Robin O’Brien-Lynch’s article in the Irish Times has sparked some controversy in the Irish blogosphere. In general, people have been taken aback by what some considered to be negative comments in the article. Bluire is not happy at all…
And anyway, who is Robin OBrien to be telling the Irish Blogging community that we need to post more about Irish matters. The whole point of blogging is that it is unedited and can be whatever you want it to be. Take a look at Megnut or evhead and you will find very little political posting. They are the founders of blogger. You can also look at the blogs of Mena and Ben Trott and you will find very little political blogging. They are the founders of Movable Type.
Bernie is not too happy either:
There are problems with an article written by Robin O’Brien-Lynch in the Irish Times and I think they should be talking points for a gathering of Irish bloggers on Saturday 16 April in Dublin’s Irish Film Institute. I am especially curious about the research methods used to produce the article and the focus on which the article was commissioned.
Robin, fair dues to him, has replied and indeed defended his piece. He responded on Bluire’s blog:
In fairness Laura, just because your blog isnt six to nine months old doesnt make my comment inaccurate, and I wouldnt dream of telling you what to write. Im trying to raise the profile of Irish blogging in order to get more people reading and blogging and maybe start a few debates at the same time. Some of my comments by their nature will be sweeping generalisations. which is unfortunate, but there you go.
And on here he noted:
The aim of the article was to raise interest in blogging in Ireland and get more people involved, and hopefully it will. Of course you can write about whatever you like; I kept a blog a couple of years ago and talked complete smack. But I was approaching the story from a particular angle, comparing it to the American model, and was looking for blogs that discussed Irish poltical, cultural and social matters. I read a lot of blogs every day and I wanted to encourage more participation and variety.
John is right, I couldnt mention Karlins blog as it would look a bit chummy.
Ive been accussed of missing the point by a couple of people, but I think the reverse is true. That might reflect badly on me as a reporter for not getting my point over clearly enough, but thats my problem.
I was looking at a particular concept; whether or not the methods employed by Howard Deans supporters in the last US election could be used here in 2007.
The answer is probably not, because we are a small underpopulated island nation (and because most of the people within the major parties didnt know what I was talking about and had never heard of blogs) and the Irish blogosphere is still in its relative infancy. I approached the story from that angle, came to my conclusion and then mentioned a few sites at the end to get more people involved.
I read lots of Irish blogs every day and to be honest I rarely read the ones about Irish politics for my own personal pleasure. Like Laura said, I cannot imagine how interminably dull it would be if Irish bloggers didnt talk about anything else.
I think Twenty Major may have a point when he said “Maybe its just me but I detect an amount of snobbery in the reaction to this piece. Because the author isnt an established blogger his opinions are given less credence than they would had someone who had their own blog wirtten the article.” It is great to see any article about blogging in the Irish media, even Ed Power’s piece in the Tribune (I never got round to replying to his request for my views) lent oxygen to the Irish blogosphere. So cheers to Robin and Ed, it’s better than a ‘kick in the teeth’ as they say.
I can see how Robin constructed the article, but with my writer’s cap on, I would say that if his original pitch was to discuss Irish political parties using Dean-type methods in 2007, then he failed to adequately do so. The piece kind of did, and kind of didn’t, get its teeth into the story – but then a longer piece would have been needed for that. I am still wondering whether the piece was about Irish blogs in general, Irish blogs talking about politics, Irish political parties using blogs, TDs starting to blog, or many other things. Because there is so little awareness of blogging in Ireland I would think that a piece discussing the use of blogs in a political context would be best left until people know what blogs are, and in general I don’t think the average Irish Times reader has any real conception of blogs. And if such a piece were to be written, it would be better placed in a feature or opinion section, as Ed Power’s was, not in the technology supplement.
On the issue of Dean, back in 2003 I went to an excellent debate in the US Embassy in London about the Dean campaign. Phil Noble was incredibly enthusiastic about the effect that blogging and new media had on the Dean campaign, and predicted that Dean would get the nomination. Jim Ledbetter from Time (who managed to later drink more than me somehow) was laughing at Noble, and as it turns out, rightly so. He predicted that Dean would fall flat and Kerry would get the ticket- as he did.
But back to Twenty Major’s point – snobbery is not the business we are in. And I would like to thank Robin for showing the interest and inclination to write the piece, and to follow up on it by commenting on Irish blogs. Blogger or not, it is the beginning of what I think will be a serious growth in interest about blogging in general.
Something else interesting happened here, and this is may be the first time – a guy in the Irish Times wrote a piece, Irish bloggers responded, the hack responded, we responded. We just got a conversation going here folks, and its about a million times better than getting a letter published. This is the core of what blogging is about, and by writing the piece, Robin managed to make a mini-storm in the Irish blogosphere. And there will be many more!
One of the positive things I have found about the Irish blogging community – and I haven’t been in there all that long myself – is that it is a community. I would never call it a clique as my personal experience of other bloggers has been pretty welcoming to say the least.
The Rainy Day response to this position is that on the net, all politics is local, in the sense that everything is just a click away. To be sure, the parochial is important and events at the foot of the Galtee Mountains are sometimes addressed here, even if it is with “homespun whimsy”; the provincial is significant be it Munster rugby, Bavarian software or Catalonian wine and is not ignored; and the national, from Norway to New Zealand, is taken seriously, but the rest of what you get here is the wide world of the web and that’s because your blogger regards this as a global medium as opposed to a countrywide one. Actually, the proportion of posts relating to Ireland is flattering when one considers the state’s size. Culturally and economically, however, the island is influential beyond its geography, and punches above its weight, as A.J. Liebling, the Shelly of the ring, would have put it, but the issue that most concerns Rainy Day is security in an age of terror and failed states, and Ireland’s policy of neutrality means that it is simply not a player in the bigger game.
I do hope that we are not considered a clique, I am sure that many of the ‘older’ bloggers like myself try to welcome any new bloggers into the fold.