activity is."
People who are full-a their own memes of self-importance don't much cotton to being told that, no, they aren't QUITE as important as they wanna believe they are.
It hurts their feelings, and I'm sorry for that.
I'm being gentle as I can, and still try to get the point across.
Blogging is a cultural phenomenon intended to sell crap to the unsuspecting. Mainly the crap that EVERYONE IS IMPORTANT.
Well, they are, on several levels.
But what we're talking here is poor writing being called good writing, which is nowhere's near any the "every single life is equally important, tho circumstances make it appear otherwise" level.
I'm talking writing, and you are talking diary entries posing as journalism.
Blogging is, unless you choose to defy reality, a form of "fluff journalism" at best, and more normally yellow-journalism to "sell" ones geo-political religio-economic worldview as valid...??
And the overriding primary purpose is to validate the self-esteem of the blogger. And that will continue, until bloggers choose to lower themselves to being stinkin' journalists and writers of all the "lower forms" of writing...??
Who's discussing these two issues and where and when?
If not us here, now.
PS Btw Jay, if your two posts here are a subtle attempt to justify your deleting of some of the public discourse, arbitrarily as you see fit..
..it's your website, I was just pointing out some disadvantages on one of my other posts.
Now what IS weird is that my writing here could be considered blogging and I am spending time doing it for no money.
THAT is weird, because I've been told that "ALL you care about is money", by one of the "Open Source" liars.
No, everything doesn't boil down to a simple question of money. But unless you buy into the meme Dr. Lessig is sending 'round about "Free Culture"...
Well, here's my definition of a blogger and it has nothing to do with writing whatsoever.
You might be a blogger if you feel the odds are MORE likely you'll get GREAT writing from those who couldn't sell their crap for even one dime. (Congrats to Chris Locke, btw, but that's just another spike in a potential cottage industry, doing it that way.)
You might be a blogger, if you think/feel folks divide into those who get it and those who don't, easily by a clearly demarcated line.
You might be a blogger if you are all about inclusion and anyone who doesn't get it probably doesn't blog.
You might be a blogger if hypocricy is actually THE BEST TOOL TO USE, to think/feel/intuit your way down life's "information superhighway".
Well, I'm a blogger as I said and that last one is on me right now. But I'm not blogger ALL THE TIME, and I hope very rarely.
I hope most-other times I'm just a writer, when I'm typing.
Are you the one developing the low-cost Google, a blogger yourself.
You see, the reason I ask:
"Much of the media, including bloggers, is there at least in part to promote themselves, glad-hand with colleagues, etc."
It's these "in part" areas of the discussion that deluded people make factual statements that are almost entirely false.
Bloggers, by training, are their almost exclusively to promote their own brand. Yes, journalists do that also which is how they sell papers and make a living.
There's a subtle difference here which has escaped you, obviously by the way you worded it backwards.
More correct would-a been, "Although bloggers are almost exclusively there at least to promote themselves, glad-hand with colleagues, etc., the media do that also." Subtlety in wording IS actually important, btw.
"That said, not having a specific *assignment* to fulfill can be compensatorily liberating, if that's indeed an allowable phrase."
Allowable? I catch yer drift, if that's what you mean.
This is called making a disadvantage sound like it's actually an advantage. This is the fount of wisdom that Blogaria has brought. Nonsense actually MAKES THE MOST SENSE!!
You're trying to imply some aspect of liberation, because something freeing is presumed to be an equal compensation for the lack of staff, not to mention talent and experience.
(You probably bought the "Free Software is about democracy and freedom and liberation" and all those lies, also, I presume.)
However, there would be no such-a thing, except from the pov of a blogger.. especially one that is contributing so much time and effort (which I appreciate, btw), iirc.
Still an excuse, tho.
It reminds of the blogger who said, before hand, I'm going with NO DEADLINES, NO ASSIGNMENT FROM ANYBODY, and TO TELL TRUTH.. like there's some connection between honesty and a living a life of literary leisure. None afaik.
Good "job" if you can get it.
Crap, lost a looooong post in reply to Chuck and others, by inattention. I think that was the post that showed that blogging is an EXCEEDINGLY SLO-MO not-even-near-equivalent of an actual conversation, and there are few similiarites to an actual conversation except by denial of reality (and the PC police).
"Ben Franklin", are you claiming that's your given name and not an alias. And I'm afraid I may have misinterpreted, or you may be deceiving me and other readers still.
I do not believe an American would use this phraseology, and I've been told I have a pretty good sense of smell about these things:
"Before I could even begin to care about your visceral disgust over blogging and its ideology you would have to make a case for why or how the sorry field of journalism as practiced in the US could serve as a positive standard for anything. The burden of proof is on journalism from my point of view. If there are three good bloggers on earth, that's just about on par with the quality of American journalism."
Sorry, but I still don't believe you are actually an American. That's the "beauty" of anonymity and writing, both. Btw, I just checked your supposed email address first time and it ends with Japan. Why's that...??
As to some-a the other stuff, no time to do it justice, sorry. But I've admitted I'm a blogger, freely, right on this website. So flog me...;-D
Wired is largely trash technically, in my observation, but not because people work 9 to 5 and you don't. (I have, but don't know, and don't work much a-TALL lately, sheesh...;-)
"Why the blanket identification of the medium with this one narrow segment of its users? If they were overrepresented at the Democratic convention, you should be saying 'I detest the crap that was 'selected' for the convention', not 'I hate bloggers and all that they stand for.'"
I can't tell you how many times I've seen in both blogs and reputable media that Blogaria is VERY heavily and disproportionally weighted towards Libertarians. (That might be because Libertarians believe pure fantasy is pure reality and the individual is ALL-IMPORTANT as long as you, as an individual, agree with them otherwise it's ALL about community. Iow, those who'd be attracted to a large bullhorn in order to blast out a bunch of bull.. Those who voted for Nader or didn't vote because they were too blind to even notice a difference between the candidtates, iow.) NEVER seen anything to the contrary, nor in my observations...
And can you explain to me why the Democratic Party would be wining and dining and passing "swag" out to ANY Libertarians, let alone a group heavily infested (afaik) by them?
I appreciate a diversity of views, but the Democratic Party being led by the thought-leaders of Blogaria, being Libertarians...
I dunno, so past tired..
..maybe it's just me.
The post I lost ended with something like, I'm outta here. This stuff is TOO interesting (to me) or some such.
I hope Kevin Drum wouldn't write this kind-a awkward phraseology:
"The amnesty had been intended to help put down similar outbursts of violence by drawing nationalist guerrillas to the side of Allawi's government — which came to power in late June — and away from fighters using terrorist-style bombings."
Let me explain a few things.
There's no such thing as a "nationalist" who is fighting a terrorist guerilla war against his or her own nation. (And yeah, the wives of the terrorists are also terrorists, and there are other women terrorists, I gather.)
That would be a contradiction in terms, an oxymoron. And just because Mr. al Allawi (if that's not redundant, dunno what "al" means) was not elected, does this reporter think Saddam Hussein is still the legitimate government of Iraq? There's an implication in the wording, which I've only slightly exaggerated.
And the "fighters using terrorist-style bombings" would normally be perceived as terrorists, except in this day and age of tolerance for anything and everything. These same also used terrorist-style-decapitations, for example.
Why was that point so blantantly written off, in this one brief paragraph...?
Problem is there are many groups trying to take out the government of Iraq. There are many groups that DO NOT WANT DEMOCRACY IN IRAQ. There is a large (in number and in munitions, not percentage) contigent that wants Saddam Hussein back in power.
These groups are aligned, although there is "no direct connection".
Do I hafta fill in the blanks...? There's a huge problem in Iraq, and there's a much bigger problem looming: (I mean, besides the ill-health of the Grand Ayatollah al Sistani one of the few voices of wisdom to be found in the region, from what I've read (can't find link)...)-;
And I mean besides the big dark and grotesque problem looming here at home, sounding innocent, which is tolerance of anything and everything:
The problem looming in Iraq is that if and/or when the terrorists take out the current government, (which would be "good news" for the Democrats, but only politically) are they gonna agree who is going to run Iraq...?
Impossible. Then the real problems start when these groups kill each other off, along with the rest of the Iraqi people in the process. (Not to minimize the life-threatening problems there now, of course.)
I mean, does any reasoning person believe that al Sadr (the Shiite who "allegedly" murdered a moderate Shiite) is gonna become partners with the Sunni "freedom-fighters" who are trying to install Hussein...? And are these two groups gonna play well together with al Zarqiwi and the rest of the foreign "freedom fighters"...? How are these 3 gonna get along with the Kurds, and the moderate Shiites and the Persian intellectuals who actually still recall the brief period prior to Hussein...?
That's why I say "impossible", although impossible to state what will happen in the future with certainty.
What does this hafta do with the Press and the group-think in Blogaria...??
Perhaps I'll go back later and go through point by point and expose more of some-a your all's ignorance, perhaps not.
"Journalists or bloggers who entertain the demonstrably accurate notion that the interests of Pu-yi or Allawi cannot rationally be conflated with the interests of "Manchurians" or "Iraqis" are suffering from what we call here on earth REALITY. "
The demonstration will be short-lived.
It is a false analogy, as any rational person with any grounding in reality can tell ya, "Ben Franklin".
Mr. al Allawi is putting his life on the line, and you are claiming to be one of the Founding Fathers, need I say more?
"Did that make them any less freedom fighters for national liberation? Obviously no."
Obviously one curious misconcoction of "liberation" has been exposed, and that would be your's pseudo-friend-of-America-and-Americans.
Which of the people here who are, essentially, totally and completely grounded in their own fantasy is pretty obvious.
Hint: that'd be you. And that would be anybody who holds the views of the "Libbers". Party affiliation is rather moot, it's the group-think of the elite in the Blogdom that is the issue.
Reality bites the hand that feeds it which, in the case of both bloggers and Libertarians (coincidently?) ends up being a feeding frenzy on fantasy. Why do you think bloggers run in packs...?
Dog chases tail, to no avail.