The Dubliner ‘On Talking Shite’…

Dubliner on Irish bloggersInteresting piece in the Dubliner Magazine, which they have kindly reproduced on their blog. It’s fairly lengthy, which may be one reason why it’s not thus far attracted a huge amount of comment on the Irish blogosphere. The title is provocative (On Talking Sh*te, a backhanded

The title is provocative (On Talking Sh*te, a backhanded complement to Blather.net or, possibly, Twenty and his fictitious smoking Dublin bars), although it is probably most interesting in considering how mainstream Irish media outlets have so far barely begun to answer the challenge of online engagement of new readers.A couple of thoughts occur. One, Ireland is probably one of the less ‘mature’ blogosphere markets. Whilst

A couple of thoughts occur. One, Ireland is probably one of the less ‘mature’ blogosphere markets. Whilst it is probably true that at the moment relatively few of us (if any) can earn a living without income from elsewhere (in my case from two cross channel mainstream newspapers), the efficacy of blogging does not rely on the capacity of any given blog to pay its own way. Much more critical is the financial independence of the blogger from his or her output.

One of the most influential centre right bloggers in the US for instance is Glenn Reynolds, who is a Professor of Law at the University of Tennessee, and Instapundit. Whether or not his blog makes him money, it is pretty certain that he doesn’t rely on it to make him his income. Yet it is through his work as a blogger that he has been able to wield influence far beyond that of his professorial seat in

The key is independence, that and attention to details which often, for a basket of reasons, are routinely ignored by the mainstream media. Sometimes that arises from nervousness given the potential for litigation against organisations that that hold large liquid assets. But more often, I suspect, the dominance of narrative (although some may argue it’s a direct result of

But more often, I suspect, the dominance of narrative (although some may argue it’s a direct result of ‘Jackanory politics’) within the traditional forms of the media, often forces critical detail out of the process. One major utility of bloggers, particularly groups of bloggers, comes when they feast (variously and separately) on fact-finding and mulling over detail.

The Dubliner on John Waters” />This is what Pete calls the ‘vocational role’ of bloggers, which arises from the frustration of intelligent readers with the failing of mainstream (often specific rather than endemic) to hold those who hold power to account. That’s not suggest that all blogging is good. It is a genuinely popular form means it can be turned to whatever domestic or mundane trick the blogger wishes.

Irish blogging is fairly healthy, as the Irish Blog Awards this Saturday will no doubt demonstrate, but the political blogosphere has been slow to mature. The Dubliner piece suggests there is perhaps not the same need for politicians to communicate online in Ireland, since (on both sides of the border) TDs and MLAs are already close to their constituents.

But there is a weakness elsewhere that Irish bloggers could move to fill a gap in: the proper conduct of government, in it’s policy, foresight and planning. It has also been obvious that at times of crisis (and mild hysteria) like the striking down of the law of Statutory Rape by the Supreme Court, most of the intelligent examination of the issue was to be had online, rather than in the mainstream.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty