It’s wonderful to see that Sunday Times columnist David Bullard has survived his armed robbery attack and is back on form with this, his latest controversy. On May 6, 07 Mr Bullard’s article was published in the South African Sunday Times under the heading of ‘Name and shame offensive bloggers’.
The gist of this article was that 70 odd million bloggers desperately want to be columnists and which is why they blog. David Bullard objected to the fact that the bulk of the blogging efforts were total drivel, and several more words to that effect. He pointed out that not only do the bloggers describe ‘the tedious minutiae of their lives’, but it is even more shameful that people actually read these blogs.
He goes as far as to suggest that the worst bloggers should be named and shamed and the worst offenders should have their names and addresses published. In fact he suggests that the South African government should be doing something about it rather than look at legislation to gag the media.
The storm of condemnation of the article as well as David Bullard himself, has heated up the blog cyberspace. The blogging community seems to feel itself under attack. I particularly applaud Vincent Maher’s meticulous analysis of the Sunday Times article which may be found on Media in Transition. There is certainly a columnist there.
Reading the articles, for and against, as well as some of the many comments left on Vincent Maher’s blog, I must say that I tend to side with David Bullard in that I have come across huge numbers of blogs with insanely innate content. In fact, I would readily admit that some if not most of my own musings on my blog wouldn’t be allowed to appear in print. I do at least admit to it with my full name as my blog domain name! So no need to send the secret police..
On the other hand Mr Bullard might be missing the point here. Blogging is not necessarily about people’s secret fantasy to be a columnist, although there are certainly some that have illusions regarding their skills level in that department. Blogs, mostly, started off as a way for techie experts to share their knowledge, for free, with other people in their field.
The general public has joined in and blogging is now often a substitute for the social interactivity we don’t have anymore. We don’t belong to church communities, we work from home, our friends and families live all over the globe, we might live alone, as well as any number of reasons that contribute to our modern isolated life. The days of having a cup of tea and chatting with the next door neighbour, or a couple of close friends are over. We now have our cup of tea while reading what comments people have left on our blog. Ok. A bit over dramatic, but you get my meaning.
Whatever the reasons for people feeling the need to share their musings with others, not being at the mercy of an editor, will certainly provide content that mirrors the warts and all of the inhabitants of the world. Even though I might consider some of the content drivel, I think that everybody is entitled to their spot in cyberspace. After all reading someone’s blog is a totally voluntary activity.