The artificial gauze of quality that lies over the Irish blogosphere…

Una Mullally has a great melancholic piece on why the Irish blogosphere is sooo over… over at Twenty’s blog… She makes some great points in it… (Warning: Una is a blogger who also has a real life…) In some respects is a harmonic out from my own pitch to the Irish blogosphere a few years back… But for me this is her killer punch:

No matter how much it is contested, the blogosphere is horrendously backslapping. It’s like a really insular music scene where everyone feeds from the same influences, collaborates with the same people, goes to each others shows, and then congratulates each other on how brilliant they all are. But everyone is missing the point. Because it doesn’t matter what people who are doing the same thing think about what you’re doing, what matters is who outside your clique you’re reaching.

As a result of this insularity, quality falls, but the artificial gauze of quality lies over even the most incredibly mediocre content due to the blogger’s and commenter’s (often bloggers themselves) tenacity for praising each other. If I had a euro for every shite post being heralded as great by someone, I would be a rich, rich lady. At least rival journalists hate each other, and slag each other off, which although unpleasant, fosters competition.

While it’s all very lovely to have a nice community where everyone can chat and compare notes, lack of competition fosters laziness, and laziness fosters below par output.

My description for it in Barcelona was the difference between adolescence and grown ups… Suzy has always been around, and although Cian’s pretty much tied down to the day job these days Irish election has been consistently good and adult… There are ‘new’ guys coming on the blog block all the time…

But something does need to change… and big time…

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  • Una Mullaly has a great melancholic piece

    If I had a euro for every shite post being heralded as great by someone

    Knowing irony Mick?

  • Stunning_Steve

    Wouldn’t be like Slugger to bum and blow your own blog Chekov, of course you are adult and sensible 🙂

  • Stunning_Steve

    Not to mention if you ridicule Breen on here or reach a point of actual strpmg judgement rather than opinion against the main theme and direction of Slugger’s take on things re Baker on Adams etc then commenters get removed. Too risque.

    What is left are dissident republicans, however well-mannered they are, and moderate if not apathetic unionists.

  • Stunning_Steve

    *strong judgement

  • Mick,

    That “pitch to the Irish blogosphere” was very impressive and is even very impressive today whenever things have progressed/exploded onto the scene so quickly and the potent latent subliminal power of a good blog can so easily take over events, and take over political events especially, for politicians by their very spivvy slippery snake oil salesman spin type work, are such whores and rent boys to the allure and glare of the harsh media spotlight to get their agendas realised, although nowadays,…. and this is where they are all as lost souls and all drowning at sea, and therefore easy prey to the rabid and hungry shark and killer whale of an application of technology …… with the Rapid Advances being made in InterNetional Networking Communications and in IntelAIgent Intelligence Communities, would it be most wise of them to embrace the case that their Pet Projects and People’s Needs and Feeds, need also to be Virtualised for CyberSpace Travel and Global Hosting, for without that Support will they become Increasingly Quickly Irrelevant in their own little worlds, as the world passes them by in much Bigger, Bigger Picture Projects and Titanic Productions.

  • Mick Fealty

    Ta amfm..

    Chekov, call it ‘unknowing irony’, 😉

  • Gael gan Náire


    Do you have any theories as to why there are around half a dosen pretty good unionist blogs but practically nothing from nationalists?

  • Gael gan Nire,

    I think that ‘The Pensive Quill’ by Anthony McIntyre is very good, though it feels (at least in part) like an online version of stuff that’s written for print (the posts aren’t largely reactive to other stuff on the blogosphere and there are fewer hyperlinks-per-post than a lot of the better bloggers have) – an extension of The Blanket perhaps?

    But leaving that aside, I think it’s a good question. The sociology of political parties makes a difference. I don’t know how far you could apply any of this to NI, but the Tories – in opposition have responded differently than Labour and you can read lots of conclusions (none of them very simple) about the wider party by the way they’ve responded to the options that the web provides them with.

    You could ask why NI institutions are absolutlely bloody awful – almost without exception – at involving people in policymaking. Given the sub-optimal democratic arrangements in NI and the comparitively large public sector, you’d think that there would be a lot more energy going into this question than you’d find elsewhere.

    The reverse is true.

  • Some home truths from Una, not sure what Mick’s swipe about her being a blogger who has a real life is about, because unless I have missed something all bloggers have a life and as they are not robots I’m presuming it is real.

    Bloggers in Ireland are no different to anywhere else, it is just they operate in a smaller pond.

    ” The Irish blogsphere is populated by wannabes using a blog to broadcast themselves in the hope of latching on to other gigs”

    This quote struck a cord, for no matter how much some might claim other wise, if they were honest a great many bloggers fall into this category. There is nothing wrong with that, if their ambition is to become a tethered goat, although some bloggers aim a little higher.

    To be serious, it is surly not an accident that since Murdoch decided to put up a pay wall for News International web sites, we have had a spate of Blogs are crap articles. Why is anyone surprised that most blogs are run of the mill and only of interest to a minority audience.That is how it should be and the true nature of the beast. I worry that some bloggers are only to willing to fall in with this big MSM take on blogs, perhaps they hope it might be part of their job interview, who knows?

    Surely what blogging is about if it is worth its salt is for ordinary folk to get their views and if they have any ideas out their. Sites like the Huffington Post are not really blogs, they are MSM, one only has to see the level of finance they have invested to understand that. What that woman Arianna Who has achieved, was built on the back of her access to cash.

    Murdoch recognises this and regards such web sites not as blogs but business rivals and not very serious ones at that. He may well also realises unless he can destroy the blogging free spirit he will never succeed by pay walls alone. As true bloggers will simply repost his papers stuff for free. Now that would be a project worth getting involved with.

    Twitter is a novelty toy for most, for some it is useful as a link and we will continue to use it, but I feel the majority of users will in time drift away to the next big techie thingy.