Bullseye. I decided it was time to enter the ranks of the bloggers, so I penned an article in the Herald which I hoped would elicit some comment. I said that “bloggers don’t write, they ejaculate” amongst other highly uncomplementary things, and added that “the blogosphere has been hijacked by sociopathic egos with extreme views who spend most of their time attacking each other”. You can read the piece below this post.
As expected, I was soundly bitch-slapped by the blogging fraternity. I instantly entered the blogosphere as “quote of the day” on Iain Dale’s diaryand was subjected to excoriation throughout the blogosphere. For those who don’t know, Iain Dale is the blogger’s blogger, following Guido Fawkes daily screenwipe. Alex Massie also quoted my column extensively in his blog.
This rather beautifully confirmed what I had argued, namely that the blogosphere is a new frontier of ego-journalism, in which the content of the contributions matters far less than he identity of the blogger.
This is more than a little worrying, because this is the new journalism that I will presumably have to adapt to as the old print media declines into insolvency.
Like most journalists I am a bit of an egotist as well, so I’m not saying that I am in some way morally superior. You can’t pontificate day in day out without being just a tad, well, self-opinionated. But the blogosphere is technologically determined in that it is a field which has been taken over by a particular kind of savvy geek. It’s immediacy and its lack of any cost-base makes it ideal for people who love their computers and hate the world.
Which I don’t. I like the idea of the internet – a digital democracy where all can have their say – but I loathe the practical reality of it. The people who tend to post comments after newspaper articles tend to be of a particular personality type, who indulge their rage behind the anonymity of silly pseudonyms. It is a little like speaking to an audience wearing Donnie Darko masks. This has now become institutionalised in the form of the blog, which is an extension of this kind of citizen journalism.
I also hate the practice of working on the web – links and search engine optimisation strategies – which is about as interesting as programming a video recorder. I can’t bring myself to start blogging at one am either. Immediacy is everything on the blog, and it is a medium which positively discourages reflection and any kind of serious thought. It is, as I said, a medium of ejaculation – you splurge your emotions, raw and runny, straight onto the electronic page, and – click – it’s away and ‘out there’ for eternity. Probably.
I have written for decades very widely all sorts of political, cultural and economic issues in the Sunday Herald, The Herald, The Guardian and The New Statesman. But I have never had any presence on the blogosphere before. I can see now that the way to making a name for yourself here is to attack the bloggers, as personally as possible.
So perhaps I should say that Iain Dale is a right wing bigot who writes a totally unreliable and poisonous diary of self promotion. Guido Fawkes, aka Paul Staines, is a demented crypto-fascist who has made racism respectable on the web. Alex Massie writes a turgid and tiresome and frequently incomprehensible column and trades on his name.
Hey, I think I’m getting the hang of this! Roll on the google ads…