So, quite possibly, another one bites the dust.
For those of you who don't already know, London based sex blogger Girl With A One-Track Mind was outed this weekend. Her true identity has now been publicized in a national Sunday newspaper and her life laid bare. She had jealously guarded her identity using the pseudonym Abby Lee to protect her family, work and lovers. Her book adapted from her blog, had just gone on sale. Yet a newspaper, the same newspaper which had carried the serialisation of her novel no less, callously disregarded this in search of yet another sensationalist story. Before her publication the media had shown no interest in her, so why now? Is it just because she'd become successful?
This begins to raise some interesting questions about the media and it's relationship to blogging.
Why do they care about a blogger come good? Is it that sex sells or can they not bear the fact that a blogger might actually be making some money out of their pursuit? Initially my answer would have been sex, but given a) that this 'expose' was published in a broadsheet and not a tabloid and b) the onslaught of media backlash against the recent blogging insurgency I would now suggest that the latter is equally as viable.
Over the last few months it has become clear that the press in particular is becoming threatened by bloggers and is reacting the only way it can, by lashing out.
Recently I have read articles by Charlie Brooker of the Guardian, Mary Dejevsky, Janet Street Porter and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown of the Independent all demonising the humble blogger.
Mr Brooker says,
"...the fustier elements of the "blogosphere", just waste the world's time banging on and on about how important the "blogosphere" is and how it spells the end of every old notion ever, when the truth is that, as with absolutely every form of media ever, 99% of the "blogosphere" is rubbish created by idiots."
Not too bad, but still decidedly hostile towards the bloggerly lot, however things really began to get interesting with Ms Dejevsky's horrifically researched opinion piece on the subject:
"It is not just in the political sector, as you call it, that fewer women blog. Except in areas such as childcare and gynaecology, it is across the board that women bloggers are few and far between."
She goes on to say that blogging is a passing fad that is attractive to men because of its 'gadgetry and self-aggrandisement' and that women are too busy cooking dinner and looking after their children to blog.
Then it gets worse.
Janet Street Porter sums up her views on blogging in her frankly obnoxious column by saying:
"The web is fast becoming clogged with blogs; the verbal diarrhea of the under-educated and banal."
"Blogs are for anoraks who couldn't get published any other way."
"And please don't tell me this is democratising communication. Mass blogging may indeed be giving access to Everyman, but is he always worth listening to?"
Of course he is, but then again if Ms Alibhai-Brown really does see the blogosphere as "a glut of pathetic drivel and idiocy" it is doubtful that she will ever spend enough time reading it to find out for herself.
Why are they scared of us, we teeny weeny little bloggers? We aren't scary. We aren't trying to change the world as Charlie Brooker surmises, we don't think that blogging will change anything, it is purely an enjoyable pastime for the majority of us.
Yet these professional writers seem to be taking every opportunity to besmirch the blogging phenomenon, in as self-righteous, ill-informed and overly abusive way as possible.
Are they really quaking in their boots that we humble bloggers might take their jobs? Or are they simply afraid of a little competition?
We aren't all Guido Fawkes and Girl With A One Track Minds. For the most part we are just people interested in talking about our day to day lives, our likes and dislikes with no agendas or book deals. Yes, some of us may harbour desires to be writers and to self publish online is a wonderful way of honing our skills and generating feedback. Yet these journalists seem scared by the thought that there are internet literate people out there who are happy to put intelligent, well-researched articles in the public domain for free.
I am also more than a little bemused by the assertion that to blog one must be a geek or an anorak with no discernible life beyond a computer screen. Where do they think people get ideas to blog about? In many ways blogging is a far more real portrayal of life than any soap opera or reality show. It provides a powerful, intimate connection with another person's thoughts and feelings. For something so reliant on technology, it is at its heart a very human experience. This is something that has been grasped by the creators of the play Girl Blog From Iraq which is running at the Edinburgh Festival. Inspired by the blog of an Iraqi woman. Sweetly the play's ending changes as the blog receives new posts.
According to the Guardian last week, one in every nine people in the UK is now a blogger. The media are going to have to wake up to this fact very soon.
Blogging is no longer a 'fad' after all it has been prevalent online for 10 years now. In the week that the Internet turns 15 they need to realise that blogs are here to stay whether they like it or not.
And finally, to allay Mr Brooker's fears, we bloggers don't mean to change the world. I very much doubt we could, but if we do, who cares? So long as it's for the better.
Girl With A One Track Mind, I hope you will blog again.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
So, quite possibly, another one bites the dust.